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Space Science

Matter Discovered Traveling at Near Light Speed 403

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the celestial-slingshot dept.
mcgrew writes to mention New Scientist is reporting that scientists have clocked matter traveling at 99.999% the speed of light. "The fastest flows of matter in the universe shoot out of dying stars at more than 99.999% the speed of light, new observations reveal. When a massive star runs out of fuel, it collapses to form a black hole or a neutron star. In the process, some of the matter from the star also explodes outward at blistering speeds, producing an intense burst of gamma rays and other radiation."
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Matter Discovered Traveling at Near Light Speed

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  • by benhocking (724439) <benjaminhocking@@@yahoo...com> on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @01:49PM (#19494277) Homepage Journal
    If you were to push a 600,000 km pole 4 meters over a period of 1 second, then you've probably exerted a lot of force (pressure) in order to do so. Imagine that the pole weighs 100 grams per meter (i.e., it's fairly light). That pole has a total mass then of 60,000,000 kg. Assume that the force/acceleration is uniform, and you find that 4 meters over 1 second (starting from rest) requires an acceleration of 8 m/s^2. That implies a total force of 480,000,000 Newtons or about 108 million pounds of force. Not surprising that it would shrink a little under so much force...
  • by gatkinso (15975) on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @01:57PM (#19494399)
    >> is it instantaneous

    No. Imagine a train at rest. The engineer decided to back up. Boom boom boom go all the cars in sequence as the slack between them is eliminated by the cars compressing together. Finally, the caboose moves. Same deal with matter, but on a much smaller and faster scale, involving molecules and atoms.
  • Re:Speed of sound (Score:5, Insightful)

    by NMerriam (15122) <NMerriam@artboy.org> on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @01:59PM (#19494459) Homepage

    That is to say, it shrunk? isn'tthat weird???


    Not really. Take a brick of Jell-O. Push one end. You'll move it, but it will distort in shape, compress, wobble, send waves, etc.

    The only difference between Jell-O and every other solid substance is that your eyes and brain just aren't precise enough to see at a small scale that they are all behaving the same way, just to different degrees.
  • Re:I am a genius (Score:2, Insightful)

    by PhxBlue (562201) on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @02:16PM (#19494747) Homepage Journal

    If you can't tell dumb physics jokes on Slashdot, then I guess you really can't tell them anywhere.

    If you don't want serious responses, you should try to make your dumb physics jokes actually funny. :)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @02:39PM (#19495095)
    Actually, given Newton's third law of motion, aren't you pushing the pole while the pole is pushing you?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @06:22PM (#19498395)
    where the hell does "insightful" come up for that one?
  • by aegl (1041528) on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @06:36PM (#19498589)
    Not much of that high speed matter will hit us though. If it spreads out evenly in all directions (doesn't quite fit with the article's description of "jets of matter") then the 200*mass-of-the-earth will be spread out across 125,000 square lightyesrs. Which comes to 10e-7 grams per square meter. Now it is moving pretty fast, so maybe it might be a bad idea to get hit by that.

    If the distribution is uneven ... then we'd be pretty unlucky to have our planet parked directly in the path of one of these jets.

    How many likely-to-go-supernova-sometime-soon are there in our near (100LY) neighborhood?

  • by lazlo (15906) on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @10:43PM (#19500571) Homepage
    Well, yes, but the gamma ray burst is traveling at 100% of the speed of light, it being light and all. So the matter, travelling at 99.9997% of the speed of light, is trailing the gamma rays by an extra .000003 lightyears (94 light-seconds) every year.

    So yes, the event happened 1 million years ago. The gamma rays took 1 million years to travel the distance, and arrived this year. The matter takes 1,000,003 years to make the same trip, and so it will arrive in 3 years.
  • by Achoi77 (669484) on Thursday June 14, 2007 @01:30AM (#19501519)
    I thought about this when I was younger. I came to the conclusion that it would probably react similarly to a water hose. Shoot it in one position, but move the trajectory, and quickly enough, the 'beam' of water bends. This time instead of water think: light shooting out. Sure it can 'bend,' but we are unable to see far enough to tell the difference.
  • by Hal_Porter (817932) on Thursday June 14, 2007 @02:17AM (#19501779)
    I think the post of Math teacher should not be appointed, rather based on a version of Open Challenge. So if you proved the Math teacher wrong, you would become Math teacher until someone proved you wrong.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 14, 2007 @07:40AM (#19503305)
    Clever, but not enough: in order to make all points of the sloped bars move with same speed, you need to transfer the push on all of their points in same instant, which you can't, because they are too far away from each other and from your point-of-attack. Same assumption of rigidity fails again in similar way as in the example with long pole.

We warn the reader in advance that the proof presented here depends on a clever but highly unmotivated trick. -- Howard Anton, "Elementary Linear Algebra"

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