Twisting Light to Send Information

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Via Science Alert:

At the moment when we talk with satellites, we use polarised light, which can only vibrate on a single plane, because it's not affected by turbulence in the air. But this is extremely slow, as only one bit of information can be carried by each particle of light.

In order to speed this up, physicists have been looking for a way to encode more information into photons - and in the '90s they began investigating twisting light, which can be sent like a corkscrew across long distances. This is known as orbital angular momentum, or OAM, and it opens up the potential for ridiculously fast and secure communication.

The Light Through the Clouds of Jupiter

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Jupiter's largest moons don't go completely dark when the giant planet blocks their sunlight, astronomers have found.

The discovery could reveal more about Jupiter's mysterious upper atmosphere, which the researchers suspect is responsible for keeping the moons lit when they are not directly illuminated by the sun. This research could also help scientists better understand the atmospheres of alien planets, study team members said.
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