As the size of a black hole defined by the Schwarzschild radius relates to its mass, it's only by acquiring more mass that a supermassive black hole will grow larger, as a greater mass means spacetime is curved over a larger area. Note however that the Schwarzschild radius doesn't denote an actual surface, but the area beyond which spacetime is curved to such a degree that the escape velocity exceeds the speed of light. In other words, there is so much mass in such a small volume that the gravitational force curves spacetime to such extent that not even light can escape. As no light reflects, this is why a black hole is black.

Although it's thought that supermassive black holes can grow indefinitely, there is a theoretical maximum that it will be able to grow by means of the conventional accretion disc method, where gas in close proximity to the supermassive black hole becomes gravitationally attracted, passes the photon sphere and accretes into a disc as the material spirals into the black hole-beyond its event horizon (the boundary beyond which light cannot escape). This upper bound is 50 billion M☉ (solar mass).At that point-or usually way before that point has been reached-the gas in close proximity is exhausted, and the supermassive black hole stops acquiring more mass-except perhaps by tidally disrupting the occasional star that comes too close. Tidal disruption events are when a star comes too close to the black hole and is pulled apart by the black hole's tidal forces.

But supermassive black holes will be able to go beyond that upper bound by means of black hole mergers, which follow from galactic mergers; as galaxies merge, at one point the supermassive black holes at the center of both galaxies will enter a gravitational dance, spiral into each other and eventually merge to become one bigger supermassive black hole. Note also that as galaxies merge, some gas and stars will get close to the supermassive black hole again, meaning there is once again material in close proximity to the black hole, of which at least some material will spiral into the black hole and once again it can acquire more mass.

Above are two merging galaxies-the system NGC 2207 in the constellation Canis Major-which has ignited the supermassive black hole (the bright spot in the center of the main galaxy). Galactic mergers are the most likely reason why active galactic nuclei occur. Photo: ESO/Quora

As such, the current upper bound for the mass of supermassive black holes is merely a reflection of the current universe. After more time has passed and more galaxies have merged, that upper bound may increase somewhat. Supermassive black holes will never grow indefinitely however, as galactic mergers won't occur indefinitely, as dark energy (the force which accelerates the expansion of space) drives most galaxies apart.

Source: This article was published on dailymagazine.news by Martin Silvertant

Categorized in Science & Tech

Credit: agsandrew/Shutterstock.com

A new study may help reveal the nature of dark energy, the mysterious substance that is pushing the universe to expand outward. Dark energy may emerge from fluctuations in the nothingness of empty space, a new hypothesis suggests.

That idea, in turn, could also explain why the cosmological constant, a mathematical constant that Albert Einstein conjured up yet famously called "the biggest blunder of his life," takes the value it does. 

The new study proposed that the expansion is driven by fluctuations in the energy carried by the vacuum, or regions of space devoid of matter. The fluctuations create pressure that forces space itself to expand, making matter and energy less dense as the universe ages, said study co-author Qingdi Wang, a doctoral student at the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Canada.

Accelerating universe

Scientists call the force that pushes the universe to expand a cosmological constant (though it isn't a "force" in the strict sense). This constant is the energy density of space itself. If it is greater than zero, then Einstein's equations of relativity, which describe the structure of space-time, imply an expanding universe. In the late 1990s, measurements of distant supernovas showed that the universe was accelerating, not just expanding. Cosmologists call the energy that drives that acceleration dark energy. Whatever dark energy is, it dissipates more slowly than matter or dark matter, and doesn't clump together the way either of them do under the influence of gravity. 

This acceleration has been a big quandary for physicists, because it contradicts the predictions of quantum field theories, the theoretical frameworks that describe the interactions of the tiniest subatomic particles. Quantum field theories predict vacuum energies that are so large that the universe shouldn't exist at all, said Lucas Lombriser, postdoctoral fellow at the Royal Observatory, Edinburgh, in Scotland, who was not involved in the new study. This discrepancy is called the "old" cosmological constant problem, and physicists generally thought that once new physics was discovered, the cosmological constant would disappear; expansion would be explained in some other way.

However, when scientists discovered the accelerated expansion, a new problem arose. According to theoretical calculations, the cosmological constant should be 50 to 120 orders of magnitude larger than it is, with a correspondingly large rate of expansion, Lombriser said.

Essentially, the energy density of the universe (how much energy there is per unit volume) should be gigantic, and it clearly isn't.

Fluctuations in empty space

The new work addresses not only what dark energy is but why the rate of universal expansion has the value it does.

"Everybody wants to know what dark energy is," Wang told Live Science. "I reconsidered this question more carefully," from the perspective of the universe's energy density.

Wang and his colleagues assumed that modern quantum field theory was correct about the energy density being very large, but that the vacuum fluctuations, or the movements of empty space, were very large on tiny scales, near what is called the Planck length, or 1.62 × 10 ^ minus 35 meters. That's so small that a proton is 100 million trillion times bigger.

"Every point in space is going through expansion and contraction," he said. "But it looks smooth just like a table looks smooth from far away."

The vacuum fluctuations, in Wang's formulation, are like children on a swing pumping their legs. Even though nobody is pushing them, they manage to impart extra energy on the swing, making the swing go up higher than it would otherwise. This phenomenon is called parametric resonance, which basically means that some piece of the system — the expansion and contraction, or the swinging of the child's legs — changes with time. In this case, the density of a very tiny portion of the universe is changing, Wang said. 

Since the fluctuations are little bits of the universe expanding and contracting, this tiny resonance adds up on cosmological scales, he said. So the universe expands. (Expansion and contraction of space doesn't violate conservation laws, because space itself is doing the expanding).

As a result of Wang's approach, there's no need for any new fields, as in some dark energy models. Instead the expansion of the universe is roughly the same as that already predicted by quantum field theory.

Observations needed

While Wang's idea is a good one, that doesn't mean it's the end of the story, Lombriser said. The question is whether observations of the universe bear the theory out, he said.

"So far, they can argue that the vacuum contribution is in the right ballpark for what is being observed (which, if it holds up, is already a huge success)," Lombriser said in an email. "They have not yet made an accurate prediction for the exact observed value, but this is something they intend to further investigate in their future work."

Other physicists are more skeptical.

"On these high-energy scales, classical general relativity doesn't work any longer, but that's what they use. So, their approximation is interesting, but it's not well-justified, because in this limit, one should be using quantum gravity (a theory which we don't have)," Sabine Hossenfelder, a research fellow at the Frankfurt Institute for Advanced Studies in Germany, told Live Science via email.

"This paper is simply a first step in the process," said study co-author William Unruh, a physicist at UBC. "But I think the path is worth pursuing, as our results are suggestive."

The study is published in the May 15 issue of the journal Physical Review D.

Source: This article was Originally published on Live Science. by Jesse Emspak, Live Science Contributor

Categorized in Science & Tech

NASA has finally revealed details about its plan to send astronauts to Mars.

  • The plan calls for building an outpost to orbit the moon and test Mars hardware.
  • A crew of four may have to spend up to three years inside of a Mars spaceship — yet never land on the planet.
  • It remains to be seen if NASA's flat budget can facilitate reaching Mars by 2033.

For years, NASA has talked about sending people to Mars with its gigantic new rocket, the Space Launch System, and a new spacecraft called Orion.

But NASA hasn't said exactly how it plans to use this hardware, which it's spending $40 billion to develop — not even with the publication of a 36-page Mars exploration plan in October 2015.

Fortunately, a plan may finally be coming into place.

On March 21, President Donald Trump signed a law that mandates NASA send people to Mars by 2033. Then, a week later, the space agency published its most detailed plan yet for reaching the red planet.

The scheme is neither for the claustrophobic nor the faint of heart. It involves locking astronauts into a tube-shaped spaceship, sending them into deep space for three years, and giving them no form of emergency escape beyond the moon.

What's more, astronauts would only orbit Mars in 2033 — they'd never attempt a landing.

That's according to a document by William Gerstenmaier, the head of NASA's human exploration and operations directorate, that he presented during a NASA advisory council meeting on March 28. We learned about the presentation via a story by Eric Berger at Ars Technica.

NASA is leading the next steps into deep space near the moon, where astronauts will build and begin testing the systems needed for challenging missions to deep space destinations including Mars," NASA said about the plan in a press release.

Getting to Mars in five phases

deep space gateway moon mars nasa

(An artist's concept of NASA's Deep Space Gateway space station, left, near the moon.NASA) 

Gerstenmaier's program lists five phases to reach Mars.

Phase 0 involves using the International Space Station "as a test bed to demonstrate key exploration capabilities and operations, and foster an emerging commercial space industry" with partners like SpaceX, Boeing, Orbital ATK, and others. We're currently in this phase.

Phase 1 is ambitious, involving six launches between 2018 and 2025.

First, NASA wants to launch its inaugural SLS rocket, a 321-foot behemoth that's designed to Saturn V rockets that blasted Apollo astronauts to the moon. If the maiden flight and tests of its Orion spaceship went well, the space agency would launch five more SLS rockets.

The first of those five would send NASA's unrelated Europa Clipper probe to Jupiter, where it would study an icy moon with a hidden ocean that may be habitable to alien life. Four other missions would each launch a piece of a new space station, called the Deep Space Gateway, into orbit near the moon — a region called cislunar space — where four astronauts would help assemble and provision it.

"The gateway could move to support robotic or partner missions to the surface of the moon, or to a high lunar orbit to support missions departing from the gateway to other destinations in the solar system," Gerstenmaier said in the release.

deep space transport moon mars nasa
deep space transport moon mars nasa
(An artist's concept of NASA's Deep Space Transport spaceship, right, near the moon.NASA) 

Phase 2 would build on the lunar space station by launching a Deep Space Transport to it in 2027. Then, around 2028 or 2029, four lucky astronauts would spend up to 400 days inside the 41-ton tube as it orbits near the moon. Their mission: make sure the DST works and nothing critical stops working.

Phase 3 would begin around 2030, assuming the DST and its crew experienced no problems. Another SLS flight would restock the spaceship with supplies and fuel, then yet another launch would load it with four people — the first crew to visit Mars.

Their two- to three-year flight "would likely involve a Venus flyby and a short stay around Mars" and "would offer no hope for an emergency return once the crew leaves cislunar space," Berger wrote.

Phase 4 would happen beyond 2033 and is fairly nebulous at this point. All it calls for in Gerstenmaier's document is "development and robotic preparatory missions" to deliver habitats and supplies to the surface of Mars, plus eventual "Mars human landing missions."

Will NASA put the first boots on Mars?

mars colony
View photos
(NASA) 

It remains to be seen whether NASA can pull off this grand plan on the relatively flat budget Congress keeps handing it.

During the Apollo moon missions, NASA made up more than 4% of the US budget. Today, its share has shrunk to about half a percent.

Even if NASA manages to execute this plan, it may have competition from the private partners it hopes to involve. The private sector may even beat NASA to Mars.

Elon Musk, the founder of the rocket company SpaceX,, recently said he planned to send people to Mars by 2022. Boeing has also challenged SpaceX in getting to the red planet. Musk said he was OK with this because all he wanted to do was colonize Mars and protect humanity from self-imposed annihilation or a rogue asteroid.

"I think it's good for there to be multiple paths to Mars ... to have multiple irons in the fire," Musk said in August.

This article was originally published in finance.yahoo.com.

Categorized in Science & Tech
  • NASA has finally revealed details about its plan to send astronauts to Mars.
  • The plan calls for building an outpost to orbit the moon and test Mars hardware.
  • A crew of four may have to spend up to three years inside of a Mars spaceship — yet never land on the planet.
  • It remains to be seen if NASA's flat budget can facilitate reaching Mars by 2033.

For years, NASA has talked about sending people to Mars with its gigantic new rocket, the Space Launch System, and a new spacecraft called Orion.

But NASA hasn't said exactly how it plans to use this hardware, which it's spending $40 billion to develop — not even with the publication of a 36-page Mars exploration plan in October 2015.

Fortunately, a plan may finally be coming into place.

On March 21, President Donald Trump signed a law that mandates NASA send people to Mars by 2033. Then, a week later, the space agency published its most detailed plan yet for reaching the red planet.

The scheme is neither for the claustrophobic nor the faint of heart. It involves locking astronauts into a tube-shaped spaceship, sending them into deep space for three years, and giving them no form of emergency escape beyond the moon.

What's more, astronauts would only orbit Mars in 2033 — they'd never attempt a landing.

That's according to a document by William Gerstenmaier, the head of NASA's human exploration and operations directorate, that he presented during a NASA advisory council meeting on March 28. We learned about the presentation via a story by Eric Berger at Ars Technica.

NASA is leading the next steps into deep space near the moon, where astronauts will build and begin testing the systems needed for challenging missions to deep space destinations including Mars," NASA said about the plan in a press release.

Getting to Mars in five phases

deep space gateway moon mars nasa

(An artist's concept of NASA's Deep Space Gateway space station, left, near the moon.NASA) 

Gerstenmaier's program lists five phases to reach Mars.

Phase 0 involves using the International Space Station "as a test bed to demonstrate key exploration capabilities and operations, and foster an emerging commercial space industry" with partners like SpaceX, Boeing, Orbital ATK, and others. We're currently in this phase.

Phase 1 is ambitious, involving six launches between 2018 and 2025.

First, NASA wants to launch its inaugural SLS rocket, a 321-foot behemoth that's designed to Saturn V rockets that blasted Apollo astronauts to the moon. If the maiden flight and tests of its Orion spaceship went well, the space agency would launch five more SLS rockets.

The first of those five would send NASA's unrelated Europa Clipper probe to Jupiter, where it would study an icy moon with a hidden ocean that may be habitable to alien life. Four other missions would each launch a piece of a new space station, called the Deep Space Gateway, into orbit near the moon — a region called cislunar space — where four astronauts would help assemble and provision it.

"The gateway could move to support robotic or partner missions to the surface of the moon, or to a high lunar orbit to support missions departing from the gateway to other destinations in the solar system," Gerstenmaier said in the release.

deep space transport moon mars nasa
deep space transport moon mars nasa
(An artist's concept of NASA's Deep Space Transport spaceship, right, near the moon.NASA) 

Phase 2 would build on the lunar space station by launching a Deep Space Transport to it in 2027. Then, around 2028 or 2029, four lucky astronauts would spend up to 400 days inside the 41-ton tube as it orbits near the moon. Their mission: make sure the DST works and nothing critical stops working.

Phase 3 would begin around 2030, assuming the DST and its crew experienced no problems. Another SLS flight would restock the spaceship with supplies and fuel, then yet another launch would load it with four people — the first crew to visit Mars.

Their two- to three-year flight "would likely involve a Venus flyby and a short stay around Mars" and "would offer no hope for an emergency return once the crew leaves cislunar space," Berger wrote.

Phase 4 would happen beyond 2033 and is fairly nebulous at this point. All it calls for in Gerstenmaier's document is "development and robotic preparatory missions" to deliver habitats and supplies to the surface of Mars, plus eventual "Mars human landing missions."

Will NASA put the first boots on Mars?

mars colony
View photos
(NASA) 

It remains to be seen whether NASA can pull off this grand plan on the relatively flat budget Congress keeps handing it.

During the Apollo moon missions, NASA made up more than 4% of the US budget. Today, its share has shrunk to about half a percent.

Even if NASA manages to execute this plan, it may have competition from the private partners it hopes to involve. The private sector may even beat NASA to Mars.

Elon Musk, the founder of the rocket company SpaceX,, recently said he planned to send people to Mars by 2022. Boeing has also challenged SpaceX in getting to the red planet. Musk said he was OK with this because all he wanted to do was colonize Mars and protect humanity from self-imposed annihilation or a rogue asteroid.

"I think it's good for there to be multiple paths to Mars ... to have multiple irons in the fire," Musk said in August.

Source : finance.yahoo.com
Categorized in Science & Tech

COULD AMERICA BE the first country to put humans on Mars? Should it be? And is it a race we can win?

As President Donald Trump takes office, that’s one of the many questions facing him and leaders in Congress about the future of our human spaceflight program and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

We believe the answer is—and must be—a resounding yes.

Human space flight is difficult, and space flight to Mars and back would be even more so. But successfully sending an American to Mars must be the centerpiece of NASA’s human spaceflight program.

With great pride and confidence, our new President and Congress should commit together to NASA sending Americans to Mars by 2033—a realistic goal consistent with the demands of both rocket science and political science. This date is also consistent with celestial mechanics, physics, engineering challenges that can be met, the support of key stakeholders in the public and private sectors, and a reasonable expectation of the investments Congress can provide.

When we Americans sent our countrymen to the Moon more than 50 years ago, leaders at NASA wanted the next destination in our solar system to be Mars. A human mission to Mars was proposed by NASA as the logical follow on to Apollo, but cost considerations and the fractious politics of the Vietnam Era put an end to that dream, temporarily.

Since then, the world watched as we flew our space shuttle for decades and then retired the program.

The world saw us play a central role in building and operating the International Space Station. The world saw us foster the rise of new entrepreneurial space companies that are now routinely delivering cargo to the International Space Station and are on track to send Americans to low Earth orbit in the next few years.  

We hope the world will watch us be the first to send Americans to Mars and bring them home safely.

There are three clear reasons why Americans should explore Mars. For science, the now well-established presence of water and early habitability of Mars offers the chance to help answer a fundamental question: “Are we alone?” Finding even extinct Martian life would forever change the way we view ourselves. Second, a national push to go to Mars would require new technologies, goods, and services that would yield an enormous return on investment to our economy. With such an effort, the American space program could generate considerable economic activity and create many US-based jobs.

Third and most importantly, the European Space Agency, Russians, and Chinese continue to accelerate their human spaceflight programs. Americans must not cede the finish line. Our country should not wait until we receive the news that someone else has won the race to Mars for our leaders in Washington to ask, “How’s our space program doing? Why didn’t we get first place?” It will be too late. We must ask those questions now.

After all, history shows us that nations that fail to explore succeed in becoming stagnant.

America must explore.

And exploring Mars is achievable under reasonably expected future budget allocations for NASA. During the space race under President Kennedy and then President Johnson’s leadership, NASA claimed 4 percent of the overall federal budget. Today, NASA’s budget is 0.5 percent of the federal budget; the agency receives about $19 billion per year, of which about $8 billion is spent on human space flight. With the right approach and planning, including a potential handoff of the International Space Station to a commercial entity, these funds could be redirected for a successful human mission to Mars. Our leaders in Washington could speed up the timeline for a successful mission, and national victory, with additional investments.

The dream of sending people to Mars is alive. We need to make the program and strategy to do it a reality. The alternative is to give up, to take our players off the field, to concede the human exploration space frontier to other countries, and thereby guarantee defeat.

Could a person walk on Mars? And is that person alive today? On both questions, we have no doubt. The first person to walk on Mars is somewhere on our planet, possibly still in a classroom, pondering the heavens. They might already be a young adult unknowingly at the beginning of a great adventure.

The big question before us and our leaders in Washington is whether we will make the investments and develop the plan we need to ensure that budding explorer and soon-to-be pioneer is an American.

Author: NORM AUGUSTINE, MARK KELLY, AND SCOTT HUBBARD. NORM AUGUSTINE, MARK KELLY, AND SCOTT HUBBARD
Source: https://www.wired.com/2017/01/put-people-mars-2033-good-nation

Categorized in Science & Tech

Some are really making it big already!

The blog market is too saturated now. You can find hundreds of blogs on a single topic. In order to compete, you should first define your audience for whom your will write and then try to build content which they will love to read and share

Blogging is not only an important source of side income but it is also a means of exerting public influence. In the so-called Arab Spring, many bloggers played a key role in the uprisings, especially in Egypt. Similarly, many bloggers are now trend setters in the fashion space. Some have succeeded in making it a full time income source for them. Some vloggers (video blog) on you tube are earning millions of dollars and they have a fan following even more than that of some TV stars. Other than Google ads, product endorsements, free give away, featured/sponsored articles, brand mention on social media accounts and affiliate selling are all key ways of making money through your blog and associated social media channels. According to a British web portal, influential British fashion bloggers are charging upto 6,000 GBP for one post on their Instagram accounts by luxury brands. The science of successful blogging and online freelancing has created a whole lot of digital nomads in the west who not only earn good money by travel blogging, but also get sponsored by the hotels, restaurants all over the world to visit and mention them in their blog and some even get paid. The most popular blogs are in the domain of fashion, food/recipes, travel, business/digital marketing and tech. The key to getting your blog viral is content as it is said in the SEO world that “content is the king”. Getting tons of traffic on your blog and making it viral is not an art but a science and here are the key elements of this science:

1 Focus on your niche:

The blog market is too saturated now. You can find hundreds of blogs on a single topic. In order to compete, you should first define your audience for whom your will write and then try to build content which they will love to read and share. If you will focus on a very broad audience then maybe you are focusing none of them which will result in a disengagement of your audience.

2 Invest in your blog to build your social media following:

The first step to market your blog is to build a little audience on social media of around 5k–10k followers. No matter how good you are at writing, you blog will never gain traction if you do not have an initial base of users who can share the content which you are producing. For that, you need to spend a little money until you attain your minimum required fan following. You can either market your Facebook page and social media accounts or you can use a paid post campaign to not only reach your target audience but make your paid content viral as well. For example, kitabmela.com, an online book store, uses a unique strategy to make their content go viral. From the books which sell they pick up a best phrase or a best quotation of that author, run a paid post campaign of that image and below the image they give the offer to sell that book. This strategy gives their post thousands of shares; consequently, their page and book selling offer automatically gets viral. Another important thing in social media is to post content continuously and at the right time. You can use content scheduling tools such as buffer or hootsuite to schedule your content at specific time intervals of the day.

In the digital world, SEO (Search engine optimisation) is the key to make your content visible on the first page of google for selected search keywords. It is a long process to make your blog visible on google’s first page which is a science in itself

3 Create content which resonates with your audience:

A content strategy will only work if you will understand what your audience demands from you. First of all, you need to do a little research on what content is getting viral among your target audience. For that you need to check the social media accounts of your competitors, make an excel spread sheet and list down all those posts which got viral and the number of shares they got. Secondly, you should use tools such as buzzsumo.com and ahrefs.com to search the relevant topic, get the most shared content, understand the key similarities between the content which is getting shared and produce similar original content but with a knowledgeable insight. For example, if you have a blog related to entrepreneurship and business then research backed articles may be more helpful but if you have a fashion based blog then a listicle of latest fashion trends may resonate with your audience.

4 Learn the science of producing viral content:

Producing viral content is a science, not an art. According to the science of viral content, create a catchy headline which has got either of these three formats; how to, list form or why. Secondly, include an emotional hook with your topic. Thirdly address your audience in the topic and fourthly include a promise in your topic. The best example of this kind of a headline is an article which got 97.8k shares on facebook, 8.7k shares on linkedin.com and 4.3k retweets on twitter. This article was titled “How Pokemon go is driving insane amounts of sales at small, local business”. The content of the article also matters equally as the headline. According to the research by industry leaders, the content which gets shared most is the one which contains some original research and has some scientific data based evidence. On the other side of the spectrum, a heart touching story, fun and entertaining content and inspirational quotes are the ones which get shared most. Do not forget to include images, gifs, infographics to your article as they nearly double the chance of your content being shared. Adding small videos to your content or producing small video based content is another way of getting viral with which you can experiment as research tells that people are four times more likely to watch a video rather reading an article.

5 Make yourself an authority in the field:

Latest research tells that people like to share more content of those people who are an authority in their field. So try to make yourself an authority in the field by writing for established and known names in your industry e.g. if you are writing about fashion then try to write for most popular magazines of the industry and if you are writing about entrepreneurship then try to get published in magazines likeentrepreneur.com. Secondly, try to make a list of influencers in your industry e.g. journalists, influential bloggers, and known stars and request themto mention your blog in their social media account. Try to give them some favour e.g. write a whole article about their company, blog etc. or interview them and in return request for a mention of your blog on their social media account. Request industry influentials to publish your article as a guest post and try to be in touch with them. If they continuously read you, they may link to some of your article even without your request and that will create a virtuous cycle of site linking for you.

6 Focus on content aggregator and content curator sites:

It is not only content production but content distribution as well which makes your blog successful. Whenever you produce an article, focus on distributing your content as well. There are many content distribution sites and apps as well such as feedly, medium, flipboard, alltop, and many blog aggregator sites as well. Try to submit to all of them.

7 Blog/website design:

From a viral point of view, you need to make sure two things. One is to collect your visitor e-mails by having a pop up when someone enters your site or leaves your site. Although sometimes annoying for the visitor but it can be useful to create a loyal list of readers. You can increase your e-mail subscription rate by experimenting with simple tweaks e.g. changing the pop up text, colour and changing its position. Second is to use a sticky social bar which stays on screen all the time when the user is scrolling down to read the article. This one single thing can increase your share rate by up to 20pc.

8 Focus on SEO basics:

In the digital world, SEO (Search engine optimisation) is the key to make your content visible on the first page of google for selected search keywords. It is a long process to make your blog visible on google’s first page which is a science in itself but, at least you should know SEO basics to optimise your content according to the search engines requirements and understand the demand from your target niche. If you will produce content according to key word research and social sharing patterns, that will amplify the chance of your content getting viral. There are many key word research strategies available on the internet but I would recommend an article on the blog ofahrefs.com which contains a comprehensive keyword research strategy as well as relevant tools titled “this 19 step Key word research process will sky rocket your organic search traffic”.

Author: TAYYAB TARIQ NARULA
Source: http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2017/01/08/the-science-of-making-your-new-blog-viral

 

Categorized in Others

As the world looks ahead to 2017, many astronomers and sky gazers are looking up, with a litany of space-related events and missions peppering the months ahead. We've chronicled a handful of the most exciting to circle on your calendar. Let's all hope for clear skies.

Comet 45P/HMP

Comet 45P/Honda-Mrkos-Pajdusakova

Comet 45P/Honda-Mrkos-Pajdusakova, discovered simultaneously in 1948 by Japanese astronomer Minoru Honda and Czechoslovakian astronomers Antonin Mrkos and Ludmila Pajdusakova, is a periodic comet that returns to the inner solar system every five years.While this is the same comet that put on a show to those with telescopes or strong binoculars on New Year's Eve 2016, the real time to catch this sungrazer is on its return trip back through the solar system. On Feb. 11, Comet 45P will make its closest approach to Earth, coming within 7.7 million miles and brightening to a predicted magnitude of +6. This is just on the edge of viewing with the naked eye. Look for it near the constellation Hercules just before dawn.

SpaceX's Falcon Heavy test

Sometime in the first half of 2017, SpaceX is expected to proceed with the inaugural launch of its Falcon Heavy rocket. Consisting of three Falcon 9 cores, this 27 engine rocket will (if successful) become the most powerful operational booster in the world. In addition to being able to lift more than 119,000 pounds into orbit, the Falcon Heavy is also expected to operate at one-third the cost of the next closest heavy booster.The launch of the Falcon Heavy will also hold special significance for the future of humanity's exploration of deep space, including a potential manned mission to Mars."Falcon Heavy was designed from the outset to carry humans into space and restores the possibility of flying missions with crew to the moon or Mars," the company states on its website.When SpaceX founder Elon Musk does announce the first launch date, you can bet it will quickly become one of the more nail-biting space-related events of 2017.

The Great American Eclipse

Total solar eclipse

On Aug. 21, the first total solar eclipse visible from the contiguous United States in more than three decades will dazzle from sea to shining sea. To see the moon fully pass in front of the sun, however, you'll need to be within a 75-mile wide band that stretches across the U.S. between Oregon and South Carolina. Those outside this special band will still witness quite a shot, as the sun takes on a crescent shape for between one to two minutes.The place to head to if you're really eager to embrace this event? Glendo, Wyoming. Never heard of it? That's not surprising, as the town is home to only 205 people. That population is expected to dramatically increase as Glendo's location is in the bulls-eye of the moon's shadow on Aug. 21. As a result, it will experience the totality of the solar eclipse for just under three minutes."Plan a trip to see this total solar eclipse," writes astronomer Dean Regas. "Call in sick to work. Play hooky from school. If you need an astronomer’s note, I can provide one. A total solar eclipse will be a sight you will never forget."

Saturn's rings on display

Saturn Cassini

For much of 2017, the planet Saturn will shine at its brightest since 2002. This is because its beautiful rings, which contribute greatly to its ability to be seen with the naked eye, will be "wide open," with Saturn's northern hemisphere tipped in our direction. In fact, the planet won't look this good again until at least 2030.The ringed planet will be at its brightest in the evening sky on June 15, when it makes its closest approach to Earth. A medium-sized or larger telescope will allow you to view Saturn's rings and a few of its brightest moons.

China's moon mission

Chang'e 5 lander

In the fall of 2017, China will launch its new Chang’e 5 lander on a mission to land on the moon and return 4.5 pounds of lunar samples back to Earth. If successful, it would mark the first time in more than 40 years that a sample from the moon has been made available for scientific study."We are ready. Every lab is ready," chief scientist Ouyang Ziyuan told reporters in October 2016. "Once the samples are back, we can begin our analysis right away."In addition to Chang’e 5, China is also planning a 2018 mission to make the first-ever soft-landing on the far side of the moon. The lander would include a 37-pound rover to explore the moon's surface and relay scientific data, pictures, and video back to China's mission control.

Geminid meteor shower

Campers take in the 2014 Geminids meteor shower.

While the Perseid meteor shower each August offers a fantastic opportunity to witness shooting stars, this year's event will unfortunately be washed out by a waning gibbous moon. Thankfully, with the holiday season in full swing, the Geminid meteor shower on Dec. 14 will pick up the slack. With the moon a waning crescent rising before dawn, the evening will be perfectly tuned to allow skygazers to spot as many as 100 meteors per hour.

Cassini crashes into Saturn

cassini spacecraft

On Sept. 17, the Cassini spacecraft in orbit around Saturn will make a dramatic death plunge into the planet. The maneuver, designed to prevent a future fuel-spent Cassini from crashing into (and potentially contaminating) two moons around Saturn thought to harbor life, will record unprecedented data on the ringed world."It’s inspiring, adventurous and romantic — a fitting end to this thrilling story of discovery," NASA writes.The dramatic finale will cap a mission by Cassini spanning more than 20 years in space. Discoveries, some of which we've profiled here, have included everything from landing a probe on the moon of Titan to spotting a giant hurricane spanning more than 1,200 miles in Saturn's atmosphere.

Source:  http://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/space/blogs/space-skywatching-events-2017

Categorized in Science & Tech

It's an exciting time to be alive as NASA, along with billionaires and their rockets, continue to push the envelope when it comes to space travel and exploration.

But it all comes at a pivotal time, as President-elect Donald Trump takes office in January. As president, Trump will nominate a NASA administrator and will be tasked with setting a budget for the space program, which will then have to be approved by Congress.

The current proposed budget for NASA in 2017 is $19 billion — down $300 million from the previous year but still an improvement from the past decade, which saw the end of the space shuttle program.

Trump Sets the Course For NASA

President-elect Donald Trump will step into his new role during a pivotal time for future space endeavors, as well, with NASA setting its sights on a Mars mission in the 2030s and preparing to end its dependence on Russia for rides to the International Space Station.

Whomever Trump nominates could set the tone for the future of the space program, including how NASA partners with the commercial space industry, according to Jim Cantrell, CEO of Vector Space Systems and a founding member of SpaceX.

With Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel acting as a close Trump adviser, Cantrell said "some of the more commercial thinking" he brings "is very healthy, and if Trump continues to do that, it will be very positive for NASA."

Presidents are usually relatively hands-off with NASA; however, Cantrell sees an opportunity for Trump, who has previously called space "terrific."

"Occasionally you see presidents come in and provide a clear change in direction of leadership," he said, referring to John F. Kennedy's decision to go to the moon and George W. Bush's appointment of a NASA administrator who helped paved the way for partnerships with the private space industry.

"The potential is there for Trump to do the same thing," Cantrell said.

Ending Reliance on the Russians

Since NASA grounded its shuttle program in 2011, the space agency has been buying seats aboard a Russian Soyuz capsule in order to send American astronauts to and from the International Space Station.

It likely won't happen in 2017, but expect to hear updates from NASA partners SpaceX and Boeing as both make strides in their testing of commercial crew vessels: When they are ready to shuttle humans, SpaceX's Crew Dragon and Boeing's Starliner would cost about $58 million per seat, according to NASA. By comparison, a seat aboard the Russian Soyuz has the heftier price tag of $81 million.

A Return to Flight for SpaceX

SpaceX is planning to return to flight in January — just four months after an anomaly destroyed a Falcon 9 rocket and the satellite it had been set to carry into space.

Elon Musk's company is targeting a January launch, exact date to be determined, for Iridium's mobile communications fleet.

SpaceX's timeline is ambitious, but the company has pulled it off in the past. After its Dragon capsule exploded en route to the International Space Station, the company was sidelined for six months.

The Unpredictable Jeff Bezos

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is a member of the billionaire rocket club. As CEO of Blue Origin, he's largely kept quiet about the company's plans, instead telling the world after they've pulled off something impressive.

"They have been unpredictable from the start because there isn't much known about what their core path is," said Cantrell. "I am fascinated to see what it is the guy has in mind. His style is very different from Elon's. Elon says what he wants to do and goes and gathers the money to do it. Bezos suddenly shows up with a fully functional vehicle that blows your mind."

Blue Origin has been following a cycle of "launch, land, and repeat," with its reusable New Shepard rocket and vehicle, which goes into sub-orbital space.

Image: Jeff Bezos speaks during the 32nd Space Symposium

Jeff Bezos, chief executive officer of Amazon and founder of Blue Origin. Matthew Staver / Bloomberg via Getty Images

Building a Space-Based Internet

"I see it as a very bright year for the space internet," Cantrell said.

Building a space-based internet is not a new idea, but it's one that has taken off once again largely due to new technology and lower launch costs.

While a number of companies, including SpaceX, have expressed a desire to build a space-based internet, it's shaping up to be a big year for OneWeb.

The company, whose investors include The Virgin Group, Coca-Cola, Airbus, and Qualcomm, announced earlier this month it had received a $1.2 billion injection of capital, which will support production in a high volume satellite facility, according to the company.

"My bet is on OneWeb to get it going first," Cantrell said.

Virgin Galactic

Virgin Galactic suffered a major setback with its SpaceShipTwo when it broke apart over the Mojave Desert in 2014, killing the co-pilot and seriously injuring the pilot, who was able to parachute to safety.

Earlier this month, Virgin Galactic marked its first major milestone since the crash when its new spaceship, the VSS Unity, successfully completed its first glide test.

When it comes to space tourism, Virgin Galactic has been one of the most visible companies setting imaginations wild with the idea of actually letting human tourists visit space.

"They aren't going to move as aggressively forward as the smaller companies launching unmanned stuff," Cantrell said. They'll work on "getting the risk of losing human life down" and showing their more than 700 customers who have been patiently waiting that they have a "strong future."

Author: ALYSSA NEWCOMB
Source: http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/2016-year-in-review/blasting-2017-what-s-stars-space-travel-n700571

Categorized in Science & Tech

The hunt for alien worlds has been the source of many exciting discoveries, as the number of confirmed planets outside Earth's solar sytem has more than doubled this past year. 

Here's a look at the top 10 planetary finds of 2016, including the discovery of the closest Earth-like neighbor, Proxima b; alien worlds that have more than one sun; and even one distant planet potentially located in Earth's solar system: 

1. Earth's cosmic neighbor

In August, astronomers announced the discovery of a world called Proxima b, which orbits Proxima Centauri, the closest star to Earth's own sun. 

Proxima b has a minimum mass of about 1.3 times the Earth's, and it's located roughly 4.22 light-years away. What's more, it orbits within the habitable zone of Proxima Centauri, which means this planet could have a surface temperature that would allow for the presence of liquid water. This means that this rocky world has the potential to support life.

2. Planet Nine

A giant, icy world called Planet Nine is thought to exist in the Kuiper Belt at the outer edge of Earth's solar system, and astronomers could be on the cusp of actually finding the distant world. 

This undiscovered planet is believed to be about 10 times more massive than Earth and have an average temperature of minus 374.8 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 226 degrees Celsius). Astronomers announced the potential for the discovery of Planet Nine in January 2016, and in October, they predicted the planet would be found within 16 months or so

Astronomers are using mathematical modeling and computer simulations to pin down the location of this alien world. Observations of the orbits of six other, smaller objects in the Kuiper Belt suggest that a much more massive body (which would, theoretically, be Planet Nine) has a strong gravitational influence in this region.

3. 1,284 new exoplanets

In May, astronomers announced the discovery of 1,284 new exoplanets, the single largest haul of alien worlds made to date. 

Among the exoplanets discovered were nine rocky worlds that could possibly support life as we know it. This discovery was made using NASA's Kepler space telescope, which finds planets that dim their stars as they orbit past. The number of confirmed exoplanets now stands at a staggering grand total of 3,439. 

"This gave scientists hope that somewhere out there, around a star much like ours, we can eventually discover another Earth," NASA officials said in a statement

In fact, two of the exoplanets, Kepler-1638b and Kepler-1229b, are among the most Earth-like planets ever found, as they orbit within their host stars' habitable zones.

4. Rogue planet

A giant alien planet called 2MASS J2126 was found orbiting 600 billion miles (1 trillion kilometers) from its host star, making this planet's star system the largest one known. 

In fact, the exoplanet has such a wide orbit that astronomers previously thought it was a "rogue" planet flying freely through space. For comparison, 2MASS J2126 orbits 7,000 times farther from its star than Earth does from the sun. At that distance, the gas-giant exoplanet completes one orbit every 900,000 years or so.

5. 1 star, 3 exoplanets

In May, astronomers found an alien solar system called TRAPPIST-1, which lies 40 light-years from Earth. The system features a tiny, ultracool dwarf star and three small potentially habitable exoplanets

As an ultracool dwarf star, TRAPPIST-1 is 2,000 times less bright and less than half as warm as the sun. What's more, this alien world is only about one-twelfth the sun's mass and less than one-eighth the sun's width, making it only slightly larger in diameter than Jupiter.

This strange star was discovered using the TRAPPIST (TRAnsiting Planets and PlanetesImals Small Telescope) telescope in Chile. The three exoplanets found orbiting TRAPPIST-1 are each only about 10 percent larger in diameter than Earth. The discovery of this alien solar system marked the first time that an exoplanet had been found orbiting an ultracool dwarf star, astronomers said.

6. Jewel clouds

Also this year, astronomers detected exotic weather on a large exoplanet known as HAT-P-7b. The upper atmosphere of this alien world boasts powerful winds and clouds composed at least partially of corundum, the mineral that forms sapphires and rubies. This was the first discovery of weather on a gas giant planet outside the solar system.

HAT-P-7b is about 40 percent larger than Jupiter and is located 1,040 light-years from Earth. The planet orbits its host star every 2.2 days, and it is tidally locked, with the same side always facing its parent star — just like the moon always presents the same face to Earth.

7. Characterization of super-Earth atmosphere

Using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers characterized the atmosphere of a "super-Earth" exoplanet for the first time, revealing hydrogen and helium, but no water vapor, in the air of an alien world called 55 Cancri e. 

Located 40 light-years from Earth's solar system, 55 Cancri e is an exoplanet that is about two times wider and eight times more massive than Earth. What's more, this alien world lies incredibly close to its host star, completing one orbit every 18 hours, indicating that the planet is far too hot to host life as we know it. In fact, scientists estimate that surface temperatures on 55 Cancri e can reach up to 3,630 degrees F (2,000 degrees C).

8. Star trio

Another exoplanet discovered this year was also spotted orbiting multiple stars. The strange new world, HD 131399Ab, circles three stars at once in a highly exotic celestial arrangement. 

HD 131399Ab is located 340 light-years from Earth, in the constellation Centaurus. For about half of the planet's orbit through the system, which lasts 550 Earth-years, all three stars are visible in the sky.

The system exhibits a strange configuration: Exoplanet HD 131399Ab orbits a large, bright star — call it Star A — and then the exoplanet and Star A are orbited by a pair of stars referred to as Star B and Star C. This multistar system was the first found with such an exotic configuration.

9. New K-2 finds

NASA's Kepler space telescope suffered two gyroscope failures in 2013 that rendered it unable to hold its former focus on one precise patch of the sky. But that didn't stop Kepler: Scientists developed a new mission for the scope, aptly named K-2. Using its two remaining gyroscopes, its thrusters and the pressure of sunlight, the telescope now observes different portions of the sky, each for up to 83 days, and then rotates to prevent sunlight from coming into its field of view.

K-2 has unveiled 58 candidate planets, 127 of which have already been confirmed. This includes two rocky exoplanets called K2-72c and 72e, which orbit within the habitable zone of their host star (located about 181 light-years from Earth). 

K2-72c circles slightly closer to the host star with a 15-day orbit, while sibling K2-72e has a 24-day orbit. Additionally, K2-72c is about 10 percent warmer than Earth, while K2-72e is about 6 percent colder than Earth.

10. Triple suns

Yet another planet with multiple stars was discovered in 2016. A newfound alien planet called KELT-4Ab has three suns in its sky

Similar to exoplanet HD 131399Ab and its star trio, KELT-4Ab has a strange celestial configuration. KELT-4Ab orbits the star KELT-A once every three days. In turn, a nearby pair of stars then orbits KELT-A.

What's more, the twin stars, KELT-B and KELT-C, orbit one another once every 30 years, and together they travel around KELT-A and its planet every 4,000 years or so. Astronomers estimate that, to viewers on the planet, KELT-A would appear to be about 40 times as large as the sun appears in the sky on Earth, while the pair of stars would appear about as bright as the full moon in the sky. This strange system is only one of the few known to contain three stars

Author: Samantha Mathewson
Source: https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/technology/wildest-alien-planet-discoveries-of-2016/ar-BBxH5sc

 

Categorized in Science & Tech

Today, if you lose your arm in an accident or on the battlefield, there's no way to get it back. You join the two million other amputees in America who have to rely on ineffective prosthetics or else just make do without. But geneticist Michael Levin at Tufts University is hopeful that his work will someday allow us to grow back our lost limbs.

Levin, who is the subject of a recent Popular Science feature, manipulates the way electricity flows through cells to create six-legged frogs and other Frankensteinian creations. Such as this two-headed worm:

The video above was posted by Adam Piore, author of Popular Science's feature about Levin as well as an upcoming book on bioengineering.

For now, Levin's research is mostly limited to experiments in simple, "cold-blooded" creatures like these flatworms. If all goes well, he could move on to humans in a few years or decades. Here's what that might look like.

Author: Sarah Fecht
Source: https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/technology/these-two-headed-worms-could-help-scientists-regrow-lost-limbs/ar-BBxEwy5

 

Categorized in Science & Tech
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