Tag: ET (page 2 of 69)

The Messenger of fate: NASA spacecraft smashes into planet Mercury

Excerpt from usatoday.comIts fuel tanks empty and its options gone, NASA's Messenger spacecraft smashed into planet Mercury on Thursday afternoon after valiantly fighting off the inevitable.Engineers calculated that the spacecraft, traveling a scorc...

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Astrophysicists create most complete 3-D map of the universe

Excerpt from thespacereporter.com

A team of scientists has created a detailed map of our cosmic “neighborhood” extending nearly two billion lights years in every direction. This 3-D map showing galaxies in their superclusters will aid astrophysicists in better understanding how matter, including dark matter, is distributed in the universe.

According to a Science Daily report, the map indicates the relative concentration of galaxies in different areas, including the largest nearby supercluster called the Shapely Concentration, as well as less explored areas. The scientists found no sign of any pattern in the distribution of matter.

“The galaxy distribution isn’t uniform and has no pattern. It has peaks and valleys much like a mountain range. This is what we expect if the large-scale structure originates from quantum fluctuations in the early universe,” Mike Hudson of the University of Waterloo said in a statement.


The researchers hope that a more complete view of the placement and movement of matter will aid in forming predictions about the expansion of the universe. In particular, the team hopes to gain insight into the phenomenon of peculiar velocity – the differences in galactic movement caused by the unevenness in the expansion of the universe. It is thought that the non-uniform movement of galaxies is influenced by dark matter – a form of matter only indirectly detectable through its gravitational influence on light and visible matter.

A cross-section of the cosmic map detailing accumulations of massive clusters. The dark red region is the famous Shapley Concentration, the largest collection of galaxies in the nearby universe.
Hudson et al./University of Waterloo

“A better understanding of dark matter is central to understanding the formation of galaxies and the structures they live in, such as galaxy clusters, superclusters and voids,” said Hudson.

The team plans to continue expanding and detailing the map in collaboration with additional researchers. The team’s work was published in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

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Buried Mars Glaciers are Brimming With Water

Researchers have identified thousands of glacier-like formations on the planet.
NASA/Levy et al./Nanna Karlsson

Excerpt from news.discovery.com

Glaciers beneath the dusty sands of Mars contain enough water to coat the planet with more than three feet of ice, a new study shows.
“We have calculated that the ice in the glaciers is equivalent to over 150 billion cubic meters of ice — that much ice could cover the entire surface of Mars with 1.1 meters (3.6 feet) of ice,” Nanna Bjørnholt Karlsson, a post-doctoral researcher the Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagen, said in a statement.

Radar images previously revealed thousands of buried glacier-like formations in the planet’s northern and southern hemispheres.
That data has now been incorporated into computer models of ice flow to determine the glaciers’ size and hence how much water they contain.

“We have looked at radar measurements spanning 10 years back in time to see how thick the ice is and how it behaves. A glacier is, after all, a big chunk of ice and it flows and gets a form that tells us something about how soft it is. We then compared this with how glaciers on Earth behave and from that we have been able to make models for the ice flow,” she said.

The glaciers are located in belts around Mars between 30 degrees and 50 degrees latitude, roughly equivalent to just south of Denmark’s location on Earth. The glaciers are found on both the northern and southern hemispheres.

The finding could be an important clue to what happened to Mars’ water. The planet, which is now a cold, dry desert, once had oceans, lakes and habitats suitable for microbial life, results from past and ongoing science missions show.

“The ice at the mid-latitudes is an important part of Mars’ water reservoir,” Karlsson said.

Scientists suspect the thick layer of dust covering the ice has saved if from evaporating out into space.

The study appears in this week’s Geophysical Research Letters.

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Black Holes, the Large Hadron Collider, & Finding Parallel Universes

Excerpt from huffingtonpost.comI am a huge science enthusiast and an unabashed science fiction fan. There are tons of really cool stories out there that fire the imagination and even inspire young people to go into science. (I know they did me.) ...

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Powerful solar storm sparks stunning aurora around the world ~ Images of the Northern Lights 2015

Excerpt from cnn.com  A severe solar storm created a stunning display of light in the night sky over parts of the United States, Europe, Australia and New Zealand early Wednesday morning, spotted by those lucky enough to be awake in the wee h...

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New Development in the Controversy of the ‘Yeti’ Hair Samples — Here’s the Latest

 In this undated photo made available by Britain's Channel 4 television of Oxford University genetics professor Bryan Sykes posing with a prepared DNA sample taken from  hair  from a Himalayan animal.  DNA testing is taking a bite out of the Bigfoot legend. After scientists analyzed more than 30 hair samples reportedly left behind by Bigfoot and other related beasts like Yeti and almasty, they found all of them came from more mundane animals like bears, wolves, cows and raccoons. In 2012, researchers at Oxford University and the Lausanne Museum of Zoology issued an open call asking museums, scientists and Bigfoot aficionados to share any samples they thought were from the mythical ape-like creatures. (AP/ Channel 4)
In this undated photo made available by Britain’s Channel 4 television of Oxford University genetics professor Bryan Sykes posing with a prepared DNA sample taken from hair from a Himalayan animal.

Excerpt from theblaze.com

A new study that re-analyzed so-called “yeti” hair samples from previous research that had identified them as belonging to an “anomalous ursid” might have disappointing news for those who thought the findings last year meant a “bigfoot” of sorts was still out there. Yet, the author of the original findings stands by his claims.

Research published in the journal ZooKeys found that the hair samples said to be from Central Asia and the Himalayas belong to a known species in those regions.

“We have concluded that there is no reason to believe that the two samples came from anything other than brown bears,” the authors wrote in the study abstract.

After scientists analyzed more than 30 hair samples reportedly left behind by Bigfoot and other related beasts like Yeti, they found all of them came from more mundane animals like bears, wolves, cows and raccoons. Two samples were said to have been from an “anomalous ursid,” but new analysis suggests that the samples were from brown bears. (AP/Channel 4)
These authors used mitochondrial 12S rRNA sequencing on the same samples that Oxford University’s Bryan Sykes and his fellow authors used in their study published last year. The issue Eliecer Guiterrez, a postdoctoral researcher at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, and his colleagues found with Sykes research was that his team used a fragment of DNA.

“We made this discovery that basically that fragment of DNA is not informative to tell apart two species of bears: the brown bear and [modern-day Alaskan] polar bear,” Gutierrez told Live Science.

At the time of his 2014 study, Sykes et al. wrote “[...] it is important to bear in mind that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence and this survey cannot refute the existence of anomalous primates, neither has it found any evidence in support. […] The techniques described here put an end to decades of ambiguity about species identification of anomalous primate samples and set a rigorous standard against which to judge any future claims.”

And Sykes still holds his ground, despite the more recent findings.
“What mattered most to us was that these two hairs were definitely not from unknown primates,” Sykes told Live Science in light of the recent research. “The explanation by Gutierrez and [Ronald] Pine might be right, or it might not be.”

To NBC News, Sykes said that Gutierrez’ findings are “entirely statistical.”

“The only way forward, as I have repeatedly said, is to find a living bear that matches the 12S RNA and study fresh material from it,” he continued. “Which involves getting off your butt, not an activity I usually associate with desk-bound molecular taxonomists.”

Daniel Loxton, an editor for Junior Skeptic, which is produced by the Skeptics Society, told Live Science that people will continue to believe in and seek out yetis, bigfoots and the like, because they are”fascinated by monsters, and they’re fascinated by mysteries in general.”

Blake Smith, in a blog post for the Skeptics Society laid out the whole saga involving Sykes research and the more recent analysis by Guiterrez. Smith ultimately concluded that he’s “still convinced that Yeti and Bigfoot are not to be found in the forests and mountains of the Earth, but in the minds of people.”

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Rare & severe geomagnetic storm enables Aurora Borealis to be seen from U.S. tonight

Excerpt from mashable.com Thanks to a rare, severe geomagnetic storm, the Northern Lights may be visible on Tuesday night in areas far to the south of its typical home in the Arctic.  The northern tier of the U.S., from Washington State to Michiga...

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