Science Photo of the Week

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Offline neilep

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Brightest supernova in a decade captured by Hubble
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA-BERKELEY NEWS RELEASE

A University of California, Berkeley, astronomer has turned the NASA Hubble Space Telescope on the brightest and nearest supernova of the past decade, capturing a massive stellar explosion blazing with the light of 200 million suns.




The explosion of a massive star blazes with the light of 200 million Suns in this NASA Hubble Space Telescope image. The arrow at top right points to the stellar blast, called a supernova. Credit: NASA, ESA, A.V. Filippenko (University of California, Berkeley), P. Challis (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics), et al.
The supernova, called SN 2004dj, is so bright in the Hubble image that it easily could be mistaken for a foreground star in our Milky Way Galaxy. Yet it lies 11 million light-years from Earth in the outskirts of a galaxy called NGC 2403, nestled in a cluster of mostly massive bright blue stars only 14 million years old.

Source:SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM

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UK moths reveal 35-year decline
By Alex Kirby
BBC News Online environment correspondent  


British moths are in serious trouble, possibly because of changing climate, a scientist will reveal later this week.
Dr Kelvin Conrad of Rothamsted Research will tell the British Association's annual meeting in Exeter that about two-thirds of UK moths are declining.
He says about a fifth of all British moths are losing numbers sharply enough to cause conservationists concern.

Moths are seen as a good indicator of the general health of the environment, because they occupy most habitats.

Rothamsted Research, north of London, is the UK's largest agricultural research centre.

Dr Conrad will be presenting data from a 35-year study of moths caught in Rothamsted's nationwide network of light traps to the BA Festival of Science on 9 September.





 

The hedge rustic: Two-thirds of UK moths show some decline



Scarce footman: Some species are doing better



The moth decline mirrors that of UK butterflies

SOURCE: BBC NEWS  http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/3625296.stm




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Solar capsule crashes into Earth
A capsule from the Genesis probe, which has been gathering particles blown off the Sun, has crashed back to Earth.

The capsule entered the atmosphere as planned at 1554GMT (1654BST) but its drogue parachute failed to open.

Hollywood stunt pilots had been waiting to catch the capsule in midair to give its cargo a special soft landing.

The particles of solar wind in the capsule were being sought by scientists to help them understand the origin and evolution of the Sun and the planets.




The Genesis capsule will be recovered




The capsule was seen to tumble to Earth



SOURCE:BBC.CO.UK/NEWS    here  is the link to the whole story , which also includes a link to a video of the crash but at this time of posting the videolink did not seem to work !!http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/3638926.stm


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Dying star creates fantasy-like sculpture of gas and dust
SPACE TELESCOPE SCIENCE INSTITUTE NEWS RELEASE

In this detailed view from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, the so-called Cat's Eye Nebula looks like the penetrating eye of the disembodied sorcerer Sauron from the film adaptation of "The Lord of the Rings."





Credit: NASA, ESA, HEIC, and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

The nebula, formally cataloged NGC 6543, is every bit as inscrutable as the J.R.R. Tolkien phantom character. Though the Cat's Eye Nebula was one of the first planetary nebula to be discovered, it is one of the most complex such nebulae seen in space. A planetary nebula forms when Sun-like stars gently eject their outer gaseous layers that form bright nebulae with amazing and confounding shapes.
As if the Cat's Eye itself isn't spectacular enough, this new image taken with Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) reveals the full beauty of a bull's eye pattern of eleven or even more concentric rings, or shells, around the Cat's Eye. Each 'ring' is actually the edge of a spherical bubble seen projected onto the sky -- that's why it appears bright along its outer edge.

Observations suggest the star ejected its mass in a series of pulses at 1,500-year intervals. These convulsions created dust shells, each of which contain as much mass as all of the planets in our solar system combined (still only one percent of the Sun's mass). These concentric shells make a layered, onion-skin structure around the dying star. The view from Hubble is like seeing an onion cut in half, where each skin layer is discernible.


SOURCE: Spaceflightnow.com

Guess we won't be looking for life around that star !!..but, phew !!..that's an incredible picture....here's the link for the much bigger version  (484k)http://imgsrc.hubblesite.org/hu/db/2004/27/images/a/formats/print.jpg

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« Last Edit: 13/09/2004 01:33:56 by neilep »
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Offline OmnipotentOne

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Umm I think this is relevant.  Back in May like many know we have a overpopulation of cicadas Known as brude X.  My house was covered in them and you could hear there low buzzing noise everywhere, protruding wheve ever you went.  Heres some pictures of what it looked like when they died...



There were so many dead it killed the grass, and it stank for weeks[xx(]

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Offline gsmollin

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What part of the country was this? In southeastern PA we had no unusual Cicada activity.
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Dark matter 'superstructure' revealed by Chandra
CHANDRA X-RAY CENTER NEWS RELEASE

A nearby galaxy cluster is facing an intergalactic headwind as it is pulled by an underlying superstructure of dark matter, according to new evidence from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory. Astronomers think that most of the matter in the universe is concentrated in long large filaments of dark matter and that galaxy clusters are formed where these filaments intersect.





A Chandra mosaic of images of the Fornax galaxy cluster reveals that the vast cloud of ten-million-degree Celsius gas surrounding the cluster core has a swept-back cometary shape that extends for more than half a million light years. This geometry suggests that the hot gas cloud is moving through a larger, but less dense cloud of gas, creating a ram pressure, or intergalactic headwind. Credit: NASA/CXC/Columbia U./C.Scharf et al.

Source: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM

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Falling into Place: Atom mist yields nanobricks and mortar

Nanotechnologists envision using tiny structures to create ultrastrong materials and to build memory chips that store entire libraries. But these visions require making matter behave in exceptionally orderly ways.




NEAT TRICK. Orderly arrays of nanodots are spawning new materials and light-emitting devices. Only 7 nanometers across, these nickel dots occupy an aluminum-oxide matrix.
Narayan and Tiwari


Now, materials scientists Jagdish Narayan and Ashutosh Tiwari of North Carolina State University (NCSU) in Raleigh have induced tiny particles, or nanodots, of nickel to spontaneously assemble into exceptionally uniform, three-dimensional arrays of macroscopic size.


With this method, they've also created blends of copper nanodots and tin that they say are harder than steel. The company Kopin in Taunton, Mass., is already applying the technique to semiconductors that they use to manufacture unusually efficient light-emitting diodes.

Narayan and Tiwari describe their work in the September Journal of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology.


SOURCE: SCIENCENEWS.ORG





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« Last Edit: 15/09/2004 22:14:36 by neilep »
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Galactic contortionists captured in amazing image
GEMINI OBSERVATORY NEWS RELEASE


A stunning image released by the Gemini Observatory captures the graceful interactions of a galactic ballet, on a stage some 300 million light years away, that might better be described as a contortionist's dance.



Stephan's Quintet as imaged by the Gemini Observatory using the Multi-Object Spectrograph on Gemini North.  The interacting members of the cluster are almost 300 million light years away.  The galaxy NGC 7320 (top-center) is thought by most astronomers to be in the foreground (about 8-times closer) and is distinguished in this image by multiple red blobs indicating hydrogen clouds where stars are forming. Credit: Gemini Observatory Image/Travis Rector, University of Alaska Anchorage

The galaxies, members of a famous troupe called Stephan's Quintet, are literally tearing each other apart. Their shapes are warped by gravitational interactions occurring over millions of years. Sweeping arches of gas and dust trace the interactions and possible ghost-like passage of the galaxies through one another. The ongoing dance deformed their structures while spawning a prolific fireworks display of star formation fueled by clouds of hydrogen gas that were shocked into clumps to form stellar nurseries.


SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM

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Huygens test successful
EUROPEAN SPACE AGENCY NEWS RELEASE

ESA's Huygens probe, now orbiting Saturn on board the NASA/ESA/ASI Cassini spacecraft, is in good health and successfully passed its fifteenth 'In-Flight Checkout' on 14 September 2004.




An artist's concept shows Huygens parachuting to Titan after deployment from the Cassini orbiter. Credit: EADS Astrium
 

This in-flight checkout procedure was the last but one planned before separation of the Huygens probe from Cassini in December this year, and it included some specific activities that were intended to prepare for the separation. The main difference in this procedure from previous checkouts was that there was a test of the Master Timer Unit (MTU).
The MTU is the 'triple-redundant' alarm-clock that has the most important job of waking up Huygens a few hours before its entry into Titan's atmosphere

Source: Spaceflightnow.com

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Green, Leafy Spinach May Soon Power More Than Popeye’s Biceps
For the first time, MIT researchers have incorporated a plant’s ability to convert sunlight to energy into a solid-state electronic “spinach sandwich” device that may one day power laptops and cell phones.

At the heart of the device is a protein complex dubbed Photosystem I (PSI). Derived from spinach chloroplasts, PSI is 10 to 20 nanometers wide. Around 100,000 of them would fit on the head of a pin. “They are the smallest electronic circuits I know of,” said researcher Marc A. Baldo, assistant professor of electronic engineering and computer science at MIT.

 protein complex named Photosystem I, which is derived from spinach chloroplasts, functions as an extremely small electronic circuit. About 100,000 of them would fit on the head of a pin. (Image courtesy of Massachusetts Institute Of Technology

SOURCE:SCIENCEDAILY.COM
Original Source: MIT


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Massive merger of galaxies is most powerful on record
NASA NEWS RELEASE

An international team of scientists, led by a NASA-funded researcher, announced today, they observed a nearby head-on collision of two galaxy clusters. The clusters smashed together thousands of galaxies and trillions of stars. It is one of the most powerful events ever witnessed. Such collisions are second only to the Big Bang in total energy output.



This artist's concept shows what the scientists are calling the perfect cosmic storm: galaxy clusters that collided like two high-pressure weather fronts and created hurricane-like conditions, tossing galaxies far from their paths and churning shock waves of 100-million-degree gas through intergalactic space. Credit: NASA

SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM


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Big Gulp? Neck ribs may have given aquatic beast unique feeding style

The fossilized neck bones of a 230-million-year-old sea creature have features suggesting that the animal's snakelike throat could flare open and create suction that would pull in prey. Such a feeding strategy has never before been proposed for an ancient aquatic reptile.




THAT'S A STRETCH. Features of the fossilized neck bones of Dinocephalosaurus suggest that the creature, at least 3 meters long, captured its prey by creating water suction as it struck.
C. Cain/AAAS, Science


SOURCE: SCIENCENEWS.ORG

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Mars orbiter sees rover, lander and even wheel tracks
NASA/JPL NEWS RELEASE
 

NASA's Mars Global Surveyor, starting its third mission extension this week after seven years of orbiting Mars, is using an innovative technique to capture pictures even sharper than most of the more than 170,000 it has already produced.




Wheel tracks left by NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit, and even the rover itself, are visible in this image from the Mars Orbiter Camera on NASA's Mars Global Surveyor orbiter. Credit: NASA/JPL/MSSS
Download a larger image version here: http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/figures/PIA06879_fig1.jpg


One dramatic example from the spacecraft's Mars Orbiter Camera shows wheel tracks of NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit and the rover itself. Another tells scientists that no boulders bigger than about 1 to 2 meters (3 to 7 feet) are exposed in giant ripples created by a catastrophic flood.

Source: Spaceflightnow.com



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Medieval surgeons were advanced
Surgeons were carrying out complicated skull operations in medieval times, the remains of a body found at an archaeological dig show.
A skull belonging to a 40-year-old peasant man, who lived between 960 and 1100AD, is the firmest evidence yet of cranial surgery, say its discoverers.



The peasant's skull had been operated on

The remains, found in Yorkshire, show the man survived an otherwise fatal blow to the head thanks to surgery.

Nearly 700 skeletons were unearthed by English Heritage at a site near Malton.


SOURCE: BBC



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Unraveling a 400-year-old supernova mystery
NASA NEWS RELEASE


Four hundred years ago, sky watchers, including the famous astronomer Johannes Kepler, best known as the discoverer of the laws of planetary motion, were startled by the sudden appearance of a "new star" in the western sky, rivaling the brilliance of the nearby planets.

 


NASA's three Great Observatories ‹ the Hubble Space Telescope, the Spitzer Space Telescope, and the Chandra X-ray Observatory - joined forces to probe the expanding remains of a supernova, called Kepler's supernova remnant, first seen 400 years ago by sky watchers, including famous astronomer Johannes Kepler. Credit: NASA, ESA, R. Sankrit and W. Blair (Johns Hopkins University)
Download larger image version here
http://imgsrc.hubblesite.org/hu/db/2004/29/images/a/formats/print.jpg

Modern astronomers, using NASA's three orbiting Great Observatories, are unraveling the mysteries of the expanding remains of Kepler's supernova, the last such object seen to explode in our Milky Way galaxy.

When a new star appeared Oct. 9, 1604, observers could use only their eyes to study it. The telescope would not be invented for another four years. A team of modern astronomers has the combined abilities of NASA's Great Observatories, the Spitzer Space Telescope, Hubble Space Telescope and Chandra X-ray Observatory, to analyze the remains in infrared radiation, visible light, and X-rays. Ravi Sankrit and William Blair of the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore lead the team.

The combined image unveils a bubble-shaped shroud of gas and dust, 14 light-years wide and expanding at 6 million kilometers per hour (4 million mph). Observations from each telescope highlight distinct features of the supernova, a fast-moving shell of iron-rich material, surrounded by an expanding shock wave sweeping up interstellar gas and dust.



These images represent views of Kepler's supernova remnant taken in X-rays, visible light, and infrared radiation. Each top panel shows the entire remnant. Each color in this image represents a different region of the electromagnetic spectrum, from X-rays to infrared light. The X-ray and infrared data cannot be seen with the human eye. Astronomers have color-coded those data so they can be seen in these images. The bottom panels are close-up views of the remnant. Credit: NASA, ESA, R. Sankrit and W. Blair (Johns Hopkins University)Download larger image version http://imgsrc.hubblesite.org/hu/db/2004/29/images/g/formats/web_print.jpg

The explosion of a star is a catastrophic event. The blast rips the star apart and unleashes a roughly spherical shock wave that expands outward at more than 35 million kilometers per hour (22 million mph) like an interstellar tsunami. The shock wave spreads out into surrounding space, sweeping up any tenuous interstellar gas and dust into an expanding shell. The stellar ejecta from the explosion initially trail behind the shock wave. It eventually catches up with the inner edge of the shell and is heated to X-ray temperatures.

SOUCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM
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« Last Edit: 08/10/2004 15:30:33 by neilep »
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What is it? Mystery object discovered by astronomersNATIONAL OPTICAL ASTRONOMY OBSERVATORY NEWS RELEASE


Astronomers using the Gemini North and Keck II telescopes have peered inside a violent binary star system to find that one of the interacting stars has lost so much mass to its partner that it has regressed to a strange, inert body resembling no known star type.



A close-up view of the EF Eridanus system as it might appear today given that most of the radiation emitted by the system is in the infrared part of the specrum and not visible to the human eye. Credit: Gemini Observatory/Jon Lomberg
 
Unable to sustain nuclear fusion at its core and doomed to orbit with its much more energetic white dwarf partner for millions of years, the dead star is essentially a new, indeterminate type of stellar object.


SOURCE: Spaceflightnow.com



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Discovery of the oldest remains of a woman who died in childbirth
3,000 years ago.





A woman of the Argaric culture went into a difficult labour with a badly positioned foetus. The outcome was fatal: the woman and her child died. The remains of the grave were found at the "El cerro de las Viñas" site in 1996. Now a team of anthropologists from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona have established that these are the oldest remains of this type to have been described by scientists.

SOURCE: EUREKALERT.ORG

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quote:
Originally posted by neilep

What is it? Mystery object discovered by astronomersNATIONAL OPTICAL ASTRONOMY OBSERVATORY NEWS RELEASE


Astronomers using the Gemini North and Keck II telescopes have peered inside a violent binary star system to find that one of the interacting stars has lost so much mass to its partner that it has regressed to a strange, inert body resembling no known star type.



A close-up view of the EF Eridanus system as it might appear today given that most of the radiation emitted by the system is in the infrared part of the specrum and not visible to the human eye. Credit: Gemini Observatory/Jon Lomberg
 
Unable to sustain nuclear fusion at its core and doomed to orbit with its much more energetic white dwarf partner for millions of years, the dead star is essentially a new, indeterminate type of stellar object.


SOURCE: Spaceflightnow.com



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I thought this was called a "brown dwarf", and can be very numerous. Most are thought to form from nebulae that are simply not massive enough to produce a star. This method, loss through a Roche radius to a more massive partner, may be more common than we think. There could be another twist. If the star losses enough mass to its binary partner so that the white dwarf exceeds the Chandesakar limit, the white dwarf will supernova, and the blast could blow away enough of the less massive star to leave a brown dwarf behind.
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Offline gsmollin

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Well that sucked. It didn't post my thoughtful reply. Well, anyway, this is what I wrote:

I think this is called a "brown dwarf" because it is a failed star that radiates gravitational binding energy in the infrared. Most are thought to form in nebula simply not massive enough to form a star. This could be a second way. I can think of a third. If the star losses enough mass through its Roche radius to the white dwarf companion, the white dwarf can exceed the Chandrasakar limit and supernova. The blast could blow away enough stellar mass to produce a brown dwarf, orbiting a neutron star.
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Photo gallery: Soyuz rocket rolls to the launch pad






The Soyuz rocket to launch the Expedition 10 crew to the International Space Station is rolled from its assembly building to the Baikonur Cosmodrome pad. Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

Source: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM



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Astronomers discover planet building is big messNASA NEWS RELEASE
Planets are built over a long period of massive collisions between rocky bodies as big as mountain ranges, astronomers announced today.

New observations from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope reveal surprisingly large dust clouds around several stars. These clouds most likely flared up when rocky, embryonic planets smashed together. The Earth's own moon may have formed from such a catastrophe. Prior to these new results, astronomers thought planets were formed under less chaotic circumstances.




This animation illustrates a massive collision between rocky, embryonic planets as big as mountain ranges. Such collisions form the basis of the planet-building process. New findings from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope show that these catastrophes continue to occur around stars even after they have developed full-sized planets, when they are as old as one hundred million years. For reference, our own Sun, at 4.5 billion years old, is far past this late stage of planet formation. Credit: NASA/JPL

SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM

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Science salutes its ocean giant

All great careers come to an end and the deep-sea manned submersible Alvin goes into retirement after 40 years of remarkable work in the world's oceans.
The sub has taken 12,000 people on over 4,000 dives, to observe the lifeforms that must cope with super-pressures and move about in total darkness.

It is said Alvin research has featured in nearly 2,000 scientific papers.

It helped confirm the theory of plate tectonics and continental drift, and discovered hydrothermal vents.


SOURCE: By Virginia Phillips
BBC Science



Come on people post your science piccys here...and remember to CREDIT the source

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Graphite in Flatland: Carbon sheets may rival nanotubes

Anyone who has written with a pencil may have unwittingly made a few traces of a promising new nanomaterial. Among the thick smears of graphite deposited when a pencil rubs along paper are probably some carbon films only a few atoms thick, says physicist Andre K. Geim of the University of Manchester in England.

In laboratory experiments, he and his colleagues at Manchester and in Russia have now created freestanding carbon films as thin as one atom. The researchers call the surprising material "few-layer graphene."

In the Oct. 22 Science, the team also reports that it formed the material into a novel prototype transistor that's expected to produce less heat than a conventional transistor does.

"I find this one of the most interesting discoveries that has emerged in condensed-matter physics in the last decade," comments Laurence Eaves of the University of Nottingham in England.

These new findings are "truly outstanding" and "bear huge significance in this field" of carbon nanostructures, adds Philip Kim of Columbia University, who says he has made slightly thicker carbon layers with similar properties




WHAT FLAKES. A 1-atom-thick flake of graphene has settled onto a silicon dioxide surface (burnt-orange background in above image). In some regions, it folds back on itself like fabric (lightest orange). Atomic-force-microscope image represents a field 10 micrometers wide.
K. Novoselov, et al./Science



A gauzy patch of atom-thick graphene 200 nanometers long connects two electrodes (gold

SOURCE: SCIENCENEWS.ORG

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Eyes on Xanadu
CASSINI PHOTO RELEASE

 
Eyes on Xanadu
CASSINI PHOTO RELEASE
Posted: October 25, 2004

This image taken on Oct. 24, 2004, reveals Titan's bright "continent-sized" terrain known as Xanadu. It was acquired with the narrow angle camera on Cassini's imaging science subsystem through a spectral filter centered at 938 nanometers, a wavelength region at which Titan's surface can be most easily detected. The surface is seen at a higher contrast than in previously released imaging science subsystem images due to a lower phase angle (Sun-Titan-Cassini angle), which minimizes scattering by the haze
 



The image shows details about 10 times smaller than those seen from Earth. Surface materials with different brightness properties (or albedos) rather than topographic shading are highlighted. The image has been calibrated and slightly enhanced for contrast. It will be further processed to reduce atmospheric blurring and to optimize mapping of surface features. The origin and geography of Xanadu remain mysteries at this range. Bright features near the south pole (bottom) are clouds. On Oct. 26, Cassini will acquire images of features in the central-left portion of this image from a position about 100 times closer.

SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM


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Cassini radar shows diversity on Saturn's moon Titan
CASSINI PHOTO RELEASE

This radar image of the surface of Saturn's moon Titan was acquired on October 26, 2004, when the Cassini spacecraft flew approximately 1,200 kilometers (745 miles) above the surface and acquired radar data for the first time. It reveals a complex geologic surface thought to be composed of icy materials and hydrocarbons.

A wide variety of geologic terrain types can be seen on the image; brighter areas may correspond to rougher terrains and darker areas are thought to be smoother. A large dark circular feature is seen at the western (left) end of the image, but very few features resembling fresh impact craters are seen. This suggests that the surface is relatively young. Enigmatic sinuous bright linear features are visible, mainly cutting across dark areas.

 




The image is about 150 kilometers (93 miles) wide and 250 kilometers (155 miles) long, and is centered at 50 N, 82 W in the northern hemisphere of Titan, over a region that has not yet been imaged optically. The smallest details seen on the image are about 300 meters (186 miles) across.


WELL BIG IMAGE HERE !!http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/jpeg/PIA06988.jpg

SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM


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Evolutionary Shrinkage:
Stone Age Homo find offers small surprise

Big evolutionary insights sometimes come in little packages. Witness the startling discovery, in a cave on the eastern Indonesian island of Flores, of the partial skeleton of a half-size Homo species that lived there at the same time that ancient Homo sapiens inhabited nearby regions.





LITTLE BIG FIND. The newly discovered Homo floresiensis skull (left) comes up short next to a Homo sapiens skull (right).

The new species, dubbed Homo floresiensis, reached the island at least 38,000 years ago and lived there until it died out near the end of the Stone Age, roughly 20,000 years later, conclude the authors of two papers in the Oct. 28 Nature. The researchers say that the Flores find represents an adult, probably a female, who stood about 3 feet, 3 inches tall (1 meter) and weighed approximately 35 pounds (16 kilograms).

This individual's brain was only about as large as those of australopithecines, which were apelike members of the human evolutionary family that preceded Homo.


SOURCE: SCIENCENEWS.ORG

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Pit chains hint at recent marsquakes on red planet
SOUTHWEST RESEARCH INSTITUTE NEWS RELEASE




Strings of depressions dotting the Martian landscape indicate that seismic activity - marsquakes - may still be reshaping the surface of the planet, according to Dr. David Ferrill of Southwest Research Institute in a paper published in GSA Today. These pit chains occur along dilational faults, partially filled or open cavities that served as conduits for past groundwater flow.

"These faults could now serve as reservoirs for water or ice, making these locations of potentially great interest to the scientific community searching for signs of life on Mars," said Ferrill, a senior program manager at SwRI.

SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM

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Who laid the first egg?
Scientists move a step closer to linking embryos of earth's first animals to adult form
Public Release: 1-Nov-2004


Blacksburg, Va. – In 1998, Shuhai Xiao and colleagues reported finding thousands of 600 million year old embryo microfossils in the Neoproterozoic Doushantuo Formation, a fossil site near Weng'an, South China, (Xiao, S., Zhang, Y., and Knoll, A.H., 1998, "Three-dimensional preservation of algae and animal embryos in a Neoproterozoic phosphorite," Nature, v. 391). Within the egg cases they examined at that time, they discovered animals in the first stages of development – from a single cell to only a few dozen cells. "The cellular preservation is amazing," says Xiao, assistant professor of geosciences at Virginia Tech.



Animal embryos




But what kind of adult would these ancient embryos have hatched into?

In 2000, Xiao's team reported the discovery of a coral-like animal that might be a candidate for parenthood (Xiao, S., Yuan, X., and Knoll, A.H., 2000, "Eumetazoan fossils in terminal Proterozoic phosphorites?" Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA, v. 97). "It was tubular, not spherical. But in some of the best specimens, we could see that the tube branches and has cross-walls," Xiao said. "But can it be linked to the embryos?"

Upon examination of more embryos collected from the original site, Xiao's research team has discovered some embryos that may be at the hatching stage. He will report on this latest finding at the Geological Society of America meeting in Denver Nov. 7-10.

"Looking now at these egg cases, we can see clockwise spiral grooves, as if a knife sliced the egg open," Xiao said. "The embryo was beginning to hatch. When we removed the egg case, we found that the post blastula but pre-hatching embryo at this stage is beginning to transform into a spiral animal. Each such animal had three clockwise spires. After hatching, the spiral organism began to uncoil slightly," Xiao said.

"They look as if they can unwind to a tube structure. We are looking for more evidence, but if that is true, it might link the embryo fossils to the tubular coral-like animal."

The researchers will slice open a hatched embryo specimen that appears to be unwinding to see if it has cross-walls. "That would indicate it is related to the tubes," Xiao said.

"These organisms lived 600 million years ago – before big animals. This the very first moment of animal evolution preserved in the fossil record."




Branched tubular fossils preserved in Doushantuo phosphorites

SOURCE: eurekalert.org



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Laser technology helps track changes in Mount St. Helens

NASA NEWS RELEASE

U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and NASA scientists studying Mount St. Helens are using high-tech Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) technology to analyze changes in the surface elevation of the crater, which began deforming in late September 2004.


 

Elevation differences in the crater were found between two airborne LIDAR surveys conducted in September 2003 and October 4, 2004. The image is a computer-generated representation of the October 4 topography. The superimposed colors indicate areas of change: areas where elevation has lowered between 0.5 to 30 meters (blue); areas where elevation has increased between 1.5 to 40 m, 40 m to 80 m, and 80 m to 120 m are green, yellow, and orange, respectively.  Credit: USGS and NASA

With data derived from airborne LIDAR, scientists can accurately map, often in exquisite detail, the dimensions of the uplift and create better models to forecast volcanic hazards. LIDAR shows, in the two weeks before Oct. 4, the new uplift grew to the height of a 35-story building (110 meters or 360 feet) and the area of 29 football fields (130,000 square meters).

SOURCE:spaceflightnow.com

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Hubble spots rare triple eclipse on Jupiter


SPACE TELESCOPE SCIENCE INSTITUTE NEWS RELEASE
At first glance, Jupiter looks like it has a mild case of the measles. Five spots -- one colored white, one blue, and three black -- are scattered across the upper half of the planet. Closer inspection by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope reveals that these spots are actually a rare alignment of three of Jupiter's largest moons -- Io, Ganymede, and Callisto -- across the planet's face.


 

In this image, the telltale signatures of this alignment are the shadows [the three black circles] cast by the moons. Io's shadow is located just above center and to the left; Ganymede's on the planet's left edge; and Callisto's near the right edge. Only two of the moons, however, are visible in this image. Io is the white circle in the center of the image, and Ganymede is the blue circle at upper right. Callisto is out of the image and to the right.


This illustration plots the positions of Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto on March 28, 2004, when the Hubble Space Telescope made the observations of the triple eclipse on Jupiter. The graphic shows the shadows cast on Jupiter by Io, Ganymede, and Callisto. Credit: NASA, ESA, A. Feild and C. Klicka (STScI
In this image, the moons and shadows that crossed Jupiter's face are labeled. The Hubble Space Telescope captured the rare triple eclipse on March 28, 2004. Credit: NASA, ESA, E. Karkoschka (University of Arizona) and Z. Levay (STScI)

SOURCE:SPACEFLIGHT.COM


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Hide and See
Conflicting views of reef-fish colors
Susan Milius

A lot of things can be said about a shirt that sports images of coral-reef fish, but "subtly colored" isn't one of them. Oddly enough, that characterization does get used when biologists talk about the reef creatures. Although the fish may dazzle the human eye with scarlet, rose, yellow, turquoise, emerald, and dozens of other shades, some theorists have proposed that, in the complexity of a reef, the riot of fish colors serves as camouflage.




POPULAR HUES. Calculations based on fish vision suggest that from a distance yellows blend in with a generic reef background, and the blues fade into vistas of water. A fish among branching corals would be hidden like a soldier wearing camouflage.


COLOR TILES. Close-ups of fish skin reveal the abundance of dramatic colors that has inspired theorists for more than a century, though plenty of their ideas about the evolutionary forces behind the colors haven't held up.
Marshall


SOURCE:www.sciencenews.org

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Radar image shows Titan's surface live and in colorCASSINI PHOTO RELEASE
Posted: November 6, 2004

Saturn's moon Titan shows a sharp contrast between its smooth and rough edges in a new false-color radar image.

Titan's surface lies beneath a thick coat of hazy clouds, but Cassini's radar instrument can peer through to show finer surface features. Scientists have added color to emphasize finer details on Titan, as shown in the image.

To provide a better perspective of the surface features, the color image is shown next to a black-and-white image that was previously released.





The area shown is in the northern hemisphere of Titan and is about 150 kilometers (93 miles) wide by 300 kilometers (186 miles) long. The image is a part of a larger strip created from data taken on Oct. 26, 2004, when the Cassini spacecraft flew approximately 1,200 kilometers (745 miles) above Titan's surface.

WELL BIG version of piccy here http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/jpeg/PIA06992.jpg

SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM

What's YOUR favourite source ?...I love Toffee and maple Syrup and praline.....*sigh*....I'm sooooooooooo alone on this thread aren't I ?



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This is one of my favourite threads, Neil. Look at how many views there's been. Keep up the good work.
 

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*sigh*...thanks Roberth....you're a star and I'll continue the work....

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Cassini sees objects, density waves in Saturn's rings
UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO-BOULDER NEWS RELEASE

A University of Colorado at Boulder-built instrument riding on the Cassini-Huygens spacecraft is being used to resolve objects in Saturn's rings smaller than a football field, making them twice as sharp as any previous ring observations.






This false color image of two density waves in Saturn's A ring was made from the stellar occultation
 observed by Cassini's ultraviolet imaging spectrograph. Bright areas indicate the denser regions of the rings.
 The bright bands in the left part of the image are the "peaks" of a density wave caused by gravitational stirring of
the rings by Saturn's moon, Janus. A smaller density wave in the right half of the image is produced by the moon Pandora.
 The ultraviolet imaging spectrograph observed the brightness of the star Xi Ceti as the rings passed in front of it, and the
flickering of the starlight was converted into the ring density depicted by the image. The image represents a distance of
 about 724 kilometers (450 miles), and the smallest features are about one-half mile across. Credit: NASA/JPL/University
 of Colorado at Boulder


Joshua Colwell of CU-Boulder's Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics said the observations were made with Ultraviolet Imaging Spectrograph, or UVIS, when Cassini was about 4.2 million miles, or 6.75 million kilometers, from Saturn in July. Saturn orbits the Sun roughly 1 billion miles distant from Earth.

Colwell and his colleagues used a technique known as stellar occultation to image the ring particles, pointing the instrument through the rings towards the star, Xi Ceti. The fluctuations of starlight passing through the rings provide information on the structure and dynamics of the particles within them, said Colwell, a UVIS science team member.

He likened the Saturn system to a mammoth phonograph record, with the planet in the middle and the rings stretching outward more than 40,000 miles, or 64,000 kilometers. The size of the ring particles varies from dust specks to mountains, with most ranging between the size of marbles and boulders, he said.

Bigger image here http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/jpeg/PIA06994.jpg

SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM


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Himalaya glaciers melt unnoticed

By Navin Singh Khadka
BBC News in Nepal



Environmentalists are warning that the melting of glaciers in the Himalayas could spell disaster for millions of people living in the region.
They claim the situation is not being adequately monitored; the last studies having been done in the 1990s.
Swelling glacial lakes would increase the risk of catastrophic flooding.
In the long term, the glaciers could disappear altogether, causing several rivers to shrink and threatening the survival of those who depend on them.
"It is high time we did field studies to assess the situation or else a big natural catastrophe could hit us anytime," said Arun Bhakta Shrestha from Nepal's Department of Hydrology and Meteorology.

Global warming

There are 3,300 glaciers in the Nepalese Himalayas and 2,300 of them contain glacial lakes. These lakes are quietly growing due to global warming, but no one is keeping a close eye on them, environmentalists say.
   

Nobody knows how many are close to bursting, and no steps have been taken to establish early warning systems for the villages downstream.

A burst lake would cause flash floods which could sweep away people, houses, roads and bridges in Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and India.

Such disasters have already happened more than a dozen times around Nepal in the last 70 years

SOURCE: BBC

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quote:
Originally posted by neilep
"It is high time we did field studies to assess the situation or else a big natural catastrophe could hit us anytime," said Arun Bhakta Shrestha from Nepal's Department of Hydrology and Meteorology.



Don't you love these blokes. Why isn't he doing the study instead of talking about it? Typical bloody public servant, it sounds like it is his department's responsibility. C'mon Mr Shrestha, do the bloody study.
 

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Spitzer discovery is good news for planet Pluto

UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA NEWS RELEASE


Pluto's status as our solar system's ninth planet may be safe if a recently discovered Kuiper Belt Object is a typical "KBO" and not just an oddball. Astronomers have new evidence that KBOs are smaller than previously thought.


Our distant sun twinkles in this artist's conception of a distant Kuiper Belt Object. Illustration: NASA/JPL



KBOs - icy cousins to asteroids and the source of some comets - are the leftover building blocks of the outer planets. Astronomers using the world's most powerful telescopes have discovered about 1,000 of these objects orbiting beyond Neptune since discovering the first one in 1992. These discoveries fueled debate on whether Pluto is a planet or a large (1,400-mile diameter) closer-in KBO.

Researchers estimate that the total mass of the Kuiper Belt is about a tenth of Earth's mass. Most theorize that there are more than 10,000 KBOs with diameters greater than 100 kilometers (62 miles), compared to 200 asteroids known to be that large in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.

SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM


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Weird weather of Uranus
UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN NEWS RELEASE


Capitalizing on the incomparable optical capabilities of the Keck Telescope, scientists have gained an unprecedented look at the atmosphere of Uranus, providing new insight into some of the most enigmatic weather in the solar system.


The two sides of the planet Uranus, as viewed in this composite image,
 by the Keck II Telescope at near infrared wavelengths. These new
images of the seventh planet from the sun promise to help scientists
unravel the mysteries of the weather on Uranus. Credit: courtesy
Lawrence Sromovsky, UW-Madison Space Science and Engineering Center


BIG PICCY HERE http://www.news.wisc.edu/newsphotos/images/uranus_comp4Adcc04.jpg

A pair of images unveiled here  at a meeting of the Division for Planetary Sciences of the American Astronomical Society, reveal more cloud features - an abundance of atmospheric phenomena that vary dramatically in size, brightness and longevity - than have been observed before on Uranus.

"The cloud features range from small to large, from dim and diffuse to sharp and bright, from rapidly-evolving systems to stable features that last for years," says Lawrence Sromovsky, a senior scientist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Space Science and Engineering Center.

What's more, the new Keck images captured several Uranian weather oddities, including a big southern hemisphere storm feature that, during the course of several years, seesaws over 5 degrees of latitude.

"It's weird behavior that hasn't been recognized before on Uranus. It's similar to what's been seen on Neptune, although there the oscillation is much more rapid," Sromovsky explains. "It is not surprising to see cloud features drifting in latitude, but our models don't show these oscillations. We don't know what makes it keep coming back to its starting point."

Another unusual Uranian weather feature is a long, narrow complex of cloud features that is probably the largest group of atmospheric features ever seen on the planet. Spotted in the northern hemisphere of Uranus, the 18,000-mile-long complex of clouds dissipated completely during the span of a month.

SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM


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Mars rover Opportunity looking for crater exit
MISSION CONTROL STATUS REPORT


Operators of NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity have determined that a proposed route eastward out of "Endurance Crater" is not passable, so the rover will backtrack to leave the crater by a southward route, perhaps by retracing its entry path.


Opportunity captured this view from the base of "Burns Cliff" during the
 rover's 280th martian day (Nov. 6). This cliff in the inner wall of "Endurance Crater"
 displays multiple layers of bedrock for the rover to examine with its panoramic camera
and miniature thermal emission spectrometer. The rover team has decided that
the farthest Opportunity can safely advance along the base of the cliff is
close to the squarish white rock near the center of this image. Credit: NASA/JPL


BIGGY PICCY http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/images/mer/2004-11-11/opportunity_sol_280-med.jpg

Before turning around, Opportunity will spend a few days examining the rock layers in scarp about 10 meters (33 feet) high, dubbed "Burns Cliff." From its location at the western foot of the cliff, the rover will use its panoramic camera and miniature thermal emission spectrometer to collect information from which scientists hope to determine whether some of the layers were deposited by wind, rather than by water. The rover will not reach an area about 15 meters (50 feet) farther east where two layers at different angles meet at the base of the cliff.
Opportunity entered the stadium-size crater on June 8 at a site called "Karatepe" along the crater's southern rim. Inside the crater, it has found and examined multiple layers of rocks that show evidence of a wet environment in the area's distant past.

Opportunity and its twin, Spirit, successfully completed their primary three-month missions on Mars in April. NASA has extended their missions twice, most recently on Oct. 1, because the rovers have remained in good condition to continue exploring Mars longer than anticipated.

SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM


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Martian moon Phobos in color for close-up look

EUROPEAN SPACE AGENCY NEWS RELEASE

These images, taken by the High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) on board ESA's Mars Express spacecraft, are Europe's highest-resolution pictures so far of the Martian moon Phobos


Bigger Piccy..(but not that bigger if you have a dial up it should be ok) http://esamultimedia.esa.int/images/marsexpress/115-051004-0756-6-co-02-Phobos_hires.jpg

These HRSC images show new detail that will keep planetary scientists busy for years, working to unravel the mysteries of this moon. The images show the Mars-facing side of the moon, taken from a distance of less than 200 kilometres with a resolution of about seven metres per pixel during orbit 756.
The Mars Express spacecraft periodically passes near Phobos about one hour before it flies at an altitude of only 270 kilometres above the Martian surface, just above the atmosphere. Within minutes, the orbiting spacecraft turns from its attitude where it points at Mars to train its camera on this little world.

SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM

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Superfast Nasa jet pushes Mach 10


  A US hypersonic experimental scramjet clocked up a test flight at 10 times the speed of sound, sealing a second world speed record, NASA said.

The unmanned NASA jet was launched over the Pacific Ocean yesterday in a bid to demonstrate a radical new engine technology by flying at a world-record 7000mph (11,263 km/h) – almost 10 times the speed of sound.

The pilotless scramjet screeched across the Pacific Ocean with NASA scientists nervously monitoring its second test flight.

It was the second record to be claimed in eight months.



PICTURE: BBC
TEXT: GOOGLE SCIENCE NEWS

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Spacecraft launched to observe cataclysmic blasts

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - NASA launched a $250 million quick-response satellite today to study enigmatic gamma ray flashes from brief-but-titanic deep space explosions that may be the "death cries" of massive stars imploding to form black holes.



The Swift satellite's 126-foot-tall Boeing Delta 2 rocket roared to life at 12:16 p.m. and quickly thundered away through a mostly clear sky. Arcing east over the Atlantic Ocean, the slender rocket put on a spectacular sky show for area residents and tourists as it climbed away toward space.

It will take engineers about a month to check out and calibrate the satellite's three gamma ray, X-ray and optical telescopes before scientific observations can begin. If all goes well, Swift will detect at least 200 gamma ray bursts during its two-year primary mission.

SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM

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Weird Blobby Thing Found Inside My Mind

Reports are coming in of a weird blobby thing found inside my head just now. The phenomenah materialised whilst taking deep breaths and in a fit of spontaneity found itself created.


BLOB, Created just now, enjoying existence.

I remain mystified as all attempts at contact with 'Blob' have failed. Understandably men in white coats are attempting to enter my house armed with what looks like, Mace, Tranquilizers and a Straight Jacket and what appears to be Enema equipment !!

NEWSFLASH:...report just in, the men in white coats have entered the house and are attempting entrance into my study.

LATEST: Blob has not attempted to assist me, as the men have now managed to infiltrate their way in and........................oomph....struggle....!!!!


SOURCE: Butterscotch Praline and Toffy.





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Science taps into ocean secrets

Some 13,000 new marine species have been discovered in the past year, according to information released by an international alliance of scientists.

The Census of Marine Life (COML) has also uncovered previously unknown migration routes used by fish such as tuna and shark.

The $1bn 10-year project, which is building a huge database, involves researchers in more than 70 countries.

The new knowledge will inform future conservation and fisheries policies.

   
In some of the results we've had you can see a kind of doughnut of circulation which seems to concentrate life in deep water

Dr Fred Grassle of Rutgers University says

"We know something about the first 100m at this point but we know almost nothing about what lies down in the deep.

"Our analysis shows that if you catch a fish below 2,000m it is 50 times more likely to be new to science," he told the BBC News website.

 

This goby fish from Guam lives in tandem with a shrimp; the shrimp digs a burrow and the fish acts as sentinel.


About 90% of the ocean biomass is microbia


More than 80,000 specimens were collected during an expedition to the mid-Atlantic ridge


Some bizarre creatures lurk in the very deep


The census is shedding more light on zooplankton



Surely the most bizarre of them all. The  Jet Powered Hairybumakisfishafartimus !!


SOURCE: BBC I

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We're going fishing on the weekend. I wanna catch a Jet Powered Hairybumakisfishafartimus.
 

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Hee hee....good luck Robert.....don't know if it'll make good eating though !!...and I'd be careful how you cook it..it may explode !!

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A Titan of a Mission

Parachuting through smog to Saturn's moon


On Jan. 14, a flying saucer will parachute through the thick orange haze of a distant moon's atmosphere. Descending through the hydrocarbon smog, the probe could crash into an icy mountain, plop in a pool of organic goo, or dive into a methane ocean. Welcome to Saturn's largest moon, Titan, a place where organic chemistry appears to be a carbon copy of the infant Earth's just before life got a foothold. The saucer-shaped Huygens probe, named for the 17th-century Dutch astronomer who discovered Titan, has been riding piggyback on the Cassini spacecraft since it left Earth in October 1997. The craft arrived at Saturn on June 30 and has now embarked on a 4-year tour of the planet and its moons.

Radar data from Cassini, taken during its first close flyby of Titan on Oct. 26, reveal dark patches that might be lakes of methane. Streaks imaged by visible-light cameras during that flyby could be caused by the flow of a hydrocarbon fluid or by wind eroding solid material


BAM, SPLAT, PLOP. When the
 Huygens probe plunges through
 Titan's atmosphere, it may land
 (top to bottom) on an icy surface,
in an organic goo, or on a sea of
 hydrocarbons.
J. Garry/Fastlight Illustration

SOURCE:ScienceNews.org

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Precocious black holes challenge theories

CHANDRA X-RAY CENTER NEWS RELEASE

NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory has obtained definitive evidence that a distant quasar formed less than a billion years after the Big Bang contains a fully-grown supermassive black hole generating energy at the rate of twenty trillion Suns. The existence of such massive black holes at this early epoch of the Universe challenges theories of the formation of galaxies and supermassive black holes.


The X-rays observed by Chandra (inset) from the quasar SDSSp
J1306 (or J1306) have taken 12.7 billion light years to reach Earth,
 only a billion years less than the estimated 13.7-billion-year age of
 the Universe. Surprisingly, in this quasar, which is seen as it was
at an early epoch, the distribution of X-rays with energy - the X-ray
 spectrum - is indistinguishable from that of nearby, older quasars.
 The smaller object in the upper left of the image is a foreground
galaxy. Credit: NASA/CXC/D.Schwartz & S.Virani; Illustration:
CXC/M.Weiss



Astronomers Daniel Schwartz and Shanil Virani of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, MA observed the quasar, known as SDSSp J1306, which is 12.7 billion light years away. Since the Universe is estimated to be 13.7 billion years old, we see the quasar as it was a billion years after the Big Bang. They found that the distribution of X-rays with energy, or X-ray spectrum, is indistinguishable from that of nearby, older quasars. Likewise, the relative brightness at optical and X-ray wavelengths of SDSSp J1306 was similar to that of the nearby group of quasars. Optical observations suggest that the mass of the black hole is about a billion solar masses.

BIGGER PICCY HERE (200k) http://chandra.harvard.edu/photo/2004/j1306/j1306_xray_ill.jpg

SOURCE: SPACEFLIGHTNOW.COM


'Men are the same as women...just inside out !'
Men are the same as women, just inside out !