‘Ghost’ Dwarf Galaxy Found Hiding at the Edge of the Milky Way

By Chelsea Gohd | November 13, 2018 4:35 pm
The Ant 2 "ghost" galaxy is a massive, dim dwarf galaxy that scientists have discovered near the edge of the Milky Way. While low in mass, Ant 2 is about the same size as the Large Magellan Cloud (LMC). (Credit: V. Belokurov and A. Smith (Cambridge, UK and CCA, New York, US) based on the images by Marcus and Gail Davies and Robert Gendler)

The Ant 2 “ghost” galaxy is a large, dim dwarf galaxy that scientists have discovered near the edge of the Milky Way. While low in mass, Ant 2 is about the same size as the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC). (Credit: V. Belokurov and A. Smith (Cambridge, UK and CCA, New York, US) based on the images by Marcus and Gail Davies and Robert Gendler)

An international team of astronomers can’t fully explain the “ghost” galaxy that they discovered about 130,000 light-years from the edge of the Milky Way.

Finding a Ghost

This galaxy, named Antlia 2 (or Ant 2), is described as a “ghost” because of how strangely dim it is. Ant 2 is rather large for a dwarf galaxy – it’s about the same size as the 7,000 light-year-wide Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), which is the Milky Way’s largest satellite galaxy. Yet it’s 10,000 times fainter than the LMC. So Ant 2 gives off very little light. The researchers also found that Ant 2 has an unexpectedly low mass for its large size, according to a statement.

The research team thinks that this low mass stems from Ant 2 being torn apart by the Milky Way’s gravitational field, co-author Sergey Koposov from Carnegie Mellon University said in the statement. “What remains unexplained, however, is the object’s giant size. Normally, as galaxies lose mass to the Milky Way’s tides, they shrink, not grow,” Koposov said.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space & Physics, top posts

Amazon Villagers Bring Giant Turtle Species Back From The Brink

By Roni Dengler | November 13, 2018 3:06 pm
giant south american river turtle

The giant South American river turtle stands on the banks of the Tabuleiro do Embaubal Wildlife Refuge in Brazil. (Credit: Tarcisio Schnaider/shutterstock)

A group of community members living in the Brazilian Amazon have created biodiversity hotspots by working to protect a single species, the giant South American river turtle. That’s according to a new study out Tuesday. The finding showcases the power of local conservation efforts, particularly in places that lack financial resources, the researchers say.

“Our research highlights the valuable conservation service currently provided by local communities, not just for turtles but for the wider ecosystem,” Joseph Hawes, an ecologist at Anglia Ruskin University in the United Kingdom and one of the study’s authors, said in a statement. “Recognizing the importance of their work shows the potential for effective conservation action, even outside existing formally protected areas.”
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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World, top posts

How Ants and Plants Forged A Lasting Partnership

By Nathaniel Scharping | November 13, 2018 2:40 pm
ant plant

A plant that evolved hollow thorns for ants to shelter in. In exchange, the ants defend the plant from attacks from other insects and mammals. (Credit: Field Museum, Corrie Moreau)

As alliances go, the one that exists between ants and plants is impressively robust. Symbiotic relationships exist between many species of flora and Formicidae fauna, and it’s evolved past simple you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours deals. Some plants have been living and working with ants for so long, and the partnership has been so beneficial, that they’ve actually grown special structures to variously feed or house species of helpful ants.

As the saying goes: A good friend will help you move, but a true friend will help you move a body. But what do we say about a friend who literally changes their body for you? Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World, top posts

SNAPSHOT: Researchers Put a Bat in a Wind Tunnel to Study its Flight

By Alison Mackey | November 13, 2018 1:49 pm
bat in wind tunnel

(Credit: Anders Hedenström)

This little bat is chasing snacks for science. And in the process, he’s teaching us more about aerodynamics. This guy is one of two brown long-eared bats (P. auritus) trained to fly in a wind tunnel by scientists at Sweden’s Lund University.

It turns out there’s still a lot we don’t know about bat flight, particularly when it comes to turning in midair. To investigate this, the research team created a unique experimental setup combining a wind tunnel, high speed cameras, and a mealworm attached a sliding device.
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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World, top posts
MORE ABOUT: animals

The Small Magellanic Cloud Is Running Out of Gas — Fast

By Alison Klesman | November 13, 2018 1:25 pm
Small Magellanic Cloud Hydrogen Gas

About 200,000 light-years from Earth, the SMC is a dwarf galaxy only about 7,000 light-years in diameter. This radio image shows hydrogen gas in the SMC, which is losing such gas at a higher rate than it is currently forming stars. (Credit: Naomi McClure-Griffiths et al, CSIRO’s ASKAP telescope)

Just as each successive smartphone companies release includes a higher-resolution camera for sharper, more detailed photos, each new instrument astronomers build reveals the universe in ever-finer detail. In this case, that new instrument is the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation’s (CSIRO) Australian Square Kilometer Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) array, containing 36 radio antennas whose data is combined into a single wide-field image of the sky. Researchers have now used the ASKAP array to image the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC), one of the Milky Way’s small satellite galaxies, in three times more detail than ever before. The new view has allowed them to see that the tiny galaxy is quickly losing hydrogen — and with it, its ability to form new stars.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space & Physics, top posts
MORE ABOUT: solar system

WHO Report Finds Large Gap In Global Antibiotic Use

By Roni Dengler | November 12, 2018 5:39 pm
antibiotic usage like Amoxicillin

The richest countries use as much as 16 times more antibiotics, like Amoxicillin, than poor countries. (Credit: PureRadiancePhoto)

The World Health Organization (WHO) released a new report Monday that finds large disparities in antibiotic consumption worldwide. Consumption rates documented in the report vary by as much as 16 times between countries. The discovery suggests some countries are likely overprescribing whereas others may not have appropriate access to the medicines.

“Overuse and misuse of antibiotics are the leading causes of antimicrobial resistance,” Suzanne Hill, Director of the Department of Essential Medicines and Health Products at WHO, said in a statement. “Without effective antibiotics and other antimicrobials, we will lose our ability to treat common infections like pneumonia.”

Stepping Up Surveillance

Since 2016, WHO has helped countries track their antibiotic consumption. Such surveillance can monitor how and why the medicines are being used, which can then facilitate campaigns to contain resistance to the drugs. But little is known about antibiotic use in low-income countries.

For the new report, countries submitted data from import and production records, insurance and reimbursement records, physician prescription records and dispensing data from pharmacies. WHO validated submissions and used estimates of the aggregated data as a proxy for antibiotic use.
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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Health & Medicine, top posts
MORE ABOUT: Vaccines & drugs

A ‘Dark Matter Hurricane’ is Storming Past Earth. It Could Help Scientists Detect the Strange Substance

By Chelsea Gohd | November 12, 2018 4:44 pm
Milky Way collides with another galaxy

The Milky Way is shown on a collision course with a smaller galaxy in this simulation. (Credit: Koppelman, Villalobos; Helmi, Kapteyn Astronomical Institute, University of Groningen, The Netherlands)

There’s a “dark matter hurricane” blowing through our corner of the Milky Way galaxy. Right this second, it’s passing over Earth. And this fast-moving stream could reveal major details about dark matter, a new study finds.

The dark matter is traveling in what is known as the S1 stream. Scientists think that streams like this one are the cosmic debris leftover when small galaxies stray too close to the Milky Way. Our gravitational forces tear the smaller galaxy apart, leaving behind a traveling, elliptical stream of stars, dark matter and other debris.

Dark Matter Hurricane

Dark matter is an elusive material that scientists think, if the Standard Model is correct, exists in large quantities throughout space. Scientists still don’t know what dark matter actually is — there are a number of leading theories, but no one knows for sure. But the S1 stream is predicted to be blowing dark matter past us at about 310 miles per second (500 km/s) right this moment, and that could provide an opportunity for detection.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space & Physics, top posts

ISS Dust Experiment Could Hint at How Tiny Grains Help Shape the Cosmos

By Jake Parks | November 12, 2018 1:11 pm
ISS experiment

As part of the PK-4 experiment, tiny spherical particles are suspended in a low-temperature plasma (purple) so researchers can monitor have they behave in a charged microgravity environment. (Credit:
Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics/M. Kretschmer)

Dust is omnipresent throughout homes and offices around the world. But now, scientists are intentionally bringing the mildly inconvenient nuisance all the way up to the International Space Station to study how dust grains arrange themselves in a microgravity environment.

As part of the Plasma Kristall-4 (PK-4) experimenthttps://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-11/aps-uo110218.php — a joint collaboration between the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos), with additional involvement from a number of U.S. research groups — scientists are studying how tiny, spherical particles about one-tenth the width of a human hair interact with one another when they become electrically charged within a low-temperature plasma.

On Earth, experiments show electrically charged dust particles usually line up either parallel or perpendicular to the downward pull of gravity; however, they do so rather haphazardly, as the grains tend to bounce randomly off one another.
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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space & Physics, top posts
MORE ABOUT: solar system

Not Just the Flu: Chickenpox, Measles and Polio Are Also Seasonal

By Claire Cleveland | November 12, 2018 1:10 pm
Flu Season Autumn

A researcher makes the case that all infectious diseases are seasonal. (Credit: Dirima/Shutterstock.com)

(Inside Science) — During the height of the polio epidemic in the U.S. in the 1940s and ’50s, parents often kept their children away from swimming pools, concerned that the disease, which peaked in the summer, was frequently spread through the water. But this fear couldn’t account for the summertime outbreaks around the world where public pools were not as common.

Then in 2001, Scott Dowell, a researcher from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, published a paper hypothesizing that humans’ susceptibility to the polio virus could be related to seasonal physiological changes, such as the seasonal variations in hormone secretions caused by changing sunlight patterns. The paper got Micaela Martinez, an infectious disease ecologist at Columbia University in New York, thinking: Maybe all acute infectious diseases are seasonal.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Health & Medicine, top posts

New Air-Conditioner Absorbs Solar Energy and Blasts Radiation Into Space

By Chelsea Gohd | November 9, 2018 5:00 pm
This device works to both heat and cool the area around it without fossil fuels. (Credit: Linda Cicero, Stanford News)

This new, developing device works to both heat and cool the area around it without fossil fuels. (Credit: Linda Cicero, Stanford News)

As people search for solutions to the climate change crisis on Earth, scientists are working to create renewable energy sources as alternatives to fossil fuels. Now, scientists at Stanford University hope to offer a new solution as they are developing a single device that collects solar energy and shoots radiation out into space – acting as both a heater and air conditioner.

Collecting the sun’s energy via solar power has been a leading alternative energy source for many years. But this new work suggests that devices could both collect solar energy could and also use what is described as “space energy,” which isn’t really a source of energy, but rather a heat sink.

Alternative Cooling

Objects emit heat as infrared radiation (a type of light we can’t see). This radiation is mostly reflected back to Earth by reflective particles in the atmosphere. But some of it can escape into space. But this new technology, known as “radiative cooling,” capitalizes on this process and uses infrared light to cool its surrounding area, essentially allowing for fossil fuel-free air conditioning.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space & Physics, top posts
MORE ABOUT: solar system
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