Science X Newsletter Week 06

Dear ymilog,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for week 06:

Astronomers confirm orbit of most distant object ever observed in our solar system

A team of astronomers, including associate professor Chad Trujillo of Northern Arizona University's Department of Astronomy and Planetary Science, have confirmed a planetoid that is almost four times farther from the Sun than Pluto, making it the most distant object ever observed in our solar system. The planetoid, which has been nicknamed "Farfarout," was first detected in 2018, and the team has now collected enough observations to pin down its orbit. The Minor Planet Center has now given it the official designation of 2018 AG37.

Not a living fossil: How the Coelacanth recently evolved dozens of new genes

The capture of the first living Coelacanth, a mighty ocean predator, off the coast of South Africa caused quite a stir in 1938, 65 million years after its supposed extinction. It became known as a "living fossil" owing to its anatomy looking almost identical to the fossil record. But while the Coelacanth's body may have changed little, its genome tells another story.

'Magnetic graphene' forms a new kind of magnetism

Researchers have identified a new form of magnetism in so-called magnetic graphene, which could point the way toward understanding superconductivity in this unusual type of material.

Holography 'quantum leap' could revolutionise imaging

A new type of quantum holography which uses entangled photons to overcome the limitations of conventional holographic approaches could lead to improved medical imaging and speed the advance of quantum information science.

Study of europium in crystals suggest Earth's middle ages were a time of flatlands

A tetrad of researchers from Peking University, the University of Toronto, Rutgers University and the University of Science and Technology of China has found evidence that suggests the Earth was mostly flat during its middle ages. In their paper published in the journal Science, the group describes their study of europium embedded in zircon crystals and what it revealed about Earth's ancient past.

China's Mars probe sends back video of Red Planet

China's space agency released video footage from its spacecraft circling Mars on Friday, two days after it successfully entered the planet's orbit in Beijing's latest ambitious space mission.

New machine learning theory raises questions about nature of science

A novel computer algorithm, or set of rules, that accurately predicts the orbits of planets in the solar system could be adapted to better predict and control the behavior of the plasma that fuels fusion facilities designed to harvest on Earth the fusion energy that powers the sun and stars.

Study of supergiant star Betelgeuse unveils the cause of its pulsations

Betelgeuse is normally one of the brightest, most recognizable stars of the winter sky, marking the left shoulder of the constellation Orion. But lately, it has been behaving strangely: an unprecedentedly large drop in its brightness has been observed in early 2020, which has prompted speculation that Betelgeuse may be about to explode.

Dog show: Pet pooches play more when humans are watching

Pet dogs are far more likely to play with one another when their owner is present and being attentive, according to a new study, raising the intriguing possibility that they are putting on a show for our benefit.

Common anti-depressant may be first-ever treatment for osteoarthritis

A disease of the joints, osteoarthritis affects more than 30 million adults and is the fifth-leading cause of disability in the United States. In a new study, scientists have discovered the cellular pathway that leads to osteoarthritis and have identified a commonly used anti-depressant—paroxetine—that inhibits this pathway. The team found that Paroxetine not only slows down cartilage degeneration, but also promotes cartilage health in both mice and human cartilage in vitro. The drug may be the first-ever treatment for this debilitating, degenerative disease.

The direct observation of the Pauli principle

The Pauli exclusion principle is a law of quantum mechanics introduced by Austrian physicist Wolfgang Pauli, which offers valuable insight about the structure of matter. More specifically, the Pauli principle states that two or more identical fermions cannot simultaneously occupy the same quantum state inside a quantum system.

Scientists develop new, faster method for seeking out dark matter

For nearly a century, scientists have worked to unravel the mystery of dark matter—an elusive substance that spreads through the universe and likely makes up much of its mass, but has so far proven impossible to detect in experiments. Now, a team of researchers have used an innovative technique called "quantum squeezing" to dramatically speed up the search for one candidate for dark matter in the lab.

Next stop Mars: 3 spacecraft arriving in quick succession

After hurtling hundreds of millions of miles through space since last summer, three robotic explorers are ready to hit the brakes at Mars.

Camera captures the Southern Pinwheel galaxy in glorious detail

Astronomy enthusiasts might wonder why a camera called the Dark Energy Camera (DECam) would be used to image a single spiral galaxy. DECam has in fact already finished its main job, as the instrument was used to complete the Dark Energy Survey, which ran from 2013 to 2019. Like many people, rather than enjoying a quiet retirement, DECam is remaining occupied. Members of the astronomical community can apply for time to use it, and the data collected are processed and made publicly available, thanks to the Astro Data Archive at the Community Science and Data Center (CSDC) Program at NSF's NOIRLab. DECam's continued operation also makes sumptuously detailed images like this one possible.

Scientists detect water vapour emanating from Mars

Researchers said Wednesday they had observed water vapour escaping high up in the thin atmosphere of Mars, offering tantalising new clues as to whether the Red Planet could have once hosted life.

Video: A billion years in 40 seconds

Geoscientists have released a video that for the first time shows the uninterrupted movement of the Earth's tectonic plates over the past billion years.

Researchers gather numerical evidence of quantum chaos in the Sachdev-Ye-Kitaev model

Over the past few years, many physicists worldwide have conducted research investigating chaos in quantum systems composed of strongly interacting particles, also known as many-body chaos. The study of many-body chaos has broadened the current understanding of quantum thermalization (i.e., the process through which quantum particles reach thermal equilibrium by interacting with one another) and revealed surprising connections between microscopic physics and the dynamics of black holes.

Image: Hubble takes portrait of nebula

This image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope features an impressive portrait of M1-63, a beautifully captured example of a bipolar planetary nebula located in the constellation of Scutum (the Shield).

Arctic permafrost releases more carbon dioxide than once believed

Rising global temperatures are causing frozen Arctic soil— permafrost—in the northern hemisphere to thaw and release CO2 that has been stored within it for thousands of years. The amount of carbon stored in permafrost is estimated to be four times greater than the combined amount of CO2 emitted by modern humans.

Pigs show potential for 'remarkable' level of behavioral, mental flexibility in new study

Pigs will probably never be able to fly, but new research is revealing that some species within the genus Sus may possess a remarkable level of behavioral and mental flexibility. A study published in Frontiers in Psychology tested the ability of four pigs to play a simple joystick-enabled video game. Each animal demonstrated some conceptual understanding despite limited dexterity on tasks normally given to non-human primates to analyze intelligence.


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