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D-brief

Supermassive Black Holes Are Stopping Star Formation in Tiny Galaxies

By Alison Klesman | October 18, 2019 4:59 pm

The dwarf irregular galaxy NGC 1569 is frantically forming stars. New research shows that some dwarf galaxies, however, have had their star formation halted by the supermassive black hole in their center. (Credit: HST/NASA/ESA)

Astronomers know that most galaxies house supermassive black holes in their centers, from the largest galaxies down to small dwarfs. They also know that when supermassive black holes are actively feeding, they can slow or even stop the formation of stars in their home …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space & Physics, top posts
MORE ABOUT: black holes, galaxies

D-brief

Some Volcanoes Create Undersea Bubbles Up to a Quarter Mile Wide

By Meeri Kim | October 18, 2019 4:02 pm

A plume of steam flows upward from Bogoslof volcano, a partially submerged volcano that created giant underwater bubbles when it erupted in 2017. (Credit:
Dave Withrow, Alaska Volcano Observatory)

(Inside Science) — As a geophysicist at the Alaska Volcano Observatory, John Lyons spends much of his days trying to decipher the music of volcanic eruptions. Sensitive microphones scattered across the Aleutian Arc — a chain of over 80 volcanoes that sweeps westward from  …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Environment, top posts
MORE ABOUT: oceans

D-brief

Ancient Middle Eastern Astrologers Recorded the Oldest-Known Evidence of Auroras

By Erika K. Carlson | October 18, 2019 3:00 pm

(Credit: Y. Mitsuma’s tracing of the photographs of H. Hayakawa)

Astronomers have watched sunspots come and go on the sun’s surface for at least 400 years. But to learn about the history of the sun’s activity before the time of telescopes, they have to turn to historical references to phenomena linked to solar activity, like the northern lights. 

Now, a team of scientists have discovered what may be the oldest written records of auroras to date. These three Assyrian and Babylonia …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space & Physics, top posts
MORE ABOUT: physics, stars

The Crux

Why It's So Hard to Make a Better Baby Formula

By Alice Callahan, Knowable Magazine | October 18, 2019 2:56 pm

(Credit: Odua Images/Shutterstock)

Scan the aisles of any grocery store, and you’ll find a plethora of infant formula options, all designed to meet the nutrient needs of growing infants, who nearly triple their body weight in the first year of life. And yet researchers and companies are busy testing new formulations all the time.

That’s in part because much has changed in our understanding of breast milk’s complexities over the decades — from early knowledge of its nutrient compos …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Health & Medicine, Top Posts
MORE ABOUT: nutrition

The Crux

Adults Are Getting More Food Allergies. Scientists Still Aren't Sure Why

By Cody Cottier | October 17, 2019 4:06 pm

Food allergies, including those to seafood, are becoming more common. (Credit: Alexander Raths/Shutterstock)

All your life, you’ve delighted in the subtle, sweet taste of fresh shrimp. Until one day, when you bite into it and find yourself beset by itching hives and a swollen throat.

An unexpected food allergy seems to be a common experience for some adults in America, according to a recent study. Though the issue is often associated with children, researchers found that 1 in 10 grown-u …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Health & Medicine, Top Posts
MORE ABOUT: nutrition

D-brief

NASA Reveals New Spacesuits Designed to Fit Men and Women

By Hailey Rose McLaughlin | October 17, 2019 2:38 pm

These two new spacesuits will help the space agency put astronauts back on the surface of the Moon, enhance their mobility, and keep them safe along the way. (Credit: (NASA/Joel Kowsky)

NASA revealed two new spacesuits this week that may be worn
by astronauts on future missions to the Moon. The suits feature a number of
improvements from the Apollo era spacesuits used on the last Moon missions 50
years ago.

The two new suits were shown off by NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine during a  …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space & Physics, top posts
MORE ABOUT: space exploration

D-brief

From 440 to 25,000: One Humpback Whale Population's Amazing Recovery

By Leslie Nemo | October 17, 2019 2:08 pm

Humpback whale populations have recovered since whaling was banned, some from near extinction. (Credit: Tomas Kotouc/Shutterstock)

In the late 1950s, only 440 humpback whales — or 1.6 percent of their onetime number — were swimming around the southwestern Atlantic Ocean. Thanks to whaling restrictions, these school bus-sized aquatic mammals have started to come back.

Now, a new paper estimates that the western South Atlantic whales have recovered even better than scientists previousl …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World, top posts

D-brief

Gas Flows Like a 'Waterfall' Onto a Young Planet, Hinting at Where Atmospheres Come From

By Erika K. Carlson | October 17, 2019 1:14 pm

Gas “waterfalls” cascade onto a forming planet in this artist’s illustration. (Credit: NRAO/AUI/NSF, S. Dagnello)

Stars and their planetary systems are born from clouds of gas and dust that collapse into swirling disks. Astronomers can’t directly see planets forming in these disks because they’re hidden in all the debris. But in the past few years, new kinds of telescopes have started to reveal gaps in disks around young stars where planets might be forming. 

Now, astronomers have  …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space & Physics, top posts
MORE ABOUT: exoplanets

The Crux

Beta-amyloid and Tau: What Do These Proteins Have to do With Alzheimer's?

By Amber Jorgenson | October 17, 2019 11:50 am

Two common proteins begin to spread through the brains of those with Alzheimer’s. Despite decades of study, scientists still don’t understand why they become so dangerous. (Credit: SpeedKingz/Shutterstock)

If you look at the brain of an Alzheimer’s patient, you’ll
see clear and undeniable damage.

Clusters of dead nerve cells. Hard plaques cemented between
cells and thick tangles of proteins twisted up inside the cells themselves. 

These are the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s, an …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Mind & Brain, Top Posts

Dead Things

Collective Behavior: A 480-Million-Year-Old Conga Line

By Gemma Tarlach | October 17, 2019 10:00 am

Nearly half a billion years ago, trilobites may have been capable of some kinds of collective behavior associated with modern animals. (Credit: Vannier et al 2019, https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-51012-3)

Chains of trilobite fossils unearthed in Morocco suggest that these early arthropods were capable of a collective behavior seen in many of today’s species — only these trilobites had the conga line down about 480 million years ago.

Modern vertebrates and invertebrates alike eng …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World, top posts
MORE ABOUT: paleontology
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