Twenty years ago, astronomers discovered a number of enigmatic radio-emitting filaments concentrated near the center of the Milky Way Galaxy. These features initially defied explanation, but a new study of radio images of the Galactic center may point to their possible source. These mysterious "filaments" of radio-wave emission may hold the ultimate proof of the existence of dark matter, researchers have said. A new report suggests the filaments' emission arises from dark matter particles crashing into each other.
Continue reading "Radio-Waves Near Milky Way Core May Hold the Ultimate Proof of Dark Matter" »
A team of astronomers has discovered the most distant quasar to date — a development that could help further our understanding of the universe when it was still in its infancy following the Big Bang.
This brilliant and rare beacon, powered by a black hole with a mass two billion times that of the Sun, is by far the brightest object yet found from a time when the Universe was less than 800 million years old — just a fraction of its current age.
The object that has been found, named ULAS J1120+0641, is around 100 million years younger than the previously known most distant quasar. It lies at a redshift of 7.1 which corresponds to looking back in time to a Universe that was only 770 million years old, only five per cent of its current age. Prior to this discovery, the most distant quasar known has a redshift of 6.4, the equivalent of a Universe that was 870 million years old.
Continue reading "Five-Year Search leads to Discovery of the Most Distant Known Quasar Powered by a Black Hole Two Billion Times Mass of the Sun" »
An international team of researchers has now succeeded in generating a bacterium possessing a DNA in which thymine is replaced by the synthetic building block 5-chlorouracil (c), a substance toxic for other organisms. The genetic information of all living cells is stored in the DNA composed of the four canonical bases adenine (A), cytosine (C), guanine (G) and thymine (T).
Continue reading "Hacking DNA: Scientists Generate New Organisms Not Found in Nature" »
The "Potsdam Gravity potato", as this image of terrestrial gravity has become known, can for the first time display gravity variations that change with time. The seasonal fluctuations of the water balance of continents or melting or growing ice masses, i.e. climate-related variables, are now included in the modeling of the gravity field.
Continue reading ""The Real Earth" -- Image from Space With Gravity Field in Effect" »
The European Space Agencies' XMM-Newton space observatory has watched a faint star flare up at X-ray wavelengths to almost 10,000 times its normal brightness. Astronomers believe the outburst was caused by the star trying to eat a giant clump of matter much larger than the neutron star and came from its enormous blue supergiant companion star.
Continue reading "Astronomers Discover a Neutron Star Illuminated by an X-Ray Flare" »
Data from NASA's Cassini spacecraft show that the variation in radio waves controlled by the planet's rotation is different in the northern and southern hemispheres. Moreover, the northern and southern rotational variations also appear to change with the Saturnian seasons, and the hemispheres have actually swapped rates.
Continue reading ""Eerie Voices of Saturn" - Audio Signals Differ at Its North and South Hemispheres" »
Several thousand light-years from Earth, near the "heart" of Cygnus, the swan, two stars are locked in their gravitational destiny. One star is a blue supergiant, known as HDE 226868 --about 30 times as massive as the Sun and 400,000 times brighter. The other star is 5 to 10 times the mass of the Sun, but it's extremely small. But its mass is too great to be a white dwarf or a . neutron star. The system is called Cygnus X-1, indicating it was the first source of X-rays discovered in the constellation Cygnus. Discovered by the Uhuru X-ray satellite in the early 1970s, it was also one of the first suspected black holes.
Continue reading "Cygnus X-1 --A Black Hole: Harvard-Smithsonian Astronomers Prove Stephen Hawking Was Wrong" »
Some recent news reports have attributed the nation's record snowfall, killer tornadoes, and devastating floods phenomenon to an extreme "La Niña," a band of cold water stretching across the Pacific Ocean with global repercussions for climate and weather.
"La Niña was strong in December," says NASA climatologist Bill Patzert. "But back in January it pulled a disappearing act and left us with nothing – La Nada – to constrain the jet stream. Like an unruly teenager, the jet stream took advantage of the newfound freedom--and the results were disastrous."
Continue reading "Weirder, Weird Weather --"La Nina, El Nino, La Nada"" »