Tuesday, 29 January 2019

How Is Natural Gas Extracted, Processed & Refined?

By Edwin Thomas; Updated September 29, 2017


A natural gas drilling rig.
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Natural gas extraction begins with drilling a well. These wells are purpose-drilled for natural gas, but because natural gas is often found in the same deposits as petroleum, sometimes natural gas extraction is a side-operation of oil extraction, or is pumped back into the well for future extraction. In a typical operation, the well is drilled, a concrete and metal casing is installed into the hole, and a collection pump is installed above it.

Preparation and Transportation

After being brought up from its subterranean deposit, the raw natural gas is first transported to a collecting point. Here, pipelines from all adjacent wells bring the raw gas together for pre-processing, which removes water and condensates.
Then it is almost always pipelined to a processing plant. If this is not feasible, the gas is pumped into an underground storage facility for future pipelining and use. It is too expensive to liquefy raw natural gas for shipment to a refinery, and this is rarely, if ever done.

Processing at the Refinery

Natural Gas Refinery
Raw natural gas is mostly made of methane, but also contains a large number of other hydrocarbon gases. The first stage is to remove acid gases by amine or membrane treatment. This acid is usually processed into sulfur products. Then any remaining water is removed, which is followed by the removal of mercury by filtering the gas through activated carbon. Finally, nitrogen and natural gas liquids are taken out by low temperature, cryogenic distillation. This results in the "natural" gas that is used for cooking and heating in homes.

Source and credits: sciencing

Saturday, 26 January 2019

NASA makes last ditch attempt to revive dormant Mars rover Opportunity

Now NASA scientists are trying a last ditch attempt to contact the rover based on three unlikely but possible scenarios: that the rover’s primary X-band radio has failed, that both the primary and secondary X-band radios have failed, or that the rover’s internal clock has become offset. The team is commanding the rover to switch to its backup X-band radio and to reset its clock to counteract these possibilities.
“While we have not heard back from the rover and the probability that we ever will is decreasing each day, we plan to continue to pursue every logical solution that could put us back in touch,” John Callas, project manager for Opportunity at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab, said in a statement.
These strategies are becoming urgent due to the seasonal changes on Mars. The season of high winds which could clear the dust from Opportunity’s solar panels is coming to an end and soon southern winter will be arriving, which means very low temperatures that are likely to cause irreparable damage to the rover’s systems. NASA will try sending the new commands for several weeks, but if Opportunity doesn’t respond this time, then it’s likely that the mission will have to be abandoned.
source and credits: digitaltrends

Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Eclipse 2019: Earthquakes hit California, Alaska, Oklahoma - were they due to Super Moon?

EARTHQUAKES have hit the United States today, striking California, Alaska and Oklahoma, are they due to the Super Blood Wolf Moon? Is there any correlation between the lunar cycle and earthquakes?

Eclipse 2019: Super wolf blood moon in sky over Buenos Aires

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On Monday, January 21, six quakes have struck the United States - one measuring a magnitude of 4.7. Four earthquakes have hit Alaska, one has hit Oklahoma and another California. Last night a Super Blood Wolf Moon graced the night sky, turning the Moon red in the process; but are the Blood Moon and earthquakes connected?
These struck between 7.59pm Sunday, January 20 (4.59am Monday GMT) and 11.33pm Sunday, January 20 (8.33am Monday GMT).
Meanwhile in Oklahoma, a magnitude 3.6 struck 20km southeast of Helena.
Finally a magnitude 3.3 earthquake hit California, just 5km east-southeast of Cheste
Eclipse 2019 - Earthquakes
Eclipse 2019 - Earthquakes: There have been several earthquakes already today (Image: GETTY/ USGS)
Is there any correlation between the lunar cycle and earthquakes?
Lunar eclipses occur when the Full Moon passes into the shadow of the side of the Earth facing away from the Sun.
And because a lunar eclipse only takes place during a full moon, tides are higher during this time.
According to the US Geological Survey (USGS), earthquakes can be up to three times more likely during high tides.
source: express

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

How did Albert Einstein manage to propose quantum theory?

Quantum Theory

In November 1922, when Einstein and Elsa were visiting Japan as part of an extended tour of the Far East, they received the news that Einstein had been awarded the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics. Although Einstein was most famous for his theory of relativity, the prize was officially awarded for his work on quantum theory. Throughout the first quarter of the century, Einstein made many important contributions to this field, the first of which was his 1905 paper on the photoelectric effect. From 1905 to 1923, he was one of the only scientists to take seriously the existence of light quanta, or photons. However, he was strongly opposed to the new version of quantum mechanics developed by Werner Heisenberg and Erwin Schroedinger in 1925-26, and from 1926 onwards, Einstein led the opposition to quantum mechanics. He was thus both a major contributor to and a major critic of quantum theory.

Einstein's early contributions to quantum theory include his heuristic suggestion that light behaves as if it is composed of photons, and his exploration of the quantum structure of the mechanical energies of particles embedded in matter. In 1909, he introduced what was later called the wave-particle duality, the idea that the wave theory of light had to be supplemented by an equally valid yet contradictory quantum theory of light as discrete particles. Many of Einstein's quantum ideas were incorporated into a new model of the atom developed by the Danish physicist Niels Bohr in the first decades of the century. Bohr explained that electrons occupy only certain well-defined orbits around a dense nucleus of protons and neutrons. He showed that by absorbing a discrete quantum of energy, an electron can jump from one orbit to another. In 1916, Einstein found that he could explain Max Planck's blackbody spectrum in terms of the interaction of photons with the new Bohr atoms. Although his arguments for light quanta were well founded, the physics community did not take them seriously until 1923. In this year, the American physicist Arthur Compton measured the transfer of momentum from photons to electrons as they collide and scatter, an observation that made sense only in terms of the particle nature of light.

In spite of his contributions to the Bohr model of the atom, Einstein remained deeply troubled by the notion that atoms seemed to emit photons at random when their electrons change orbits. He considered this element of chance to be a major weakness of the model, but he hoped that it would soon be resolved when the quantum theory was fully developed. However, by 1926 the problem of chance remained, and Einstein became increasingly alienated from the developments in quantum theory; he insisted that "God does not play dice," and thus there is no room for fundamental randomness in physical theory.
The year 1926, was a critical turning point in quantum theory, because it witnessed the emergence of two new forms of quantum mechanics. The first, wave mechanics, was a mathematically accessible theory based on Louis de Broglie's idea that matter can behave as waves just as electromagnetic waves can behave as particles. This idea received its strongest support from Einstein, Planck, de Broglie, and the Austrian physicist Erwin Schroedinger. The opposing camp, led by the German physicists Bohr, Max Born, and Werner Heisenberg, as well as the American Paul Dirac, formulated the theory of matrix mechanics. Matrix mechanics was far more mathematically abstract and involved those elements of chance and uncertainty that Einstein found so philosophically troubling.
In 1928, Heisenberg, Bohr, and Born developed the "Copenhagen interpretation," which joined the matrix and wave mechanical formulations into one theory. The Copenhagen interpretation relies on Bohr's complementarity principle, the idea that nature encompasses fundamental dualities and observers must choose one side over another in making observations. The interpretation is also based on Heisenberg's uncertainty relations, which state that certain basic properties of an object, such as the position and momentum of a subatomic particle, cannot be measured simultaneously with total accuracy. Thus the Copenhagen interpretation explained that while quantum mechanics provides rules for calculating probabilities, it cannot provide us with exact measurements.
Following the formulation of this new interpretation, Born and Heisenberg proclaimed that the "quantum revolution" had come to an end: quanta were a mere means of calculating probablilities, but did not account for phenomena as they actually occur. However, Einstein could not accept a probabilistic theory as the final word. As he saw it, the very goal of physics was at stake: he yearned to produce a complete, causal, deterministic description of nature. In an ongoing debate with Bohr that started at the Solvay conferences in 1927 and 1930 and lasted until the end of his life, Einstein raised a series of objections to quantum mechanics. He tried to develop thought experiments whereby Heisenberg's uncertainty principle might be violated, but each time, Bohr found loopholes in Einstein's reasoning. In 1930, Einstein argued that quantum mechanics as a whole was inadequate as a final theory of the cosmos. Whereas he was once regarded as too radical in his quantum theories, he now appeared to be too conservative in his defense of classical Newtonian ideas.

In the three decades prior to his death, Einstein's distrust of quantum theory isolated him from the mainstream developments in physics. All of his greatest contributions to science had been made by 1926, and from this point on, he remained a staunch opponent of the theory he had done so much to build in his earlier years. Einstein focused his efforts instead on developing a unified field theory, a theory which would explain both gravity and electromagnetism in one principled mathematical account. He hoped to resolve the conflict between the smooth continuum of space-time described by his general theory of relativity, and the jittery submicroscopic particle-world where quantum theory reigns. Although he never succeeded in this endeavor, in a sense he was simply ahead of his time: throughout the 1980s and 1990s, the primary goal of theoretical physicists has been the formulation of a grand theory of everything, or TOE, that would account for every element of physical reality.
source: sparknotes

Friday, 18 January 2019

Which Planet In Our Solar System Has The Most Gravity?

Because Jupiter is the largest planet, it also has the most gravity of all the planets in our solar system.

Which Planet In Our Solar System Has The Most Gravity?
A 3D rendering of Jupiter, the planet with the most gravity in the solar system.

The Planet With The Most Gravity

Our Solar System has eight planets which are Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. Out of all of these planets, Jupiter has the most gravity. In fact, the only object in the Solar System with a gravity larger than Jupiter is the Sun.
The gravitational force that an object exerts depends on three things; its density, mass, and size. Despite Jupiter having the third lowest density (1.33 grams per cubic centimeter), only behind Uranus (1.27) and Saturn (0.69), its stature as the largest planet in the Solar System in terms of both mass and size offsets this.
Jupiter has a mass of 1.898 x 10^27 kilograms (4.184 x 10^27 pounds) and is such a force that it has its own mass in astronomy called Jupiter Mass (aka Jovian Mass). To put this in greater perspective, Jupiter is around 2.5 times more massive than every planet in our Solar System combined.
Meanwhile, its diameter comes in at a massive 86,881.4 miles (139,822 kilometers). For comparison, it is much larger than second place Saturn at 72,367.4 miles (116,464 km) or our own home planet at 7,917.5 miles (12,742 km). Jupiter is large enough to fit any object in our Solar System inside itself, with the exceptions of Saturn and the Sun.

Jupiter's Gravity Compared To Other Objects In The Solar System

Earth's gravity is the standard that is used in science in order to calculate the gravity of other celestial bodies. The gravity of our planet is equal to 9.807 meters per second squared (32.18 feet per second squared). What this means in layman terms is that if something is held above the ground and then dropped, it will fall towards the surface at a speed around 9.8 meters for every second it is falling.
Knowing this information gives a better understanding of Jupiter's gravity, which is 24.79 m/s² (81.33 ft/s²). However, what is important to remember about Jupiter is that as a gas giant it does not have a true surface. It is thought that standing on the planet's 'surface' would just lead to one sinking until they reached its core. Therefore, Jupiter and other gas giants have their surface gravity defined by the force of gravity at their cloud tops.
For comparison, the other gas giants can't stack up to Jupiter gravity wise. Neptune comes in second at 11.15 m/s² (36.58 ft/s²) followed by Saturn at 10.44 m/s² (34.25 ft/s²) and Uranus at 8.69 m/s² (29.4 ft/s²). The rocky planets are also no match with Earth at 9.807 m/s², Venus at 8.87 m/s² (29.1 ft/s²)Mars at 3.711 m/s² (12.8 ft/s²) and Mercury at 3.7 m/s² (12.4 ft/s²). However, Jupiter has no chance against the Sun, which has a gravity of 274 m/s² (898.95 ft/s²).

source: worldatlas

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

First plants on moon, China says it has done the job

Pictures sent back January 12 showed plant shoots growing well nine days after the experiment was initiated, Chongqing University, which led the biological project, said in a briefing .

WORLD Updated: Jan 16, 2019 11:13 IST

Moon mission,plants on moon,China grows plants on moonPictures sent back Jan. 12 showed plant shoots growing well nine days after the experiment was initiated, Chongqing University, which led the biological project, said in a briefing Tuesday(Facebook Photo posted by from space with love)
Chinese scientists say they have grown the first plants on the moon as part of the country’s lunar mission.
Pictures sent back Jan. 12 showed plant shoots growing well nine days after the experiment was initiated, Chongqing University, which led the biological project, said in a briefing Tuesday.
The biopsy test load carried cotton, canola, potato, Arabidopsis, yeast and fruit fly. Crops were exposed to high vacuum, temperature differences, and strong radiation.
After becoming the first country in the world to land a spacecraft on the far side of the moon, China is planning four more missions to get samples back before studying the feasibility of a lunar research base.
China plans to launch the Chang’e-5 probe to the moon later this year, with three more in the offing, said Wu Yanhua, vice administrator of the China National Space Administration, at a briefing in Beijing on Monday. At least two of them will land on the moon’s south pole and conduct research, he said.
“We will use the Chang’e-8 to test certain technologies and do some preliminary exploration for jointly building a research base on the moon,” Wu said.
The world’s second-biggest economy is doubling down on its space program as the race with the U.S. to explore Mars and beyond heats up at a time both the powers are vying for economic, technological and military dominance. With an annual space budget of $8 billion, second only to the U.S., China is also looking to send a probe to the red planet by the end of this decade and build its own space station by 2022.
First Published: Jan 16, 2019 10:44 IST
First Published: Jan 16, 2019 10:44 IST

Sunday, 6 January 2019


Particle Shift

Get ready to get excited about excitons.
Excitons are quirky quasiparticles that exist only in semiconducting and insulating materials. Recently, a team of researchers in Lausanne, Switzerland discovered a way to control how excitons flow. Not only that, they also discovered new properties of the particles which they claim could lead to a new generation of electronic devices with transistors that lose less energy as heat. The results of their study were published this week in the journal Nature Photonics.

The Buzz About Excitons

Excitons are created when electrons absorb light, moving to a higher “energy band” and leaving behind an “electron hole” where the electron was previously. Because the electron has a negative charge and the hole has a positive charge, the two are bound together and become known as an exciton. They are particularly easy to manipulate in 2D materials, such as those with a basic structure only a few atoms thick like carbon.
The research team from the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) found that by using a laser to generate light and slightly shifting the position of a 2D material they could use excitons to change some of the properties of the light.

Next Level Computing

One property of excitons, their valley, relates to how much energy they have. By manipulating these valleys and properties of light we can code information on nanoscopic scales. The process, known as valleytronics, is very similar to the binary 1’s and 0’s that make up the basis of all computing.
“Our research showed that, by manipulating excitons, we had come upon a whole new approach to electronics,” said Andras Kis, who heads the Laboratory of Nanoscale Electronics and Structures at EPFL. “We are witnessing the emergence of a totally new field of study, the full scope of which we don’t yet know.”
source: futurism.com
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