Monday, August 13, 2018

Water on Mars! And Earth to witness the longest Blood Moon of the century

Water on Mars

Evidence of Water on Mars

According to researchers, there is an evidence of water on Mars. They have got proof of a body of liquid water on Mars. They are of the opinion that there is a lake present under the south polar ice region of Mars, which is about 20km (12 miles) across.

Earlier studies showed signs of intermittent liquid water on Mars. Nasa’s Curiosity Rover showed that lake beds were present on the surface of Mars in the past. As of now there are signs of persistent water on Mars. Due to the thin atmosphere on Mars, the climate has cooled and most of its water has turned into ice.

Signs of Water on Mars

The discovery of water on Mars was made by using Mars is, a radar instrument on board the European Space Agency’s Mars Express orbiter. The lake, which may not be very large is near the south pole of the planet. Based on their findings, the researchers are quite excited about the evidence of water on Mars. This opens wide the doors of a possibility of life forms existing on Mars.

The study was led by Prof Roberto Orosei from the Italian National Institute for Astrophysics. Although the thickness of the layer of water could not be determined by Mars is, the researchers are of the opinion that it is a minimum of one metre.

The use of Mars is that led to the evidence of Water on Mars

Mars is is a radar instrument which examines the surface and the next subsurface layer of the planet. It sends signals to the layers and whatever information bounces back is then examined.

There is a continuous white line at the top of the radar. This area is the beginning of the South Polar Layered Deposit, which is an accumulation of water ice and dust. Under this layer the researchers have come across something unusual about 1.5km below the ice. There is a light blue reflection from the bottom which is higher than that of the surface. This could be an indication of the presence of water on Mars.

What does the presence of Water on Mars mean in terms of existence of life?

Dr Manish Patel from the Open University says that it is a known fact that life does not exist on the surface as it is inhabitable. The possibility of life existing on Mars will then have to be in the subsurface. This layer is basically protected from the harmful effects of radiation and we also see favourable levels of temperature and pressure. These conditions allow liquid water which is essential for life to exist.

Though the research suggests the evidence of water on Mars, it is not possible to confirm the existence of life on the planet. The temperature and chemistry of the water on Mars could be a problem for any kind of living organisms. The cold conditions are anywhere between -10 and -30 degrees Celsius and for the water to be in its liquid state, it should have many salts dissolved in it.

There is a possibility that the water on Mars could be very cold and concentrated with salt, which will be definitely challenging for life to exist.

Monday, July 23, 2018

When and Why Did Our Human Ancestors First Leave Africa?

human migration

Human Migration

Scientists are still trying to find out the earliest signs of human migration. Earlier, they discovered1.85million-year-old fossils and tools in Dmanisi, Georgia which is about 3,800 miles to the west of the new excavation site. Lately, they have uncovered tools in China which pushes back the date of human existence outside Africa to about 250, 000 years.

According to some exciting news that was published in the journal, Nature, there were scattered remains of stone tools dating back to 2.1 million years that were unearthed in Loess Plateau in China. Scientists have been tracking the human migration outside Africa. With the latest discovery, they have come closer to understanding the migration of humans from Africa more than 6 million years ago.

An anthropology and geological sciences professor, John Kappelman from the University of Texas at Austin, wrote an article in the journal Nature’s “News & Views” on the importance of such a discovery. The latest findings bridge the gap between the beginning of humans and where they are today.

Human migration from Africa

John Kappelman who was not involved with the study, shares his views about the research.

Firstly, the human migration out of Africa keeps getting pushed back in time. It is possible that the human migration was towards Asia in the east and only many years later to Europe in the west. This is substantiated with the latest discovery.

Secondly, the human migration to the north suggests that they were able to adapt to colder regions. When it became much colder, the people migrated to the south to warmer climates.

What are the reasons for human migration? 

Those who are hunter-gatherers migrate to places where resources are available. This human migration is also seen in industrial societies, where people move to areas where jobs are available. If we consider the hunter-gatherers of today, they could cover around 5-15 kms per day. If the ancient group covered that distance in a year, and the distance between China and East Africa which is 14,000 km is divided by 15 kms, then the human migration would take place within 1,000 years.

Climatic conditions during human migration

The humans migrated out of Africa during the glacial and interglacial conditions of Pliocene and Pleistocene. It is more likely they migrated during the warmer climates. The climatic conditions were equitable as compared to the extreme climates witnessed in the past million or half a million years ago.

What was the population size of China 2.1 million years ago? 

The stone tools that were discovered were scattered and not really a dense accumulation. This shows the hominin presence but the size of the population cannot be determined.

Of what materials were the tools? 

According to evidence, the raw materials were from the Qinling Mountains about 10 km away. Since there was not much excavations carried out, it is not sure if the tools came from that area itself or it was brought in during human migration.

What more are the researchers looking for? 

There were animal bones found in the sediments near some of the stone tools. They will be examining them for cut marks to see if the tools were used to process the animal carcasses for their meat and bone marrow. They can also analyse the cutting edges of the stone tools for biological residues. The team may carry out a search for human fossils. It is highly probable that some large- scale excavation may take place.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Rare Collection of Jewish Texts finds a Place at Brown University

Jewish Texts
A rare collection of Jewish texts spanning a number of centuries and many continents has found a place at Brown University. These Jewish texts contain collections of Haggadot which has details of how the Passover rites had to be performed. The book of rare Jewish Texts had been gifted to Brown University by Ungerleider Jr. in honor of his father who studied in Brown University.

The book details how Jews celebrated the Passover Seder in many centuries past.

What are these Jewish Texts all About?

The Dr. Steven Ungerleider Collection of Haggadot is a guide to the preparation of the Passover fest celebrated by Jews to mark their ancestors exodus from Egypt. Haggadot is a plural to haggadah which is a guide to the various preparations required for the Passover feast. These Jewish Texts detail rituals, customs and blessings marking the freedom of Jews from Egypt.

This rare collection of Jewish Texts gives a valuable insight into the way the Passover seder was celebrated worldwide in the past.

The Jewish collection of texts will also support all sorts of learning by scholars and students alike. It is also a valuable treasure for those who have a genuine interest in looking at past texts.

The Jewish Texts cover regions far and wide:

The haggadot contained in these Jewish Texts cover regions and practices of Jewish communities from all over the world. The haggadot covers the tradition of Jewish communities from Asia, Europe, North America, Africa and the near East.

The haggadot are chronicles of tradition detailed by Jewish communities in Constantinople in 1505, used in Calcutta in 1841 and also by Holocaust survivors in camps in Munich in 1945 to 1946. These are not the only places detailed in these Jewish texts but just a few among many others.

Besides being a collection of passed down tradition, these Jewish Texts also contain annotations, hand written notes and many other such writings by families following the tradition. Since these Jewish Texts span many different continents, it also contains many different languages including Yiddish, Judeo- Italian, Judeo Arabic ad Ladino.

These texts span all from U.S. to Australia to India and in Casablanca to Moscow via Jerusalem.

Those Interested In the Jewish Texts:

Students of History, Judaic Studies, Religion, History of art and architecture, Italian studies, Music, German studies, Renaissance and Early modern studies and Slavic studies will benefit from this book among others such as scholars and those who have a genuine interest in everything of the past.

The viewing of the Jewish Texts:

The book is open to public viewing at Brown University’s Special Collection Reading Room and also available in a digital format for all others who cannot be there in person. As of now only a few of the Jewish Texts has been made into a digital format but the University is well on its way to making available the entire Jewish text in a digital format.

This rare collection of Jewish Texts is valued at $ 2 million.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Astronomers say behaviour of ‘most mysterious star in the universe’ is not caused by an alien megastructure

Discovery of Mysterious Star In Universe

Results of an investigation directed in the discovery of an alien mega structure revolving a distant star has been released by a group of 200 researchers. Attention of the astronomers had been drawn by a star known as KIC 8462852 or Tabby’s star due to a strange phenomenon that saw the light it creates ‘inexplicably dimming and brightening sporadically like no other.

This gave rise to a stargazer to recommend that the blinking was due to the presence of a Dyson Sphere which is a theoretical Death Star-style power station surrounding the sun and collecting all its energy. A data has been revealed about the `most mysterious star in the universe’, by the scientist making this recommendation, from an investigation fund utilising $100,000 raised in a campaign of Kickstarter.

An astrophysics assistant professor at Pen State Department of Astronomy, Jason Wright, stated that they had been anticipating that once they eventually caught a dip happening in real time, they could see if the dips had the same depth at all wavelengths.

He further commented that if they were almost the same, it would indicate that the cause was something opaque, such as an orbiting disk, planet or star or also large structures in space and the latest research rules out alien megastructue though it tends to raise the plausibility of other phenomena being behind the dimming’.

Las Cumbres Observatory

It had been suggested earlier that the dimming had been due to a planet or a swarm of comets. Tabetha Boyajian of Louisiana State University commented that the dust is most likely the cause why the light of the star seems to dim and brighten.

 The latest data portrays that the different colours of light have been blocks at various intensities and hence whatever tends to pass between us and the star is not opaque as it would be expected from a planet or alien megastructure.

The star had been carefully observed by the scientists through the Las Cumbres Observatory from March 2016 to December 2017. There had been four distinct episodes starting in May 2017 when the light of the star had dipped. Crowdfunding campaign supporters had nominated and voted to name these episodes where the first two dips had been named Elsie and Celeste.

The last two had been named after the ancient lost cities- Scotland’s Scara Brae and Cambodia’ Angkor.The authors have mentioned that in several ways what tends to occur with the star is like these lost cities. They had written that `they are ancient; we are watching things that happened more than 1,000 years ago. They are almost certainly caused by something ordinary, at least on a cosmic scale and yet that makes them more interesting, not less. But most of all, they are mysterious’.

New Era of Astronomy

The technique, by which the star is being researched, is done by collecting and analysing abundance of data from an individual target brings in a new era of astronomy. Tyler Ellis an LSU doctoral candidate studying the star had commented that they are gathering much data on an individual target and this project is reflective of changes in astronomy with the access of this abundance of data.

Scientists going through huge amount of data from NASA Kepler mission had been the ones to identify the unusual behaviour of the star in the initial stage. The main purpose of the Kepler mission was to locate planet which is done by detecting the periodic dimming that takes place from a planet moving in front of a star and so blocking out a small bit of starlight.

Planet Hunters, an online citizen science group had been established in order that volunteers could assist in classifying light curves from the Kepler mission as well as to search for such planets. Boyajian had stated that if it was not for people with unbiased look on our universe, this unusual star would have not been noticed and again without the support of the public, for this dedicated observing run, they would not have this huge amount of data.

Models - Circumstellar Material

Wright has mentioned that there are models involving circumstellar material such as exocomets which had been the original hypothesis of Boyajian’s team that seem to be consistent with the data they had. Moreover Wright also pointed out that some astronomers preferred the idea that nothing seems to be blocking the star and that it just seemed to get dimmer on its own, this also is consistent with the data of summer.According to Boyajian it seems to be quite exhilarating and is grateful to all those who had made their contributions to this in the past year, namely the citizen scientists together with their professional astronomers. He stated that it was quite humbling to have all of them contributing in numerous ways of helping in figuring out the same.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Mysterious Pool and Fountain Discovered at Ancient Christian Site in Israel

Mysterious Pool and Fountain

Second Largest Spring – Judean Hills

An old pool and fountain considered to be 1,500 years old has been revealed by archaeologist in Jerusalem which could have been the spot of one of the most referred baptism of Christians. The pool could have been formed as a place of a main story referred in the New Testament where St. Philip the Evangelist had baptised and converted an Ethiopian to Christianity.

It has not been determined that the pool had been utilised for the baptism of the Ethiopian, however if it had been used for the same, it would possibly be the centre of `one of the main events in the spread of Christianity’. However, it is not known what the pool had been used for. The artifacts are said to be part of Jerusalem Ein Hanya, the second largest spring in the Judean Hills.

 Irina Zilberbod, the excavation director for the Israel Antiques Authority (IAA), stated, that according to the Jewish Press, the most significant finding in the excavation was a large and impressive pool from the Byzantine period. Zilberbod further stated that it was hard to know what the pool had been utilised for, whether for irrigation, washing, landscaping or perhaps as part of baptismal ceremonies at the site.

Magnificent Nymphaeumor Fountain

The site had been exposed and excavated by the team of archaeologist from the IAA between 2012 and 2016 though it had only been made available to the public recently. The IAA is of the belief that the pool tends to date back between the 4th and the 6th centuries A.D.The pool is considered to date back to the Byzantine Era that had happened around 1,500 years ago.

 Byzantine-era pool is said to drain into a network of channels leading to a magnificent nymphaeum or fountain which seems to be adorned with images of nymphs. According to the scientist, the fountain is said to be the first of its kind in Jerusalem.

The pool could have been a part of a royal estate which had been constructed during the time of the First Temple era that had started 3,000 years back. A column discovered at the site which may be 2,400 year old might have specified that the ground had been used as a royal estate and the pool could have served as the centre of a `spacious’ complex before a church which had once stood on the grounds.

Zilberhod had stated that a row of elaborate, roofed columns served as a path to various residential wings. The experts had been successful in restoring the water systems in order to make the fountain in a working condition.

Common Motif in Christian Art

Yuval Baruch, the IAA’s Jerusalem district archaeologist, according to the Times of Israel, had stated that identifying the place where the event had taken place had kept the scholars busy for several generations and had become a common motif in Christian art.

He further added that it’s no wonder part of (Ein Hanya) is still owned by Christians and is said to be a focus of religious ceremonies for the Armenian Church as well as the Ethiopian Church. Moreover scientists also discovered a mass of rare, ancient trinkets, varying from pottery, roof tiles, glass together with multi-coloured mosaic pieces.

With the help of these items, scientists have determined that the site could have probably been active between the 4th and the 6th centuries. The scientists had come upon a rare silver coin that is said to be one of the oldest they had found so far in the area of Jerusalem.

According to them it is said to be the Greek currency drachma. The Times of Israel observed that drachma had been minted in Ashdod by the Greek rulers between 420 and 390 BCE.

Lost Roman City of Julias

The site is considered as one of the most amazing archaeological locations in Israel which has provided much perception on early Christianity. For instance last year archaeologist had discovered an amazing 1,500 year old Christian mosaic which had been the floor of a church or monastery in the ancient city of Ashdod-Yam.

In 2017 another ancient Greek inscription was discovered on a 1,500 year old mosaic floor in the proximity of Damascus Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem. On the inscription was the name of the Byzantine emperor Justinian who had ruled in the 6th century A.D. and honours the building’s founding by Constantine a priest.

Between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, a 1,500 year old church had been discovered at a Byzantine-era rest stop in 2015. In 2014, the remains of another church from the same era had been uncovered in southern Israel.

Experts are of the belief that they have also discovered the lost Roman City of Julias which was formerly the village of Bethsaida considered to be the home of the apostles of Jesus, namely Peter, Andres and Philip.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Lost Wreckage of 'British Roswell' Flying Saucer Discovered in Science Museum


Missing Wreckage – Silpho UFO

The missing wreckage of a flying saucer addressed as the `British Roswell’ has been discovered in a tin box in Science Museum in London. The piece of metal located in 1957 on Silpho Moor near Scarborough, North Yorkshire had been quite strange that it was named as `Silpho UFO’.The disc being 16 inches in diameter was said to weigh 22 lbs. had been inscribed with hieroglyphics identical to the wreckage of the so-called spacecraft discovered in June 1947, at Roswell, New Mexico. When the disc had been cut open, a book was found within which was made of 17 thin copper sheets wherein each sheet was covered in more hieroglyphs.

Phillip Longbottom, a local care owner had claimed that the hieroglyphs translated into a 2000-word message that had been sent by an alien known as Ullo containing a warning which stated that `You will improve or disappear’. The remnants of the wreckage had been sent to the Natural History Museum in London where the experts have arrived at a decision that it could probably be an elaborate hoax since there had been no evidence that the metal neither came from elsewhere in the Solar System nor had suffered high temperatures of entering the atmosphere of the Earth. All the same, Air Chief Marshal Lord Dowding believed that the piece from the wreckagehad been an extra-terrestrial and had stated that the same had been examined by him in 1959 andit was found to be a `miniature flying saucer’.

Mysterious Object – Museum Files

It is yet uncertain as to what really happened to the item of the wreckage thereafter and the members of the UFO community eventually were of the belief that it had been scrapped off deliberately. However it now seems that item of wreckage had been sent in 1963, to the Science Museum in London and laid forgotten in the files for over 50 years.

The same was discovered only after Dr David Clarke of Sheffield Hallam University had given a talk recently on the release of the Ministry of Defence files of UFO at the Science Museum. According to him one of the museum staff had tapped him on the shoulder and asked him if he was aware that the bits of flying saucer wreckage had been kept in a cigarette tin in the museum group store for years.He informed that he had been totally amazed when later on the tin box had been opened and found the wreckage in it. It was clear that there were the remnants of the missing Silpho Saucer which some had claimed as the answer to the popular Roswell incident of Britain.

He further stated that it had been unbelievable to know that the pieces of this mysterious object had been in a museum files for over half a century. The former editor of UFO Brigantia magazine, Andy Roberts had stated that the Silpho Saucer story had been the answer to Roswell incident of Britain wherein a crashed flying saucer was apparentlyflown away from a ranch in New Mexico in 1947.

Amazing Breakthrough

According to him it was an amazing breakthrough and incredible to know that all this while the pieces of the mysterious wreckage was lying in the museum files. The flying saucer had initially been found Scarborough businessman Frank Dickenson who had been driving in the proximity of the moor with two of his colleagues when they had spotted a glowing object in the sky which seemed to fall to the ground.

He discovered the wreckage of the metallic saucer fallen in a patch of bracken and had returned back to inform his colleagues and when they had gone back to the wreckage it seemed to have disappeared.

Frank had been desperate to locate the wreckage and had placed an advert in one of the local paper where a man had come up and sold the same to him for £10. On purchasing the wreckage back, Frank, together with Anthony Parker and Phillip Longbottom had forced the object open to find traces of glass, ash and copper book inside.

Tests that had been carried out at Manchester University had disclosed that the shell of the object comprised of lead and the copper parts seemed to be of unusual high purity. Further test had also been carried out at Manchester University and it was discovered that the same could not have come on Earth from space since it was not exposed to high temperatures.

Jenny Randles and UFO expert had commented that it is the most costly as well as a well-organized hoax which had even taken place in Britain. When the reported crash had taken place it had caused tremendous concern since the space race between the US and Soviet Union had just started and they had apprehension that the object could be from a spy satellite.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Sprawling Maya Network Discovered Under Guatemala Jungle


Hidden Maya Ruins in Guatemala

An international team of scientists together with archaeologist have come together to participate in the PCUNAMLidar– Light Detection and Ranging initiative, charting over 772 square miles of Guatemalan jungle by plane.

Their discoveries have been exposed in digital maps together with augmented reality app. They have come across over 60,000 hidden Maya ruins in Guatemala in a huge archaeological discovery. In order to survey digitally below the forest shelter laser technology – Lidar, had been utilised which revealed houses, elevated highways, palaces together with defensive fortifications. Landscapes known in the vicinity of Maya cities is presumed to have been home to millions of the people besides other research earlier recommended.

The research had recorded over 810 square miles in northern Peten. Archaeologists are of the opinion that the cutting edge technology would bring about a change in the way the Maya civilisation would be seen by the world. Stephen Houston, Professor of Archaeology and anthropology at Brown University had commented that this is one of the greatest advances in over 150 years of Maya archaeology. He informed BBC that after decades of work in the archaeological field, he had observed that the magnitude of the latest survey was breath-taking.

Lidar – Unveils Archaeological Treasures

He further added that it sounds hyperbolic though when he had seen the (Lidar) imagery; it brought tears to his eyes. The results from the research utilising Lidar technology, recommend that Central America sustained an advanced civilisation similar to the sophisticated cultures such as ancient Greece or China.

Ithaca College archaeologist Thomas Garrison had informed BBC that everything had been turned on its head. He was of the belief that the scale as well as the population density had been grossly underestimated and could be actually three or four times more than earlier presumed.

Lidar described as `magic’ by some of the archaeologist tends to unveil archaeological treasures which seem almost invisible to the naked eyes, particularly in the tropics.
  • It is said to be a sophisticated remote sensing technology which utilises laser light to sample the surface of the earth, densely
  • Millions of laser pulses are beamed every four seconds at the ground from a plane or helicopter
  • Wavelengths are measured as they tend to bounce back which is not different from how bats use sonar to hunt
  • The extremely precise measurements are then utilised in order to provide a detailed three dimensional image of the ground surface topography.

Digitally Eliminate Dense Tree Shelter

The team of scholars working on the project utilised Lidar to digitally eliminate the dense tree shelter in order to design a 3D map of what is actually beneath the surface of the now-uninhabited Guatemalan rainforest.

Francisco Estrada-Belli, a Tulane University archaeologist had informed National Geographic that `Lidar is revolutionising archaeology the same way the Hubble Space Telescope revolutionised astronomy and to comprehend what is seen, they would need 100 years to go through all the data.

Archaeologist had meticulouslyrecorded the landscape for years, excavating a Maya site known as El Zotz in northern Guatemala.However the Lidar survey had disclosed kilometres of fortification wall which the team never seemed to notice earlier.

Mr Garrison informed Live Science that probably, ultimately they would have got to this hilltop where this fortress seemed to be, though they were within about 150 feet of it in 2010 and did not observe anything. BBC was informed that while Lidar imagery had saved archaeologist years of on-the-ground searching, it also created a problem.

Recognized Structures – Stone Platforms

Mr Garrison, who is part of a consortium of archaeologist involved in the latest survey, explained that the complicating thing regarding the Lidar is that it gives an image of 3,000 years of Mayan civilisation in the area, in a compressed manner.He further added that though it is a great issue to have, it provides us with new challenges as they learn more about the Maya.

Recently Lidar technology has been utilised in revealing earlier hidden cities near the iconic ancient temple of Angkor Wat in Cambodia. The civilisation of Maya had covered an area around twice the size of medieval England, at its peak around 1,500 years ago, having an estimated population of about five million.

Mr Estrada-Belli had informed that with this new data it was no longer difficult to think that there were 10 to 15 million people there inclusive of several living in low-lying , marshy areas which many had presumed to be uninhabitable.

Most of the 60,000 recently recognized structures are presumed to be of stone platforms which could have supported the average pole and thatch Maya home. The archaeologists were impressed by the incredible defensive features that had been comprised of walls, fortresses together with trenches. Garrison informed that they depicted the Maya had devoted more resources in defending themselves rather than presumed earlier.

Three Year Project – Guatemalan Organisation

One of the hidden discoveries is said to be a pyramid which had been covered in vegetation that tends to be almost lost in the jungle. New insight is being shed on Tikal which is deep in the Guatemalan rainforest.

By utilising Lidar, archaeologist identified an earlier unknown pyramid in the heart of the city which was presumed to be a natural feature. Moreover it was also discovered that the city was three to four times bigger than earlier presumed having extensive defences on its outskirts. The fortification backs the new theory which the ancient engaged in large scale wars, as per National Geographic.

Another surprising discovery which perplexed the archaeologist was the complex network of causeways connecting all the Maya cities in the vicinity. The elevated highways enabling easy passage even during the rainy season had been adequately wide to recommend that they were heavily trafficked and had been utilised for trade.

Mr Houston had stated that the idea of seeing a continuous landscape though understanding everything is linked across several square miles is amazing. He also added that they can expect several more surprises. The Lidar survey was considered to be the first part of a three year project directed by a Guatemalan organisation which tends to promote cultural heritage preservation.

It would ultimately record more than 5,000 sq. miles of the lowlands of Guatemala. The discoveries of the project would be featured in a Channel 4 programmed known as the Lost Cities of the Maya - revealed in airing in the UK on Sunday 11 February – 20.00GMT

Monday, January 29, 2018

UC San Diego Researchers Shed Light on Formation of Black Holes and Galaxies

Black Holes

Supermassive Black Holes – Captivating

Latest discoveries have heighted the understanding of how powerful winds generated by supermassive black holes make an impact on the growth of a galaxy. Professor Shelley Wright of University of California San Diego commented that supermassive black holes are captivating and understanding why and how galaxies seem to be affected by their supermassive black holes tends to be an outstanding puzzle in their formation.

 The researchers of University of California San Diego in the Department of Physics have provided some insight on the formation of supermassive black holes and galaxies. Their discoveries had been published in issue of Astrophysical Journal of December 20, 2017 which had directly influenced the theoretical work on supermassive black holes together with the galaxies’ formation and evolution through cosmic time. Moreover, their work had also provided vital new clues on how black holes influenced the star formation history of galaxies.

 The bright vigorous supermassive black holes are called `quasars’. The researchers, Wright and Vayner, leading and serving as first author on the paper titled `Galactic-scale Feedback Observed in the 3C 298 Quasar Host Galaxy’, had examined the energetics surrounding the powerful quasar-generated winds. Their measurements had placed the distant supermassive black hole and galaxy named 3C 298 at around 9.3 billion light years away.

Galaxy Mass – Associated with Supermassive Black Hole Mass

Wright had explained that they had studied the supermassive black holes in the early universe wherein they had been actively developing by accreting huge amounts of gaseous material. Though black hole themselves do not tend to emit light, the gaseous material they seem to chew on, is heated to the maximum temperature thus enabling them to be the most luminous objects in the universe’.

The research done by the team according to Wright disclosed that the winds blow out through the complete galaxy and affect the growth of stars. She commented that this is remarkable which the supermassive black hole is capable of impacting stars creating at such large distances. The neighbouring galaxies presently portray that the galaxy mass is strongly associated with the supermassive black hole mass.

 The research of Wright and Vayner specifies that 3C 298 is not within the normal scaling relationship between nearby galaxies and the supermassive black holes which hang about towards their centre. However in the early universe, the study portrays that the 3C 298 galaxy is considered to be 100 times less massive than it tends to be given its behemoth supermassive black hole mass which signifies that the supermassive black hole mass had been established much earlier than the galaxy.


Moreover the potentially the energetics from the quasar had been capable of controlling the development of the galaxy. For research purpose, the UC San Diego researchers used several state-of-the-art astronomical facilities, the first being the W. M. Keck Observatory instrument OSIRIS with its advanced optics (AO) system.

The W. M. Keck Observatory telescopes are said to be most scientifically productive on the Earth where the two – 10 meter optical/infrared telescopes on the summit of Maunakea towards the Island of Hawaii tends to feature a suite of advanced instruments comprising of imagers, multi-object spectrographs, integral-field spectrometers, high-resolution spectrographs together with world-leading laser guide star adaptive optics systems.

This enabled ground-based telescope to attain higher quality images by rectifying the blurring that is due to the atmosphere of the Earth and the resulting images seemed to be good like those obtained from space. The second main facility had been the Atacama large Millimeter/submillimeter Array which is known as `ALMA’.

 This is an international observatory in Chile which is capable of detecting millimetre wavelengths utilising up to 66 antennae to accomplish high resolution images of the gas surrounding the quasar. According to Vayner, the most appealing part of researching this galaxy has been in putting together the entire data from various wavelengths and techniques.

Nature of Galaxy/Formation of Supermassive Black Hole 

Each new dataset obtained on this galaxy provided a question and helped in putting some of the pieces of the puzzle together. But at the same time it also developed new questions regarding the nature of galaxy as well as the formation of the supermassiveblack holes.

 In agreement Wright had also commented that the data sets had been tremendously gorgeous from both Keck Observatory as well as ALMA providing immense new information regarding the universe. These discoveries had been the initial results from a bigger survey of distant quasars together with their energetics’ influence on the formation of star and galaxy development.

Vayner along with his team will carry on the developing results on more distant quasars utilising the new facilities as well as the potentials from Keck Observatory and ALMA. The graduate program of the Department of Physics in the Division of Physical Sciences at UC San Diego has been listed #16 as per the U.S. News and World Report ranking. The first students to be enrolled at UC San Diego in 1960 had been graduate student in physics.

Monday, January 8, 2018

A Popular Tool to Trace Earth’s Oxygen History Can Give False Positives

false positives

Updated Tool – Tracing Oxygen

A latest investigation for researchers tracking the ancient history of oxygen in the atmosphere of the Earth could dampen their discovery thrills. According to the study an updated tool utilised in tracing oxygen on examining ancient rock strata could produce false positive and the wilful consequences could conceal the exciting results.

Ligands the commonly known molecules could bias the results of well-known chemical traced called chromium (Cr) isotope system. This is utilised in testing sedimentary rock layers for clues in relation to atmospheric oxygen levels during epoch while the rocks are being formed. Demonstration have been conducted in the lab by the researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology that several ligands could have developed a signal akin to the molecular oxygen.

According to one of the lead authors of the research, Chris Reinhard, there are some geographical locations together with ancient situations wherein measurable signals could have been created which could have no connection with how much oxygen was everywhere. However, the new research could impact how some recent discoveries are evaluated with false positives, but that does not mean the tool is not useful.

Chromium Isotope System – Great Indicator of Atmospheric Oxygen Levels

Yuanzhi Tang, co-leading the study commented that they are not attempting to revolutionize the way the tool is viewed as false positives. It is about comprehending its possible limitation in discerning the use of it in particular cases.

The team’s results had been published in a study on November 17, 2017, in the journal Nature Communications, by Tang and Reinhard, assistant professors of biogeochemistry in Georgia Tech’s School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. Financial support had been provided by the NASA Astrobiology Institute, the NASA Exobiology program together with the Agouron Institute.

Tang had commented that on a global level, the chromium isotope system is yet a great indicator of atmospheric oxygen levels through the ages and the issue exposed in the lab tends to be more local with isolated samples, particularly during eras when there was not much atmospheric oxygen.

Ligands, deprived of a dominant oxygen presence tend to make a great reactive substitute as demonstrated by the researchers in reaction with chromium. Just like oxygen, ligands are inclined to strongly attract electron pairs, which is what symbolizes them as chemical group.

Earth – Massive Chemical Laboratory

Similar to reactions with oxygen, reactions with ligands permits metals such as chromium to move around with ease in the world. Researchers, in this instance, had been concerned in organic ligands, which tend to contain carbon.

They had been more suitable to counterpart the mobility effect of oxygen on chromium which made it end up as the signals in sedimentary rock that the scientists presently looked for as a sign of ancient atmospheric oxygen.

The chromium isotope system tends to work thus followed by how organic ligands tend to make for false positives – The Earth, a massive chemical laboratory performing reactions in conditions tend to differ from arctic cold to volcanic heat, thus from crushing ocean depths to no-pressure upper atmospheres. Waves and winds tend to sweep about the materials like turbulent conveyor belts, dropping some in sediments which later on turn to stone.

Earth Lacking O2

Chemical reaction that had been discovered in the research, including manganese oxide handing off oxygen to chromium could be somewhat like adding pontoons to chromium compounds. Earth’s atmosphere, for billions of years had been almost lacking of O2 though after oxygen had begun growing particularly in the last 800 million years, became the overbearing oxidizer.

 Characteristics of chromium deposits in ancient layers of rock had become a great indicator of how much O2 was in the atmosphere. Presently researchers tend to test deep rock layer samples for the link between two chromium isotopes, 53Cr, by far the most common Cr isotope while 53Cr to acquire a read on oxygen existence across geological eras.

According to Reinhard, `you powder the rock up, dissolve it with acid and then measure the ratio of 53Cr to 52Cr in the material by utilising mass spectrometry. It is the ratio which matters and will be controlled by a range of complex processes though generally speaking, elevated 53Cr in ocean sediment rock tends to indicate oxygen in the atmosphere’.

Cr Isotopes - Staple

Cr isotopes are said to be stable and do not go through radioactive decay and hence the system does not function the way radiocarbon dating does that depend on the decay of carbon 14. Tang’s team had portrayed in the lab with a small assortment of organic ligands that reaction of chromium with ligands had led to 53Cr/52Cr signals which had nearly represented those stemming from oxygen-chromium reactions.

Tang had mentioned that ligands tend to have the potential of mobilizing chromium also. Ligands in fact could be a significant factor in controlling chromium isotope signals in certain rock records. Organic ligands had probably been around much before the atmosphere of the Earth had been filled up with O2. Presently hundreds of millions of years thereafter, the reactions took place, and it is basically impossible to find out if oxygen or ligands had been at work.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Puzzling patches in Earth’s interior billions of years in the making, Stanford researchers find


Scientific Anomaly – Insights to Deep Processes of Earth

According to Stanford researchers, chemical reaction with ancient seawater and iron in mantle over eons of the Earth illuminates the formation of mysterious blobs in the interior of the planet which tends to damp down passing seismic waves.

Scientists have been confused for decades, with these thin patches of dense rock which have been placed around 1,800 miles below the surface of the Earth, just above the core-mantle boundary which seems to isolate the molten metal heart of the planet from its rocky shell. They tend to be prominent from their surroundings since the seismic waves created by earthquakes tend to slow down by a tenth to a third of their usual speed when they sweep across.

These dampening zones, apart from being a scientific anomaly, could also offer insights in the other deep processes of the Earth according to research leader, Wendy Mao, an associate professor of geological sciences at School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences of Stanford.

The information regarding the regions considered as ultra-low velocity zones or ULVZs takes place at the core-mantle boundary tends to be interesting since it recommends that the core and mantle of the Earth tends to interrelate to a much greater extent than had been earlier valued.

ULVZs – Origins of Molten Plumes 

According to Mao there is evidence that ULVZs are the origins of molten plumes which tend to feed volcanoes towards the surface and hence ULVZs could indicate a considerable amount of cycling between the core, mantle and surface of the Earth than speculated. The composite as well as the origins of the zones tend to remain a unknown owing to their extreme depths.

 However in the latest researcher published online in the journal Nature, which is an international team of researchers headed by Mao, have provided a new theory explaining how they tend to be formed. The device which has been proposed by them is established on their latest discovery of a novel kind of oxygen-rich iron compound which is inclined to form spontaneously in great heat and pressure, conditions which are present in the lowermost mantle region of the Earth.

Mao’s team while experimenting in the lab at Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois, had compressed slivers of iron foil suspended in pure water to around 90 gigapascals or about 900,000 times the pressure at sea level laser heating them to 3,000-4,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

Super-Oxygenated Iron 

The consequence of this is a super-oxygenated type of iron which is packed with around a third more oxygen molecule than the most oxygen rich oxides which tend to occur beneath the surface conditions. The team also portrayed that their compound shares several of the seismic waves dampening properties shown by the low velocity zones.

Jin Liu, study first author, a postdoctoral researcher in the lab of Mao stated that the low sound speeds calculated for compound tend to match precisely to what was observed seismically in ULVZs. Moreover, the oxygen-rich iron created by the team in the lab had the tendency to form easily at the core-mantle boundary.

Mao commented that this reaction needed only iron and water and as long as one has these components and the accurate temperature together with pressure conditions, this compound tend to form.

These eerie space ‘sounds’ recorded by NASA are creepy enough to make your skin crawl

NASA – Release of Set of Eerie Recordings of Sound from Space

Sky-high to the pits of our universe, magnanimous spacecraft tend to journey the universe, snapping images of astronomic wonders and some of the spacecraft tend to have instruments, with the potential of capturing radio emissions. When the scientists have the possibility of changing these to sound waves the consequences seem to be strange to hear.

NASA has released a set of eerie recordings of sound from space wherein the set of auto files can be accessed through SoundCloud. From the space agency a statement read thus `Soaring to the depths of our universe, gallant spacecraft roam the cosmos, snapping images of celestial wonders. Some spaceships have devices capable of capturing radio emissions. When scientists alter these to sound waves, the results are eerie to hear.

Space scientists at NASA at times tend to take signals from beyond the mortal realm of human senses inclusive of radio waves, plasma waves as well as magnetic fields converting them into audio tracks. This smart hack is known as data sonification which helps the researchers `hear’ what tends to go on with their far-flung spacecraft around planets, comets, moons together with the other locations. The consequences often tend to be ear-splitting though at times the audio seems to be scary.

Accumulation of Out-Space Sounds 


The space agency at NASA had mentioned in a release that they have put together an accumulation of 22 outer-space sounds elusive `sounds’ of howling planets and whistling helium which is sure to make your skin crawl. The following are some of the spookiest tract and what they tend to represent:
Juno Crossing Jupiter’s Bow Shock

The First Juno Crossing Jupiter’s Bow Shock is said to be the sound of the spacecraft of NASA moving across the gas giant’s magnetic field where the whistling sound tends to turn abruptly into a deeper boom as the Juno passes from an atmosphere controlled by solar wind to the magnetosphere of Jupiter. Juno of NASA searched around Jupiter every few weeks at a speed of around 130,000 mph working through all types of invisible fields in the progression.

It is said that one of the toughest undetected signals encountered by the robot was Jupiter’s bow shock, the point wherein the magnetic field of the planet pushes back against the howling wind of incoming particles from the sun giving rise to something similar to a sonic boom. The said audio is considered to be about two hours’ substance of electric field signal compressed into few seconds which seems unnerving.

Stardust Passing Comet Tempel 1

It is a recording of a comet flyby in 2011. The Stardust spacecraft of NASA had been bombarded with dust particles from the comet and the is what can be heard in the recording. The spacecraft had been hit by about 5,000 bits of rock, ice and dust, over a period of 11 minutes.

It is said to be one of the few true audio-like recordings from space wherein the sound is the result of the Stardust spacecraft passing through the dust of comet Tempel 1, ringing the body of the robot with debris.

Cassini Saturn Radio Emissions # 1 

The nuclear-powered Cassini spacecraft of NASA had spent 13 years traveling around Saturn and its system of possibly habitable moons. The Radio Emission of Saturn had been recorded with the Cassini spacecraft when it had recently plunged in the atmosphere of the planet bringing about the long mission to an end.

Saturn is said to be a source of intense radio emission which are related to the auroras of the planet near its poles. The said audio track which tends to be scary is actually radio waves that are emanated by the giant planet through an incidence similar to the once which tends to cause auroras on Earth.

NASA’s Polar Satellite – Plasmaspheric Hiss 

The Earth is said to be encircled in plasma, hot, ionized constituent parts created by sunlight crashing in the atmosphere. The Polar mission of NASA that was launched in 1996 had recorded this breath-like hiss of the plasma when it had orbited the planet.

Out beyond the plasmasphere, where the plasma tend to be shaky and comparatively warm, whistler mode waves seem to produce mostly rising chirps similar to a flock of noisy birds and this kind of wave is known as chorus. The same is created when electrons tend to be pushed towards the night area of the Earth which in some instances could be the result of magnetic reconnections.

It could be a dynamic explosion of jumbled magnetic field lines towards the dark area of the Earth. They tend to interact with particles in the plasma, imparting their energy, creating a exclusive rising tone when these low energy electrons hit the plasma.

Jupiter’s Largest Moon Ganymede – Beware 

NASA has not mentioned which spacecraft had recorded these weird radio emissions from the largest moon Ganymede of Jupiter though there was a possibility of the Galileo spacecraft that had orbited the system for around eight years. Irrespective of what the case may be, changing the data into audio tends to make it sound like screams trying to break through from an unearthly plane.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Mystery of the 230 Foot Long Killer Whale Geoglyph Found

Credit: Johny Isla

Lost Geoglyph – Representation of a Killer Whale

A long lost geoglyph has been discovered by archaeologist that has been carved in the remote Palpa region of southern Peru in the Peruvian hillside. Palpa is situated near the province of Nazca – home to the extensive region of ‘Nazca Lines’, drawn by the Nazca people between 100 BC and AD 800.

This amazing representation of a killer whale extents more than 200 feet and is presumed to date back over 2,000 years, thus making it one of the oldest than those of the famous Nazca Lines which is in close proximity. According to experts the people who had once inhabited the region considered the orca as a powerful marine deity and the said geoglyph could be among the ancient in the region.

They state that the killer whale was probably created by removal of layer of stones along the landscape outlining its figure. Though the method has been similar to the one utilised by the Nazca culture, the researchers state that there are variations between the two, signifying that the Palpa orca tends to be much older. The eyes of the orca together with the other areas of the design are said to be made by piling the stones.

Location & Size - Not Defined

According to the researchers, this had been a trademark of the Paracas culture that had inhabited the region from 800 BC to 200 BC. The Paracas culture as per the Bradshaw Foundation was an Andean society well-known to have extensive information of irrigation and water management.

The people of this ancient period, beside the remarkable geoglyphs, also made incredible textiles. The orca geoglyph had been located by a team of German archaeologists in the 1960s though for decades thereafter, was considered lost as per the Bradshaw Foundation.

As per the records, few traces of it prevailed though it was eventually located once again due to efforts led by Johny Isla, head of the Ica branch of the Ministry of Culture in Ica Province of Peru. The orca engraving measuring 230-foot long had been identified in the Palpa region of southern Peru.

As per the reports of Live Science, at first, the team made an effort to locate it by scouring Google Earth but its location as well as size had not been well defined. Johny Isla has mentioned in an email to Live Science, that the location and size of the orca geoglyph have not been well-described in the catalog.

Disappearing Due to Erosion

According to Live Science, the team had come back to this area in order to re-establish and clean the geoglyph. Ultimately in January 2015, the archaeologist decided to venture on foot and located it after several months of searching.

The immense orca drawing before restoration was disappearing due to erosion over a period of time. Being craved on a slope it become prone to damage than those figures which are in flat areas like those of the Nazca Pampa according to Isla.

The experts have now warned that the freshly revived site is said to be in danger of `land traffickers’ who have hazarded their claims and have threaten to build on the land.