Science X Newsletter Week 24

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Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for week 24:

Physicists bring human-scale object to near standstill, reaching a quantum state

To the human eye, most stationary objects appear to be just that—still, and completely at rest. Yet if we were handed a quantum lens, allowing us to see objects at the scale of individual atoms, what was an apple sitting idly on our desk would appear as a teeming collection of vibrating particles, very much in motion.

The sun's clock: New calculations support and expand planetary hypothesis

Solar physicists around the world have long been searching for satisfactory explanations for the sun's many cyclical, overlapping activity fluctuations. In addition to the most famous, approximately 11-year "Schwabe cycle", the sun also exhibits longer fluctuations, ranging from hundreds to thousands of years. It follows, for example, the "Gleissberg cycle" (about 85 years), the "Suess-de Vries cycle" (about 200 years) and the quasi-cycle of "Bond events" (about 1500 years), each named after their discoverers. It is undisputed that the solar magnetic field controls these activity fluctuations.

Study: Half of US cosmetics contain toxic chemicals

More than half the cosmetics sold in the United States and Canada likely contain high levels of a toxic industrial compound linked to serious health conditions, including cancer and reduced birth weight, according to a new study.

Largest structures in the universe show clear light-shifted signal of rotation

By mapping the motion of galaxies in huge filaments that connect the cosmic web, astronomers at the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam (AIP), in collaboration with scientists in China and Estonia, have found that these long tendrils of galaxies spin on the scale of hundreds of millions of light years. A rotation on such enormous scales has never been seen before. The results published in Nature Astronomy signify that angular momentum can be generated on unprecedented scales.

Barks in the night lead to the discovery of new species

The raucous calls of tree hyraxes—small, herbivorous mammals—reverberate through the night in the forests of West and Central Africa, but their sound differs depending on the location.

At underwater site, research team finds 9,000-year-old stone artifacts

An underwater archaeologist from The University of Texas at Arlington is part of a research team studying 9,000-year-old stone tool artifacts discovered in Lake Huron that originated from an obsidian quarry more than 2,000 miles away in central Oregon.

Boundary of heliosphere mapped for the first time

For the first time, the boundary of the heliosphere has been mapped, giving scientists a better understanding of how solar and interstellar winds interact.

New research adds a wrinkle to our understanding of the origins of matter in the Milky Way

New findings published this week in Physical Review Letters suggest that carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen cosmic rays travel through the galaxy toward Earth in a similar way, but, surprisingly, that iron arrives at Earth differently. Learning more about how cosmic rays move through the galaxy helps address a fundamental, lingering question in astrophysics: How is matter generated and distributed across the universe?

Hubble data confirms galaxies lacking dark matter

The most accurate distance measurement yet of ultra-diffuse galaxy (UDG) NGC1052-DF2 (DF2) confirms beyond any shadow of a doubt that it is lacking in dark matter. The newly measured distance of 22.1 +/-1.2 megaparsecs was obtained by an international team of researchers led by Zili Shen and Pieter van Dokkum of Yale University and Shany Danieli, a NASA Hubble Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study.

NASA reports trouble with Hubble Space Telescope

The Hubble Space Telescope, which has been peering into the universe for more than 30 years, has been down for the past few days, NASA said Friday.

First-of-its-kind study finds lightning impacts edge of space in ways not previously observed

Solar flares jetting out from the sun and thunderstorms generated on Earth impact the planet's ionosphere in different ways, which have implications for the ability to conduct long range communications.

'Doomsday Glacier' may be more stable than initially feared

The world's largest ice sheets may be in less danger of sudden collapse than previously predicted, according to new findings led by the University of Michigan.

mRNA vaccine yields full protection against malaria in mice

Scientists from the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research and Naval Medical Research Center partnered with researchers at the University of Pennsylvania and Acuitas Therapeutics to develop a novel vaccine based on mRNA technology that protects against malaria in animal models, publishing their findings in npj Vaccines.

Study points to a seed black hole produced by a dark matter halo collapse

Supermassive black holes, or SMBHs, are black holes with masses that are several million to billion times the mass of our sun. The Milky Way hosts an SMBH with mass a few million times the solar mass. Surprisingly, astrophysical observations show that SMBHs already existed when the universe was very young. For example, a billion solar mass black holes are found when the universe was just 6% of its current age, 13.7 billion years. How do these SMBHs in the early universe originate?

Mystery of Betelgeuse's dip in brightness solved

When Betelgeuse, a bright orange star in the constellation of Orion, became visibly darker in late 2019 and early 2020, the astronomy community was puzzled. A team of astronomers have now published new images of the star's surface, taken using the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope (ESO's VLT), that clearly show how its brightness changed. The new research reveals that the star was partially concealed by a cloud of dust, a discovery that solves the mystery of the Great Dimming of Betelgeuse.

Meringue-like material could make aircraft as quiet as a hairdryer

An incredibly light new material that can reduce aircraft engine noise and improve passenger comfort has been developed at the University of Bath.

New super-resolution microscopy method approaches the atomic scale

Scientists at Weill Cornell Medicine have developed a computational technique that greatly increases the resolution of atomic force microscopy, a specialized type of microscope that "feels" the atoms at a surface. The method reveals atomic-level details on proteins and other biological structures under normal physiological conditions, opening a new window on cell biology, virology and other microscopic processes.

Pacific islanders likely found Antarctica first: study

Polynesian seafarers likely reached Antarctica hundreds of years before the Western explorers usually credited with discovering the frozen continent, a new study has concluded.

Negev Desert archaeological site illuminates an important chapter in modern humans' origin

The Boker Tachtit archaeological excavation site in Israel's central Negev desert holds clues to one of the most significant events in human history: the spread of modern humans, Homo sapiens, from Africa into Eurasia, and the subsequent demise of Neanderthal populations in the region. Researchers from the Weizmann Institute of Science and the Max Planck Society, led by Prof. Elisabetta Boaretto, together with Dr. Omry Barzilai of the Israel Antiquities Authority, returned to Boker Tachtit nearly 40 years after it was first excavated. Using advanced sampling and dating methods, they offer a new chronological framework for this important chapter in our anthropological evolution. Published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), the study suggests that Homo sapiens and Neanderthals were far from strangers.

Ten years of ancient genome analysis has taught scientists 'what it means to be human'

A ball of 4,000-year-old hair frozen in time tangled around a whalebone comb led to the first ever reconstruction of an ancient human genome just over a decade ago.


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