October 31, 2013 |
The sun has erupted more than two dozen times over the last week, sending radiation and solar material hurtling through space - and scientists say more eruptions may be coming. This shouldn't be unusual. After all, we are technically at solar maximum, the peak of the 11-year cycle of the sun's activity. But this has been a noticeably mellow solar maximum, with the sun staying fairly quiet throughout the summer. So when our life-giving star suddenly let loose with 24 medium strength M-class solar flares and four significantly stronger X-class flares between Oct. 23 and Oct. 30, it felt like a surprise.
October 25, 2013 |
A new look at the coldest known object in the universe reveals a ghostly shape glowing in the Centaurus galaxy some 5,000 light years from Earth. The Boomerang Nebula is a numbing 1 degree Kelvin, or about -458 Fahrenheit, more than a degree colder than the background radiation of the Big Bang, according to calculations by an astronomy team led by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada Flintridge. Yet fringes of this pre-planetary nebula are warming, a phenomenon that may confirm a particle physics prediction made by Albert Einstein.
October 17, 2013 |
The suspense is laboriously built up in the Geffen Playhouse production of "Wait Until Dark," a freshly adapted version of Frederick Knott's 1966 play that gave rise a year later to the movie with Audrey Hepburn as a blind Greenwich Village pixie beset by nefarious shadows. But when the tension finally gets going late in the second half, it rips, momentarily reviving not just a dusty property but a theatrical genre. Alison Pill plays Susan, the young, victimized woman who lost her sight in a car accident and now must fend off some thuggish con men who have descended on her while her husband is away.
August 30, 2013 |
What do you see in the ethereal photo above? An electric blue caterpillar? A wispy tadpole? How about a star struggling to be born? The image, captured by the Hubble Space Telescope, shows a star 4,500 light-years from Earth trying to form in the face of a powerful stellar wind. The glowing white head of the caterpillar shape is the core of the protostar. This is where the nuclear process has just begun, allowing the dense collection of gas, plasma and dust to shine with its own light, explains Zolt Levay of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore.
August 28, 2013 |
As hospitals race to offer the latest in high-tech care, a major California health insurer is pushing back and refusing to pay for some of the more expensive and controversial cancer treatments. Blue Shield of California is taking on this high-cost radiation treatment just as Scripps Health in San Diego prepares to open a gleaming, $230-million proton beam therapy center this fall, only the second one in California and the 12th nationwide. This week, Blue Shield began notifying doctors statewide of its new policy for early-stage prostate cancer patients, effective in October.
May 30, 2013 |
Astronauts heading to Mars would face exposure to a deluge of radiation, in some cases as much as NASA policy permits, according to new data from the Curiosity rover. The space agency limits astronauts to a 3% increased risk of fatal cancer. This translates to different levels of radiation exposure, depending on an astronaut's age and gender. But according to a paper published in Friday's edition of the journal Science, radiation exposure in a nonstop round-trip to Mars, which would take about a year, would ring in at about 662 millisieverts.