• All posts by Dimitra Atri

    Dimitra Atri

    About Dimitra Atri

    Dimitra is a Research Scientist at the Particle Astrophysics Group, Blue Marble Space Institute of Science. His papers can be accessed here: http://arxiv.org/a/atri_d_1 His home page is here: http://kusmos.phsx.ku.edu/~dimitra/Home.html

  • Sun sneezes and…

    Living near a star has its benefits but one has to face consequences too. Last week we witnessed a M9 class solar flare and an intense Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) hitting the Earth. CMEs are large volumes of charged particles ejected from the Sun’s Corona. Interaction of these charged particles with the atmosphere gives rise to spectacular auroras which can now be found floating around on youtube.

    Solar Storm in the Earth’s atmosphere

    The strongest such event in recorded history the September 1-2 1859 Solar Flare also known as the Carrington event after the observer RC Carrington. Carrington was taking routine

  • Countdown to 12/20/11

    Here is today’s countdown coming from what is called the Queen of the Himalayas (Mount Everest pictures later!).

    4. Earth-size exoplanets

    With better senstivity of telescopes, it is now possible to observe Earth-size exoplanets! However, we need bigger telescopes to observe their atmospheric spectra and figure out whether there are any signs of life.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-16268950

    3. Dust avalanches on Mars

    Mars has a very thin atmosphere, and anything falling from space directly impacts its surface without much hindrance. Recently, it has been observed that shock waves due to meteorite impacts can trigger avalanches…

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/12/111216115022.htm

    2. Comet Lovejoy survives

    A heroic tale of survival. Comet Lovejoy’s trajectory was so

  • Super Earths, Higgs and Black holes

    3. What’s with Super Earths?
    The ever increasing number of exoplanets is putting the models of planet formation to test. A new class of planets, named “super-Earths” have emerged. These planets, about a third of the observed ones, have sizes between the Earth and Neptune.
    Here is the story.
    2. Higgs?
    I spent the whole of Tuesday, attending talks and discussing physics with colleagues here and at CERN. It was a special occasion since we had a great discussion on the present “state of the universe” with four of the most distinguished physicists of our times, Kip Thorne, Jim Peebles,

  • Exoplanets, supermassive blackholes and Higgs…Countdown to 12/6/11

    4. Exoplanet detected in the habitable zone!

    Kepler mission recently found an exoplanet, Kepler-22b right in the middle of the habitable zone of a Sun-like star. For some reason, I am unable to access the Kepler mission’s website at this moment, but here is a description.
    I must mention that at present there is not enough information to call it an Earth-like planet, contrary to what several media outlets are reporting.
    Video of the press release can be found here.

    3. SUPERMASSIVE black holes!
    .
    New observations of two ~10 billion solar masses supermassive black holes have been reported recently. This is