Will Earth still be around 5 billion years from now?

December 9, 2016

What will happen to Earth when, in a few billion years’ time, the Sun is a hundred times bigger than it is today? Using the most powerful radio telescope in the world, an international team of astronomers has set out to look for answers in the star L2 Puppis. Five billion years ago, this star was very similar to the Sun as it is today.

“Five billion years from now, the Sun will have grown into a red giant star, more than a hundred times larger than its current size,” says Professor Leen Decin from the KU Leuven Institute of Astronomy. “It will also experience an intense mass loss through a very strong stellar wind. The end product of its evolution, 7 billion years from now, will be a tiny white dwarf star. This will be about the size of the Earth, but much heavier: one tea spoon of white dwarf material weighs about 5 tons.”

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First impressions last as people judge others

November 29, 2016

A well-known saying urges people to “not judge a book by its cover.” But people tend to do just that – even after they’ve skimmed a chapter or two, according to Cornell University research.

Vivian Zayas, professor of psychology at Cornell University, and her colleagues found that people continue to be influenced by another person’s appearance even after interacting with them face-to-face. First impressions formed simply from looking at a photograph predicted how people felt and thought about the person after a live interaction that took place one month to six months later.

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Your dog remembers exacty what you did

November 25, 2016

People have a remarkable ability to remember and recall events from the past, even when those events didn’t hold any particular importance at the time they occurred. Now, researchers reporting in the journal Current Biology on November 23 have evidence that dogs have that kind of “episodic memory” too.

The study found that dogs can recall a person’s complex actions even when they don’t expect to have their memory tested.

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Why does Earth experience an ice age every 100,000 years?

October 26, 2016

Experts from Cardiff University have offered up an explanation as to why our planet began to move in and out of ice ages every 100,000 years.

This mysterious phenomena, dubbed the ’100,000 year problem’, has been occurring for the past million years or so and leads to vast ice sheets covering North America, Europe and Asia. Up until now, scientists have been unable to explain why this happens. Read more

Observable Universe contains ten times more galaxies than previously thought

October 13, 2016

Astronomers using data from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescopes and other telescopes have performed an accurate census of the number of galaxies in the Universe. The group came to the surprising conclusion that there are at least 10 times as many galaxies in the observable Universe as previously thought. The results have clear implications for our understanding of galaxy formation, and also help solve an ancient astronomical paradox — why is the sky dark at night?

One of the most fundamental questions in astronomy is that of just how many galaxies the Universe contains. The Hubble Deep Field images, captured in the mid 1990s, gave the first real insight into this. Myriad faint galaxies were revealed, and it was estimated that the observable Universe contains about 100 billion galaxies [1]. Now, an international team, led by Christopher Conselice from the University of Nottingham, UK, have shown that this figure is at least ten times too low. Read more

Researchers describe new large prehistoric shark

October 13, 2016

Megalolamna paradoxodon is the name of a new extinct shark described by an international research team who based their discovery on fossilized teeth up to 4.5 centimeters (1.8 inches) tall found from the eastern and western United States (California and North Carolina), Peru and Japan.

The newly identified fossil shark lived during the early Miocene epoch about 20 million years ago and belongs to a shark group called Lamniformes, which includes the modern-day great white and mako sharks. Read more

Infant gut microbiome seems to shape allergy risk by altering immune responses

September 15, 2016

The microbial communities, or microbiota, that naturally colonize the digestive tract in very young infants can affect their risk of later developing childhood allergies and asthma. Scientists now have identified a specific type of microbiota composition and corresponding metabolic environment in the neonatal gut that appears to influence immune cell populations and promote allergy and asthma development. The work was funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health. Read more

Insights into the beginning of the universe

August 19, 2016

What did the universe look like just after the Big Bang? How did the first stars and galaxies evolve? Seeking answers to these questions, researchers at Bielefeld University are looking way back into the past. With the digital radio telescope LOFAR, they are picking up signals that have taken billions of years to reach us. ‘research_tv’ is presenting the LOFAR station in Norderstedt. It is being run by Bielefeld University in cooperation with Universität Hamburg. Read more

Denver Museum of Nature Science curator discovers real reason turtles have shells

July 16, 2016

It is common knowledge that the modern turtle shell is largely used for protection. No other living vertebrate has so drastically altered its body to form such an impenetrable protective structure as the turtle. However, a new study by an international group of paleontologists suggests that the broad ribbed proto shell on the earliest partially shelled fossil turtles was initially an adaptation, for burrowing underground, not for protection. Paleontologist Tyler Lyson from the Denver Museum of Nature & Science is among the scientists that helped make this discovery. Read more

Physicists discover family of tetraquarks

July 8, 2016

Physicists in the Syracuse University College of Arts and Sciences have made science history by confirming the existence of a rare four-quark particle and discovering evidence of three other “exotic” siblings.

Their findings are based on data from the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world’s biggest, most powerful particle accelerator, located at the CERN science laboratory in Geneva, Switzerland.

Professor Tomasz Skwarnicki and Ph.D. student Thomas Britton G’16, both members of the Experimental High-Energy Physics Group at Syracuse and the Large Hadron Collider beauty (LHCb) collaboration at CERN, have confirmed the existence of a tetraquark candidate known as X(4140). They also have detected three other exotic particles with higher masses, called X(4274), X(4500) and X(4700). Read more

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