An ancient subatomic signature extends across the universe. It seems that some subatomic particles, invisible and untouchable effects of the very creation of reality, might exist simultaneously across all of space.
"Relic" neutrinos, like the relic photons that make up the cosmic microwave background, are leftovers from the hot, dense early universe that prevailed 13.7 billion years ago. But over the lifetime of the cosmos, these relic neutrinos have been stretched out by the expansion of the universe, enlarging the range in which each neutrino can exist.
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These highly developed galaxies, whose star-forming youth is in fact long gone, just shouldn't be there, but are."
Dr. Karl Glazebrook (Johns Hopkins University).
Some of the faintest spectra in the universe raise a glaring question: Why do Galaxies in the early universe appear old?
Until recently, astronomers have been nearly blind when looking back in time to survey an era when most stars in the Universe were expected to have formed. This critical cosmological blind-spot was removed by a team using the Frederick C. Gillett Gemini North Telescope located on Mauna Kea, Hawaii, showing that many galaxies in the young Universe are not behaving as they would have expected some 8-11 billion years ago.
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A stunning example of the power and effervescence of supermassive black holes is shown in this Chandra space telescope image above of the elliptical galaxy M87 in the Virgo Cluster. The features in this image imply that outbursts and deep sounds have been generated by the black hole for eons.
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"Now, after some three billion years," says Freeman Dyson of the Institute for Advanced Study, "the Darwinian era is over. The epoch of species competition came to an end about 10 thousand years ago when a single species, Homo sapiens, began to dominate and reorganize the planet. Since that time, cultural evolution has replaced biological evolution as the driving force of change."
It has become part of the accepted wisdom to say that the twentieth century was the century of physics and the twenty-first century will be the century of biology.
Freeman Dyson predicts that the domestication of biotechnology will dominate our lives during the next fifty years at least as much as the domestication of computers has dominated our lives during the previous fifty years.
Dyson's mentor in the field of biology, Carl Woese, professor of microbiology at the University of Illinois and the world's greatest expert in the field of microbial taxonomy is the creator of the Three Domain Hypothesis, which explored the ancestry of microbes by tracing the emergence of defined species from the pool of primitive gene-swapping cells that characterized the early history of life.
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Japan's HTV-2 robotic cargo ship above is seen just before astronauts grapple it on Jan. 27, 2011. The spacecraft, one of several robotic cargo ships that ferry supplies to the International Space Station, is carrying a device to "phone home" during its planned death plunge into Earth's atmosphere today.
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Most deep-sea volcanoes produce effusive lava flows rather than explosive eruptions, both because the levels of magmatic gas tend to be low, and because the volcanoes are under a lot of pressure from the surrounding water. But by using an ion microprobe, Christoph Helo, a PhD student in McGill's Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, has now proved that explosive eruptions can also occur.
Between 75 and 80 per cent of all volcanic activity on Earth takes place at deep-sea, mid-ocean ridges. Most of these volcanoes produce effusive lava flows rather than explosive eruptions, both because the levels of magmatic gas (which fuel the explosions and are made up of a variety of components, including, most importantly CO2) tend to be low, and because the volcanoes are under a lot of pressure from the surrounding water.
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The pressures of human evolution could explain the apparent rise of disorders such as autoimmune diseases and autism, researchers say. Some adaptations may even help such ailments persist. Previous work in evolutionary medicine helped explain why disease is so prevalent and difficult to prevent. Because natural selection favors reproduction over health, biology evolves more slowly than culture, and pathogens evolve more quickly than humans.
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The first geological evidence to support previous theories based on computer models and lab experiments, about how the earliest rocks were formed, has been developed by researchers from Imperial College London and other international institutions. The study concludes that the first solid material in the Solar System was fragile and extremely porous and that it was compacted during periods of extreme turbulence into harder rock, forming the building blocks that paved the way for rocky, life-friendly planets like Earth.
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A joint study between the Universities of Exeter and Bath in the UK, with a group from San Diego State University in the US, challenges our current understanding of evolution by showing that biodiversity may evolve where previously thought impossible.
The work represents a new approach to studying evolution that may eventually lead to a better understanding of the diversity of bacteria that cause human diseases.
Conventional wisdom has it that for any given niche there should be a best species, the fittest, that will eventually dominate to exclude all others.
This is the principle of survival of the fittest. Ecologists often call this idea the `competitive exclusion principle' and it predicts that complex environments are needed to support complex, diverse populations.
Continue reading ""Genomes of the Fittest" Do Not Always Win in New Theory of Evolution" »
The detailed Spitzer Space Telescope view above features infrared light from dust (red) and old stars (blue) in Andromeda, a massive spiral galaxy a mere 2.5 million light-years away. In fact, with over twice the diameter of our own Milky Way, Andromeda is the largest nearby galaxy. Andromeda's population of bright young stars define its sweeping spiral arms in visible light images, but here the infrared view clearly follows the lumpy dust lanes heated by the young stars as they wind even closer to the galaxy's core. Constructed to explore Andromeda's infrared brightness and stellar populations, the full mosaic image is composed of about 3,000 individual frames. Two smaller companion galaxies, NGC 205 (below) and M32 (above) are also included in the combined fields. The data confirm that Andromeda (aka M31) houses around 1 trillion stars, compared to 4 hundred billion for the Milky Way.
Continue reading "Image of the Day: One Trillion Stars! Andromedea Galaxy in Infrared & X Ray" »