Astronomy

Astronomers Measure Distance to Eye of Sauron (NGC 4151)

This image shows the spiral Seyfert galaxy NGC 4151, also known as the Eye of Sauron. Image credit: NASA.

A team of astronomers led by Dr Sebastian Hoenig from the University of Copenhagen and the University of Southampton has developed a new method for determining precise distances to very distant galaxies and used it to accurately measure the distance to a nearby galaxy called NGC 4151. This image shows the spiral Seyfert galaxy NGC 4151, also known as the Eye of Sauron. Image credit: NASA. NGC 4151...

Space Exploration

Scientists Discover Impenetrable Barrier 11,500 km above Earth

The near-Earth space environment is a complex interaction between the magnetic field of our planet, cool plasma moving up from its ionosphere, and hotter plasma coming in from the solar wind. Image credit: NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio.

A group of researchers headed by Prof Daniel Baker of the University of Colorado’s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics has discovered a nearly impenetrable barrier some 11,500 km above our planet that blocks so-called ‘killer electrons,’ which can fry satellites and degrade space systems during intense solar storms. The near-Earth space environment is a complex interaction between...

Archaeology

Archaeologists Shed More Light on Colonization of Tibetan Plateau

The scientists have reported evidence from the northeastern Tibetan Plateau indicating that the first villages were established only by 5,200 years ago.

An international team of scientists has discovered extensive archaeological evidence of Neolithic farming and human habitation at altitudes above 2,000 to 3,000 meters on the Tibetan Plateau. The scientists have reported evidence from the northeastern Tibetan Plateau indicating that the first villages were established only by 5,200 years ago. “Until now, when and how humans started to live and...

Paleontology

Paleontologist Discovers Two New Species of Horned Dinosaurs

Pentaceratops aquiloniua. Image credit: University of Bath.

Dr Nick Longrich from the University of Bath, UK, has described two new species of chasmosaurine dinosaurs that roamed the ‘lost island continent’ of Laramidia – a swampy, subtropical setting formed when a shallow sea flooded the central region of North America – during the Cretaceous, about 75 million years ago. Pentaceratops aquiloniua. Image credit: University of Bath. Western North...

Biology

Sulawesi Streaked Flycatcher: New Species of Bird Discovered in Indonesia

The Sulawesi streaked flycatcher (Muscicapa sodhii). Image credit: © Martin Lindop.

An international group of ornithologists from the United States and Indonesia led by Dr Berton Harris of Princeton University has described a new species of flycatcher from the Indonesian island of Sulawesi. The Sulawesi streaked flycatcher (Muscicapa sodhii), painting by Teo Nam Siang. The new species, named the Sulawesi streaked flycatcher (Muscicapa sodhii), has awaited formal scientific description...

Physics

Physicists Explain Why Dogs are Sloppy Drinkers

Dogs and cats need to move fluid against gravity into the body by means other than suction; they do this by lapping fluid with their tongue. When a dog drinks, it curls its tongue posteriorly while plunging it into the fluid and then quickly withdraws its tongue back into the mouth. During this fast retraction fluid sticks to the ventral part of the curled tongue and is drawn into the mouth due to inertia. The scientists studied several variations of this drinking behavior among many dog breeds, specifically, the relationship between tongue dynamics and geometry, lapping frequency, and dog weight; and also compared the results with the physical experiment of a rounded rod impact onto a fluid surface. Image credit: Emmanuel Keller aka Tambako The Jaguar / CC BY-ND 2.0.

A team of scientists led by Dr Sunghwan Jung of Virginia Tech has identified and modeled the fluid dynamics at play when dogs (Canis lupus familiaris) drink water. Dogs and cats need to move fluid against gravity into the body by means other than suction; they do this by lapping fluid with their tongue. When a dog drinks, it curls its tongue posteriorly while plunging it into the fluid and then quickly...

Medicine

Cocoa Flavanols Can Reverse Memory Loss in Older Adults

Dietary cocoa flavanols reverse age-related memory decline in healthy older adults. Image credit: © Marion Beraudias.

According to a team of scientists headed by Dr Scott Small of Columbia University, flavanols – naturally occurring bioactives found in the cacao plant, tea leaves and certain fruits and vegetables – can reverse age-related memory decline in healthy older adults. Dietary cocoa flavanols reverse age-related memory decline in healthy older adults. Image credit: © Marion Beraudias. As people...

Genetics

Scientists Sequence Genomes of 17 World’s Oldest Living People

Misao Okawa (born on March 5, 1898) and her relatives: she is a Japanese supercentenarian who is, at the age of 116 years, the world's oldest living person; she married in 1919, has three children, four grandchildren and six great-grandchildren, and now lives in Osaka. Image credit: © Guinness World Records.

U.S. genetic researchers led by Dr Stuart Kim of Stanford University have sequenced the genomes of 17 supercentenarians to see if they could uncover the genetic basis for extreme human longevity. Misao Okawa (born on March 5, 1898) and her relatives: she is a Japanese supercentenarian who is, at the age of 116 years, the world’s oldest living person; she married in 1919, has three children,...

Geology

Study Sheds More Light on Origin of Earth’s Oceans

In this illustration of the early Solar System, the dashed white line represents the snow line - the transition from the hotter inner Solar System, where water ice is not stable (brown) to the outer Solar System, where water ice is stable (blue). Image credit: Jack Cook / Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

According to a team of researchers led by Dr Brian Monteleone of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Earth’s oceans have likely existed since the planet’s formation. In this illustration of the early Solar System, the dashed white line represents the snow line – the transition from the hotter inner Solar System, where water ice is not stable (brown) to the outer Solar System,...

Other Sciences

Scientists Produce New Map of Ocean Currents

The ocean currents and their speeds, in cm/s, derived from GOCE data. Image credit: ESA / CNES / CLS.

An international group of scientists using data from ESA’s Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer (GOCE) has created the most accurate map of ocean currents to date. The ocean currents and their speeds, in cm/s, derived from GOCE data. Image credit: ESA / CNES / CLS. The GOCE satellite is the first space mission to employ ‘gradiometry,’ the measurement of gravitational differences...