Science X Newsletter Week 44

Dear ymilog,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for week 44:

Astronomers discover activity on distant planetary object

Centaurs are minor planets believed to have originated in the Kuiper Belt in the outer solar system. They sometimes have comet-like features such as tails and comae—clouds of dust particles and gas—even though they orbit in a region between Jupiter and Neptune where it is too cold for water to readily sublimate, or transition, directly from a solid to a gas.

An Earth-sized rogue planet discovered in the Milky Way

Our galaxy may be teeming with rogue planets, gravitationally unbound to any star. An international team of scientists, led by Polish astronomers, has announced the discovery of the smallest Earth-sized free-floating planet found to date.

Juno data indicates 'sprites' or 'elves' frolic in Jupiter's atmosphere

New results from NASA's Juno mission at Jupiter suggest that either "sprites" or "elves" could be dancing in the upper atmosphere of the solar system's largest planet. It is the first time these bright, unpredictable and extremely brief flashes of light—formally known as transient luminous events, or TLE's—have been observed on another world. The findings were published on Oct. 27, 2020, in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets.

Physicists circumvent centuries-old theory to cancel magnetic fields

A team of scientists including two physicists at the University of Sussex has found a way to circumvent a 178-year old theory which means they can effectively cancel magnetic fields at a distance. They are the first to be able to do so in a way which has practical benefits.

High fat or 'ketogenic' diets could prevent, reverse heart failure

Research from Saint Louis University finds that high fat or "ketogenic" diets could completely prevent, or even reverse heart failure caused by a metabolic process.

Asteroid samples tucked into capsule for return to Earth

A NASA spacecraft tucked more than 2 pounds of asteroid samples into a capsule for return to Earth after losing some of its precious loot because of a jammed lid, scientists said Thursday.

The Grantecan finds the farthest black hole that belongs to a rare family of galaxies

An international team of astronomers has identified one of the rarest known classes of gamma-ray emitting galaxies, called BL Lacertae, within the first 2 billion years of the age of the Universe. The team, that has used one of the largest optical telescope in the world, Gran Telescopio Canarias (GTC), located at the Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos (Garafía, La Palma), consists of researchers from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid (UCM, Spain), DESY (Germany), University of California Riverside and Clemson University (USA). Their finding is published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters.

A new spin on atoms gives scientists a closer look at quantum weirdness

When atoms get extremely close, they develop intriguing interactions that could be harnessed to create new generations of computing and other technologies. These interactions in the realm of quantum physics have proven difficult to study experimentally due the basic limitations of optical microscopes.

How many habitable planets are out there?

Thanks to new research using data from the Kepler space telescope, it's estimated that there could be as many as 300 million potentially habitable planets in our galaxy. Some could even be pretty close, with several likely within 30 light-years of our Sun. The findings will be published in The Astronomical Journal, and research was a collaboration of scientists from NASA, the SETI Institute, and other organizations worldwide.

NASA's Perseverance rover is midway to Mars

NASA's Mars 2020 Perseverance rover mission has logged a lot of flight miles since being lofted skyward on July 30—146.3 million miles (235.4 million kilometers) to be exact. Turns out that is exactly the same distance it has to go before the spacecraft hits the Red Planet's atmosphere like a 11,900 mph (19,000 kph) freight train on Feb. 18, 2021.

Study finds over 80% of COVID-19 patients have vitamin D deficiency

Over 80 percent of 200 COVID-19 patients in a hospital in Spain have vitamin D deficiency, according to a new study published in the Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

Antarctica yields oldest fossils of giant birds with 6.4-meter wingspans

Fossils recovered from Antarctica in the 1980s represent the oldest giant members of an extinct group of birds that patrolled the southern oceans with wingspans of up to 21 feet (6.4 meters) that would dwarf the 11½-foot wingspan of today's largest bird, the wandering albatross.

Study offers more complete view of massive asteroid Psyche

A new study authored by Southwest Research Institute planetary scientist Dr. Tracy Becker discusses several new views of the asteroid 16 Psyche, including the first ultraviolet observations. The study, which was published today in The Planetary Science Journal and presented at the virtual meeting of the American Astronomical Society's Division for Planetary Sciences, paints a clearer view of the asteroid than was previously available.

Using game-theory to look for extraterrestrial intelligence

Astronomer Eamonn Kerins with the University of Manchester has developed an approach to looking for intelligent extraterrestrial beings on other planets that involves using game theory. He has written a paper describing his ideas and has uploaded it to the arXiv preprint server.

Solved: the mystery of how dark matter in galaxies is distributed

The gravitational force in the Universe under which it has evolved from a state almost uniform at the Big Bang until now, when matter is concentrated in galaxies, stars and planets, is provided by what is termed 'dark matter." But in spite of the essential role that this extra material plays, we know almost nothing about its nature, behavior and composition, which is one of the basic problems of modern physics. In a recent article in Astronomy & Astrophysics Letters, scientists at the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC)/University of La Laguna (ULL) and of the National University of the North-West of the Province of Buenos Aires (Junín, Argentina) have shown that the dark matter in galaxies follows a 'maximum entropy' distribution, which sheds light on its nature.

Red and black ink from Egyptian papyri unveil ancient writing practices

Scientists led by the ESRF, the European Synchrotron, Grenoble, France and the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, have discovered the composition of red and black inks in ancient Egyptian papyri from circa 100-200 AD, leading to a number of hypotheses about writing practices. The analysis, based on synchrotron techniques, shows that lead was probably used as a dryer rather than as a pigment, similar to its usage in 15th-century Europe during the development of oil painting. They have published their results in PNAS.

60-year-old limit to lasers overturned by quantum researchers

A team of Australian quantum theorists has shown how to break a bound that had been believed, for 60 years, to fundamentally limit the coherence of lasers.

Massive asteroid subject of new findings

A University of Hawaiʻi Institute for Astronomy (IfA) astronomer has revealed critical new findings linked to a large asteroid expected to pass extremely close to Earth. Dave Tholen and collaborators have announced the detection of Yarkovsky acceleration on the near-Earth asteroid Apophis. This acceleration arises from an extremely weak force on an object due to non-uniform thermal radiation. This force is particularly important for the asteroid Apophis, as it affects the probability of an Earth impact in 2068.

An early dark energy model could solve an expanding cosmological conundrum

Much mystery surrounds dark energy and the cosmological constant, the proxies used to explain the accelerating expansion of the Universe. New research suggests that an early model of dark energy presents a competing theory that offers all the benefits of current models without the baggage that comes associated with the cosmological constant.

Scientists repurpose MRI magnet for new discoveries

A limiting factor in modern physics experiments is the precision at which scientists can measure important values, such as the magnetic field within a detector. Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory and their collaborators have developed a unique facility to calibrate field measurement devices and test their limits inside powerful magnetic fields.


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