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Posts Tagged ‘Discovery’

Largest Quasar Ever Discovered Burns 100 Times Brighter Than Entire Milky Way

November 29, 2012 Leave a comment

By Emily Elert Posted 11.28.2012
 
Glowing galactic center located near a supermassive black hole
Artist's Rendering of Huge Quasar Outflow

Artist’s Rendering of Huge Quasar Outflow ESO/L. Calçada

Astronomers have found a galaxy whose super-luminous nucleus–called a quasar–is burning 100 times as much energy as the entire Milky Way galaxy.

Though theory has long predicted that quasars this powerful should exist, the newly-discovered object, known as SDSS J1106+1939, is by far the most energetic ever observed. The quasar is powered by a supermassive black hole that lies at its center.

Read more: http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2012-11/scientists-discover-biggest-quasar-ever-near-supermassive-black-hole

Antarctic Lake Vida Provides Clue To Alien Life

November 28, 2012 Leave a comment

By Posted: 27/11/2012

The discovery of bacteria which thrives in a salty, ice-sealed Antarctic lake has strengthened the possibility of alien life on planets such as Mars.

Lake Vida, which is located in the region’s McMurdo Dry Valleys, contains no oxygen, is mostly frozen and possesses the highest nitrous oxide levels of any natural water body on Earth.

A briny liquid that is approximately six times saltier than seawater percolates throughout the icy environment that has an average temperature of minus 13.5 degrees centigrade (8 degrees Fahrenheit).

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The discovery of bacteria in an Antarctic lake strengthens the possibility of alien life on other planets (file picture)

 Dr Peter Doran, of the University of Illinois in Chicago, told New Scientist: “Lake Vida is a model of what happens when you try to freeze a lake solid, and this is the same fate that any lakes on Mars would have gone through as the planet turned colder from a watery past.

“Any Martian water bodies that did form would have gone through this Vida stage before freezing solid, entombing the evidence of the past ecosystem.”

The findings are published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal (PNAS), and were co-authored by Dr Alison Murray and Dr Christian Fritsen, of Nevada’s Desert Research Institute (DRI).

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/11/27/antarctic-lake-vida-alien-_n_2198485.html?utm_hp_ref=uk

Planck spots hot gas bridging galaxy cluster pair

November 22, 2012 1 comment

Planck spots hot gas bridging galaxy cluster pair

 
Galaxy clusters connected by gas bridge

 20 November 2012
ESA’s Planck space telescope has made the first conclusive detection of a bridge of hot gas connecting a pair of galaxy clusters across 10 million light-years of intergalactic space.
 
Planck’s primary task is to capture the most ancient light of the cosmos, the Cosmic Microwave Background, or CMB. As this faint light traverses the Universe, it encounters different types of structure including galaxies and galaxy clusters – assemblies of hundreds to thousands of galaxies bound together by gravity.

If the CMB light interacts with the hot gas permeating these huge cosmic structures, its energy distribution is modified in a characteristic way, a phenomenon known as the Sunyaev–Zel’dovich (SZ) effect, after the scientists who discovered it.

This effect has already been used by Planck to detect galaxy clusters themselves, but it also provides a way to detect faint filaments of gas that might connect one cluster to another.

In the early Universe, filaments of gaseous matter pervaded the cosmos in a giant web, with clusters eventually forming in the densest nodes.

Much of this tenuous, filamentary gas remains undetected, but astronomers expect that it could most likely be found between interacting galaxy clusters, where the filaments are compressed and heated up, making them easier to spot.

 Read more: http://www.esa.int/SPECIALS/Planck/SEMRT791M9H_0.html

Hints of life in the deepest scientific marine samples ever collected

November 19, 2012 Leave a comment

 Elizabeth Trembath-Reichert recently returned from the Research Vessel Chikyu off the coast of Japan’s Shimokita Peninsula, where she served as a member of the microbiology team aboard a (literally) groundbreaking leg of the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program. The expedition resulted in a new world record for deepest scientific marine drilling to 2,440 meters beneath the seafloor. But were there signs of life so far down? Here, Trembath-Reichert offers some answers … or at least what pass for answers for a suitably cautious scientist….

Read more: http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2012/11/hints-of-life-in-deepest-scientific-marine-samples-ever-collected/

Guatemala excavates early Mayan ruler’s tomb

October 26, 2012 Leave a comment

October 25, 2012

Guatemala excavates early Mayan ruler's tombEnlargeThis photo taken on May 25, 2012, released on Thursday, Oct. 25, 2012 by Tak’alik Ab’aj Archaeological Project shows a jade piece in the tomb of a very early Mayan ruler at Tak’alik Ab’aj archaeological site in Retalhuleu, south of Guatemala City. Archaeologists in Guatemala announced Friday they have uncovered the tomb complete with rich jade jewelry and decoration. Government archaeologist Miguel Orrego says carbon-dating indicates the tomb was built between 700 and 400 B.C., several hundred years before the Mayan culture reached its apogee (AP Photo/Tak’alik Ab’aj Archaeological Project)

Experts said the find at Guatemala’s Tak’alik Ab’aj temple site could help shed light on the formative years of the Mayan culture.

Government archaeologist Miguel Orrego said carbon-dating indicates the tomb was built between 700 and 400 B.C., several hundred years before the Mayan culture reached its height. He said it was the oldest tomb found so far at Tak’alik Ab’aj, a site in southern Guatemala that dates back about 2,200 years.

Orrego said a necklace depicting a vulture-headed human figure appeared to identify the tomb’s occupant as an “ajaw,” or ruler.

Guatemala excavates early Mayan ruler's tomb

 Read more: http://phys.org/news/2012-10-guatemala-excavates-early-mayan-ruler.html

Mars rover Curiosity scoops, detects bright object


This image from the right Mast Camera (Mastcam) of NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity shows a scoop full of sand and dust lifted by the rover’s first use of the scoop on its robotic arm. In the foreground, near the bottom of the image, a bright object is visible on the ground. The object might be a piece of rover hardware. This image was taken during the mission’s 61st Martian day, or sol (Oct. 7, 2012), the same sol as the first scooping. After examining Sol 61 imaging, the rover team decided to refrain from using the arm on Sol 62 (Oct. 8). Instead, the rover was instructed to acquire additional imaging of the bright object, on Sol 62, to aid the team in assessing possible impact, if any, to sampling activities. For scale, the scoop is 1.8 inches (4.5 centimeters) wide, 2.8 inches (7 centimeters) long. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSSRead more: http://phys.org/news/2012-10-mars-rover-curiosity-scoops-bright.html

NASA’s Kepler Discovers Multiple Planets Orbiting a Pair of Stars


ScienceDaily (Aug. 28, 2012) — Coming less than a year after the announcement of the first circumbinary planet, Kepler-16b, NASA’s Kepler mission has discovered multiple transiting planets orbiting two suns for the first time. This system, known as a circumbinary planetary system, is 4,900 light-years from Earth in the constellation Cygnus.

Orbiting in the Habitable Zone of Two Suns: This diagram compares our own solar system to Kepler-47, a double-star system containing two planets, one orbiting in the so-called “habitable zone.” (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle)
 

This discovery proves that more than one planet can form and persist in the stressful realm of a binary star and demonstrates the diversity of planetary systems in our galaxy.

Astronomers detected two planets in the Kepler-47 system, a pair of orbiting stars that eclipse each other every 7.5 days from our vantage point on Earth. One star is similar to the sun in size, but only 84 percent as bright. The second star is diminutive, measuring only one-third the size of the sun and less than 1 percent as bright.

Read more: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120828190127.htm