Astronomy

New Catalogue of Visible Milky Way Contains 219 Million Stars

A density map of part of the Milky Way disk; the axes show galactic latitude and longitude, coordinates that relate to the position of the centre of the Galaxy; the mapped data are the counts of stars detected in i, the longer wavelength broad band of the survey, down to a faint limit of 19th magnitude; although this is just a small section of the full map, it portrays in exquisite detail the complex patterns of obscuration due to interstellar dust. Image credit: Hywel Farnhill / University of Hertfordshire.

Astronomers using data from the Isaac Newton Telescope on La Palma in the Canary Islands have assembled a catalogue of the visible part of the northern part of Milky Way Galaxy. A density map of part of the Milky Way disk; the axes show galactic latitude and longitude, coordinates that relate to the position of the centre of the Galaxy; the mapped data are the counts of stars detected in i, the longer...

Space Exploration

Cell-Like Structure Found within 1.3-Billion-Year-Old Martian Meteorite

SEM image of the surface of a polished thin section of Nakhla, highlighting the petrographic context of the cell-like structure. Image credit: Chatzitheodoridis Elias et al.

A team of scientists from the United Kingdom and Greece led by Dr Elias Chatzitheodoridis of the National Technical University of Athens has found a mysterious oval structure embedded deep within a famous Martian meteorite called Nakhla. Two fragments of the Nakhla meteorite. Image credit: NASA. Multiple fragments of the Nakhla meteorite fell to Earth on June 28, 1911 near the village of El-Nakhla...

Archaeology

Jethro Cairn: 5,000-Year-Old Stone Monument Discovered in Israel

Jethro Cairn, a large crescent-shaped stone monument dating to 3050-2650 BC. Image credit: © Google Earth.

Ido Wachtel, a PhD student and an archaeologist at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Institute of Archaeology, has discovered a 5,000-year-old crescent-shaped structure near the city of Safed, about 15 km northwest of the Sea of Galilee. Jethro Cairn, a large crescent-shaped stone monument dating to 3050-2650 BC. Image credit: © Google Earth. At about 150 meters in length and 7 meters in height,...

Paleontology

Dino-Killing Chicxulub Asteroid Helped Plant Kingdom Bloom

Artistic reconstruction of a post-Chicxulub impact forest. Image credit: Donna Braginetz / Denver Museum of Nature & Science.

According to a new study of fossilized leaves of angiosperms (flowering plants excluding conifers) published in the journal PLoS Biology, the massive asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs about 66 million years ago also boosted up fast-growing, deciduous plants. Artistic reconstruction of a post-Chicxulub impact forest. Image credit: Donna Braginetz / Denver Museum of Nature & Science. About...

Biology

Dendrogramma: Two Unclassifiable Deep-Sea Animals Discovered off Australia

Specimens of Dendrogramma enigmatica and Dendrogramma discoides (with *). Image credit: Just J et al.

According to a team of scientists from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, two species of sea-dwelling, mushroom-shaped organisms discovered off Australia cannot at present be placed in an existing phylum (primary subdivision of a taxonomic kingdom). Specimens of Dendrogramma enigmatica and Dendrogramma discoides (with *). Image credit: Just J et al. In 1986, Copenhagen University researcher...

Physics

Death Valley Sailing Stones Caught in Action for First Time

Thin sheets of ice push rocks across a dry lake in Death Valley when conditions are just right. Image credit: Norris RD et al.

After more than seventy years of attempts to solve the mystery of Death Valley’s sailing stones, U.S. researchers led by Dr Brian Jackson of Boise State University have finally caught the stones in action. Thin sheets of ice push rocks across a dry lake in Death Valley when conditions are just right. Image credit: Norris RD et al. One of the most interesting mysteries of Death Valley National...

Medicine

Retooling for Human Gene Therapy: New and Improved Adenoviral Vectors

Colorized transmission electron micrograph of adenovirus. Image credit: Dr G. William Gary, Jr. / CDC.

Dr Juliana Small of the University of Pennsylvania, Drs Raj Kurupati, Xianqyang Zhou and their colleagues from the Wistar Institute have developed a novel adenoviral vector for delivery of multiple transgenes. Gene therapy using an adenovirus vector: a new gene is injected into an adenovirus vector, which is used to introduce the modified DNA into a human cell; if the treatment is successful, the...

Genetics

Scientists Sequence Gibbon Genome

Female and male Northern white-cheeked gibbon. Image credit: Linda, Jinterwas / CC BY 2.0.

A large team of genetic researchers from the United States, Europe and China has sequenced and analyzed the complete genome of the Northern white-cheeked gibbon (Nomascus leucogenys). Female and male Northern white-cheeked gibbon. Image credit: Linda, Jinterwas / CC BY 2.0. For many decades, scientists have known that gibbon chromosomes evolve quickly and have many breaks and rearrangements, but...

Geology

Tasmania, Western North America were Once Neighbors, Finds New Research

Mount Wellington and Hobart Town from Kangaroo Point (Tasmania), by John Glover, 1834.

According to a new study led by Dr Joanne Whittaker of the University of Tasmania’s Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, the Australia’s island state, Tasmania, and the U.S. states of Idaho, Montana, the Canadian province of British Columbia, were close geographical neighbors about 1.4 billion years ago in the Mesoproterozoic supercontinent Columbia (also known as Nuna or Hudsonland). Mount...

Other Sciences

Europeans Descended from 3 Groups of Ancient Humans, Study Reveals

A Sami indigenous northern European family in Norway around 1900. The picture was probably taken in 1896 around the Kanstadfjord near Lødingen, Nordland. The adults on the left are Ingrid (born Sarri) and her husband Nils Andersen Inga. In front of the parents are Berit and Ole Nilsen. The lady on the right is Ellen, sister of Ingrid. In front of Ellen are the children Inger Anna and Tomas. The children of Inger Anna are reindeer herders still today. Detroit Publishing Co. print no. 7123.

Modern Europeans are the descendants of at least three groups of ancient humans, not two as was previously thought, reveals a comparative analysis of DNA from more than 2,300 modern-day humans and nine ancient farmers and hunter-gatherers who lived in Germany, Luxembourg and Sweden, around 7,000 to 8,000 years ago. A Sami indigenous northern European family in Norway around 1900. The picture was...