i hope you get cancer™

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Look into an airy ring and what does one find?

Well, scientists have been doing just that, and discovered what some of us suspected all along - that spacetime is not as foamy as we thought. You know the way that space is, like, totally composed of ever-changing arrangements of bubbles, called spacetime foam? Yes you do - the uncertainty principle blatantly allows virtual particles to spontaneously pop into and out of existence, remember?

Yeah, so anyway, these scientists have observed an airy ring around the quasar-like object PKS1413 + 135, and reckon that the ring limits the amount of light scattering that could be caused by spacetime foam. The quasar is 1.2 gigaparsecs – or about 4 billion light years – away from the Milky Way, allowing the physicists to accumulate the effects of the fluctuations over a distance, necessary for amplifying the tiny effects of the foam.

Y. Jack Ng, member of the team that observed the ring, was like, “The detection of spacetime foam will give us a glimpse of the ultimate structure of spacetime,” and all, “The observational results may also point physicists to the correct theory of quantum gravity.”