Diamonds 'entangled' in physics feat
A beam of light was split between two diamonds, then recombined before heading toward an ultra-sensitive detector.
December 7th, 2011
10:09 AM ET

Diamonds 'entangled' in physics feat

By zapping diamonds with an enormous number of laser beam pulses, physics researchers have created several cases of what Einstein called "spooky action at a distance."

A team of scientists showed that two diamonds can entangle with one another, meaning that vibrations in one of the crystals share an invisible, long-range connection with vibrations in the other crystal.

"We have been able to demonstrate that even everyday objects can exhibit some of the strange, counterintuitive behavior of quantum physics," said University of Oxford professor Ian Walmsley, who led the study, published recently in the journal Science.


ESO observes vampire star
The system SS Leporis is seen here, over time, in the sharpest images ever obtained.
December 7th, 2011
10:00 AM ET

ESO observes vampire star

Astronomers have combined four Very Large Telescope Interferometers (VLTI) at the European Southern Observatory's (ESO) Paranal Observatory to obtain the sharpest-ever images of the star system SS Leporis, which contains two stars, one of which is cannibalizing the other.

The two stars in SS Leporis, in the constellation Lepus, orbit around one another over a period of 260 days. The stars are relatively close together, separated by slightly more than the distance between the Sun and the Earth. Because of their proximity to one another, the hotter of the two - the vampire star - has absorbed about half the mass of the other star.

The new observations show that the companion star, which is a cooler red giant, is smaller than previously thought. This has led the astronomers to revise their initial model of how the red giant lost matter to the vampire star: instead of matter streaming from one star to the other, the astronomers now think that the red giant must be expelling matter as a stellar wind, which then gets captured by the vampire star.

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