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20 June 2021

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  • Astronomers Find a Blinking Star Near the Center of the Milky Way
    20 June 2021

    In this week’s edition of new unexplained astronomical phenomena, a team of astronomers led by Dr. Leigh Smith from Cambridge found a star 100 times larger than our sun that nearly disappears from the sky every few decades.  They also have no idea why it does so.

    The star, called VVV-WIT-08, is located 25,000 light years away, and decreases in brightness by a factor of 30 rather than disappearing altogether.  It’s not the first star to be discovered with this changing brightness pattern, but evidence is beginning to mount that this might just be another example of a new class of stars.

    UT Video discussing one potential reason for the dimming – transiting

    VVV-WIT-08’s name itself is calling out for an explanation.  The “WIT” in the middle actually stands for “what is this”, which is what astronomers call stars that are difficult to classify into any particular established category. 

    The team, which included members from the University of Edinburgh, University of Hertfordshire, University of Warsaw, and Universidad Andres Bellow in Chile, found this new variable star by using the VISTA Variables in the Via Lactea survey (VVV), which utilizes the VISTA telescope in Chile.  Its dimming pattern was then confirmed using the Optical Gravitational Lensing Experiment (OGLE), which showed the star dimming in both infrared and visible light.

    The VISTA telescope in its dome at sunset. Its primary mirror is 4.1 meters wide.
    Credit – G. Hüdepohl/ESO.

    Astronomers think the most likely cause of this dimming process are opaque disks of dust and gas, or potentially a binary companion or planet transiting in front of the star.  But more novel explanations cannot yet be ruled out.  With more stars steadily being added to this new category of “blinking giants”, it’s only a matter of time before more theories abound on what could be causing the dimming.  And there’s still so many more phenomena to find and explanations to explore.

    Learn More:
    Cambridge – Astronomers spot a ‘blinking giant’ near the centre of the Galaxy
    Royal Astronomical Society – VVV-WIT-08: the giant star that blinked
    Sci-News – Giant ‘Blinking’ Star Spotted in Milky Way’s Central Region

    Lead Image:
    Artist’s impression VVV-WIT-08
    Credit: Amanda Smith

    The post Astronomers Find a Blinking Star Near the Center of the Milky Way appeared first on Universe Today.

  • Apollo 17 Astronauts Brought Home Samples From the Oldest Impact Crater on the Moon
    20 June 2021

    Internal geological processes on the moon are almost non-existent.  However, when it gets smacked by a space rock, its surface can change dramatically.  Debris from that impact can also travel over large distances, transplanting material from one impact site hundreds of kilometers away, where it can remain untouched in its inert environment for billions of years.  

    So when Apollo 17 astronauts took regolith samples at their landing site near Serenitatis Basin, they collected not only rocks from the basin itself, but from other impacts that had happened billions of years ago.  Differentiating material that actually formed part of the Basin from material that landed their after an impact has proven difficult.

    Apollo 17 astronaut Harrison Schmitt collecting a soil sample in Serenitatis basin, his spacesuit coated with dust.
    Credit: NASA

    One nearby impact in particular caused problems – material from the impact that created the Imbrium basin made up the majority of samples taken by the Apollo 17 astronauts.  Located slightly to the northwest of Serenitatis, this basin was caused by a much larger impact, which also happened much more recently than the one that created Serenitatis.  

    Despite that age difference, it is hard to differentiate rocks from one basin or another just by looking at them.  A particular rock did stand out though – known as the Station 8 boulder after the geological station it was found next to, it did form as part of the Serenitatis basin rather than its younger neighbor.  It also surprised scientists with its age.

    Image of the Station 8 Boulder from the Apollo 17 archives. It’s sample turns out to be the oldest of all those collected by Apollo 17 astronauts.
    Credit – NASA

    Previous estimates of the age of the basin put it at 3.8-3.9 billion years.  However, analysis of the phosphate materials in the sample returned from the Station 8 boulder show its age to be closer to 4.2 billion years.  That would make it one of the oldest craters on the moon, having formed only approximately 300 million years after the moon itself.

    With plenty of manned moon missions on the horizon, this certainly won’t be the last time samples will be gathered from the basin.  And the techniques the scientists, led by a team at the Open University, used are applicable to other missions such as the sample return mission currently on its way back from Bennu.  Maybe in the future a crater will be found that’s even older than Serenitatis – but for now, it looks like we already have a sample of some of the oldest rocks possible from the moon.

    Learn More:
    The Open University – Lunar samples record impact 4.2 billion years ago that may have formed one of the oldest craters on the Moon
    NASA – NASA Opens Previously Unopened Apollo Sample Ahead of Artemis Missions
    UT – NASA Has a New Challenge to Bring Frozen Samples of the Moon Back to Earth

    Lead Image:
    Image of the moon highlighted with the two basins mentioned in the article. Serenitatis is shown with the Apollo 17 landing site demarcated.
    Credit: Wikipedia

    The post Apollo 17 Astronauts Brought Home Samples From the Oldest Impact Crater on the Moon appeared first on Universe Today.

  • Afraid of The Dark? Blame Your Brain, Not Monsters Under The Bed
    20 June 2021

    Leave the light on.

  • Unearthing Neanderthal Population History Using Ancient Nuclear DNA From Cave Sediments
    20 June 2021

    Mitochondrial DNA of archaic humans has been retrieved from cave sediments, but it has limited value for studying population relationships. Now, researchers present a method...

    The post Unearthing Neanderthal Population History Using Ancient Nuclear DNA From Cave Sediments appeared first on SciTechDaily.

  • Doubling Down on Headache Pain: Effective Combo of Common Drugs
    20 June 2021

    Study says combo of common drugs may provide headache relief after injury. It’s not uncommon for people who experience a concussion to have moderate to...

    The post Doubling Down on Headache Pain: Effective Combo of Common Drugs appeared first on SciTechDaily.

  • Researchers explore microbial ecosystem in search of drugs to fight SARS-CoV-2
    20 June 2021
    Researchers from Yonsei University in South Korea have found that certain commensal bacteria that reside in the human intestine produce compounds that inhibit SARS-CoV-2.
  • During COVID-19 pandemic, increased screen time correlates with mental distress
    20 June 2021
    Increased screen time among young adults during the COVID-19 pandemic correlated with a rise in pandemic-related distress, according to research led by investigators at the Saint James School of Medicine on the Caribbean island nation, Saint Vincent. The increase in time spent viewing entertainment on a screen both prior to and during the pandemic was associated with a boost in anxiety scores.
  • New technique allows for identification of potential drugs to fight resistant bacteria
    20 June 2021
    Researchers from the Miami University in Ohio have optimized a new technique that will allow scientists to evaluate how potential inhibitors work on antibiotic-resistant bacteria. This technique, called native state mass spectrometry, provides a quick way for scientists to identify the best candidates for effective clinical drugs, particularly in cases where bacteria can no longer be treated with antibiotics alone.
  • Study evaluates potential causes of increased transmission in SARS-CoV-2 variants
    20 June 2021
    Although two SARS-CoV-2 variants are associated with higher transmission, patients with these variants show no evidence of higher viral loads in their upper respiratory tracts compared to the control group, a Johns Hopkins School of Medicine study found.
  • Rabid Dog Imported Into U.S., At Least 12 People Exposed
    20 June 2021
    This has led a to multi-state investigation to try to keep the rabies virus from become re-established in the U.S.

Science blogs

Science Blogs

20 June 2021

Science Blogs Science Blogs
  • Aussie Acting Prime Minister: “Hell Will Freeze Over Before I Start Listening to the Greens” on Climate Change
    20 June 2021
    A hilarious week in Australia politics, during which acting PM Michael McCormack has labeled the Aussie Greens leader a "traitor to Australia", because the green leader wrote to foreign governments dissing the climate credentials the new Aussie OECD head Mathias Cormann.
  • Astronomers Find a Blinking Star Near the Center of the Milky Way
    20 June 2021

    In this week’s edition of new unexplained astronomical phenomena, a team of astronomers led by Dr. Leigh Smith from Cambridge found a star 100 times larger than our sun that nearly disappears from the sky every few decades.  They also have no idea why it does so.

    The star, called VVV-WIT-08, is located 25,000 light years away, and decreases in brightness by a factor of 30 rather than disappearing altogether.  It’s not the first star to be discovered with this changing brightness pattern, but evidence is beginning to mount that this might just be another example of a new class of stars.

    UT Video discussing one potential reason for the dimming – transiting

    VVV-WIT-08’s name itself is calling out for an explanation.  The “WIT” in the middle actually stands for “what is this”, which is what astronomers call stars that are difficult to classify into any particular established category. 

    The team, which included members from the University of Edinburgh, University of Hertfordshire, University of Warsaw, and Universidad Andres Bellow in Chile, found this new variable star by using the VISTA Variables in the Via Lactea survey (VVV), which utilizes the VISTA telescope in Chile.  Its dimming pattern was then confirmed using the Optical Gravitational Lensing Experiment (OGLE), which showed the star dimming in both infrared and visible light.

    The VISTA telescope in its dome at sunset. Its primary mirror is 4.1 meters wide.
    Credit – G. Hüdepohl/ESO.

    Astronomers think the most likely cause of this dimming process are opaque disks of dust and gas, or potentially a binary companion or planet transiting in front of the star.  But more novel explanations cannot yet be ruled out.  With more stars steadily being added to this new category of “blinking giants”, it’s only a matter of time before more theories abound on what could be causing the dimming.  And there’s still so many more phenomena to find and explanations to explore.

    Learn More:
    Cambridge – Astronomers spot a ‘blinking giant’ near the centre of the Galaxy
    Royal Astronomical Society – VVV-WIT-08: the giant star that blinked
    Sci-News – Giant ‘Blinking’ Star Spotted in Milky Way’s Central Region

    Lead Image:
    Artist’s impression VVV-WIT-08
    Credit: Amanda Smith

    The post Astronomers Find a Blinking Star Near the Center of the Milky Way appeared first on Universe Today.

  • Apollo 17 Astronauts Brought Home Samples From the Oldest Impact Crater on the Moon
    20 June 2021

    Internal geological processes on the moon are almost non-existent.  However, when it gets smacked by a space rock, its surface can change dramatically.  Debris from that impact can also travel over large distances, transplanting material from one impact site hundreds of kilometers away, where it can remain untouched in its inert environment for billions of years.  

    So when Apollo 17 astronauts took regolith samples at their landing site near Serenitatis Basin, they collected not only rocks from the basin itself, but from other impacts that had happened billions of years ago.  Differentiating material that actually formed part of the Basin from material that landed their after an impact has proven difficult.

    Apollo 17 astronaut Harrison Schmitt collecting a soil sample in Serenitatis basin, his spacesuit coated with dust.
    Credit: NASA

    One nearby impact in particular caused problems – material from the impact that created the Imbrium basin made up the majority of samples taken by the Apollo 17 astronauts.  Located slightly to the northwest of Serenitatis, this basin was caused by a much larger impact, which also happened much more recently than the one that created Serenitatis.  

    Despite that age difference, it is hard to differentiate rocks from one basin or another just by looking at them.  A particular rock did stand out though – known as the Station 8 boulder after the geological station it was found next to, it did form as part of the Serenitatis basin rather than its younger neighbor.  It also surprised scientists with its age.

    Image of the Station 8 Boulder from the Apollo 17 archives. It’s sample turns out to be the oldest of all those collected by Apollo 17 astronauts.
    Credit – NASA

    Previous estimates of the age of the basin put it at 3.8-3.9 billion years.  However, analysis of the phosphate materials in the sample returned from the Station 8 boulder show its age to be closer to 4.2 billion years.  That would make it one of the oldest craters on the moon, having formed only approximately 300 million years after the moon itself.

    With plenty of manned moon missions on the horizon, this certainly won’t be the last time samples will be gathered from the basin.  And the techniques the scientists, led by a team at the Open University, used are applicable to other missions such as the sample return mission currently on its way back from Bennu.  Maybe in the future a crater will be found that’s even older than Serenitatis – but for now, it looks like we already have a sample of some of the oldest rocks possible from the moon.

    Learn More:
    The Open University – Lunar samples record impact 4.2 billion years ago that may have formed one of the oldest craters on the Moon
    NASA – NASA Opens Previously Unopened Apollo Sample Ahead of Artemis Missions
    UT – NASA Has a New Challenge to Bring Frozen Samples of the Moon Back to Earth

    Lead Image:
    Image of the moon highlighted with the two basins mentioned in the article. Serenitatis is shown with the Apollo 17 landing site demarcated.
    Credit: Wikipedia

    The post Apollo 17 Astronauts Brought Home Samples From the Oldest Impact Crater on the Moon appeared first on Universe Today.

  • Afraid of The Dark? Blame Your Brain, Not Monsters Under The Bed
    20 June 2021

    Leave the light on.

  • Unearthing Neanderthal Population History Using Ancient Nuclear DNA From Cave Sediments
    20 June 2021

    Mitochondrial DNA of archaic humans has been retrieved from cave sediments, but it has limited value for studying population relationships. Now, researchers present a method...

    The post Unearthing Neanderthal Population History Using Ancient Nuclear DNA From Cave Sediments appeared first on SciTechDaily.

  • Doubling Down on Headache Pain: Effective Combo of Common Drugs
    20 June 2021

    Study says combo of common drugs may provide headache relief after injury. It’s not uncommon for people who experience a concussion to have moderate to...

    The post Doubling Down on Headache Pain: Effective Combo of Common Drugs appeared first on SciTechDaily.

  • Researchers explore microbial ecosystem in search of drugs to fight SARS-CoV-2
    20 June 2021
    Researchers from Yonsei University in South Korea have found that certain commensal bacteria that reside in the human intestine produce compounds that inhibit SARS-CoV-2.
  • During COVID-19 pandemic, increased screen time correlates with mental distress
    20 June 2021
    Increased screen time among young adults during the COVID-19 pandemic correlated with a rise in pandemic-related distress, according to research led by investigators at the Saint James School of Medicine on the Caribbean island nation, Saint Vincent. The increase in time spent viewing entertainment on a screen both prior to and during the pandemic was associated with a boost in anxiety scores.
  • New technique allows for identification of potential drugs to fight resistant bacteria
    20 June 2021
    Researchers from the Miami University in Ohio have optimized a new technique that will allow scientists to evaluate how potential inhibitors work on antibiotic-resistant bacteria. This technique, called native state mass spectrometry, provides a quick way for scientists to identify the best candidates for effective clinical drugs, particularly in cases where bacteria can no longer be treated with antibiotics alone.
  • Study evaluates potential causes of increased transmission in SARS-CoV-2 variants
    20 June 2021
    Although two SARS-CoV-2 variants are associated with higher transmission, patients with these variants show no evidence of higher viral loads in their upper respiratory tracts compared to the control group, a Johns Hopkins School of Medicine study found.

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Health Science blogs

Science Blogs

20 June 2021

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  • Astronomers Find a Blinking Star Near the Center of the Milky Way
    20 June 2021

    In this week’s edition of new unexplained astronomical phenomena, a team of astronomers led by Dr. Leigh Smith from Cambridge found a star 100 times larger than our sun that nearly disappears from the sky every few decades.  They also have no idea why it does so.

    The star, called VVV-WIT-08, is located 25,000 light years away, and decreases in brightness by a factor of 30 rather than disappearing altogether.  It’s not the first star to be discovered with this changing brightness pattern, but evidence is beginning to mount that this might just be another example of a new class of stars.

    UT Video discussing one potential reason for the dimming – transiting

    VVV-WIT-08’s name itself is calling out for an explanation.  The “WIT” in the middle actually stands for “what is this”, which is what astronomers call stars that are difficult to classify into any particular established category. 

    The team, which included members from the University of Edinburgh, University of Hertfordshire, University of Warsaw, and Universidad Andres Bellow in Chile, found this new variable star by using the VISTA Variables in the Via Lactea survey (VVV), which utilizes the VISTA telescope in Chile.  Its dimming pattern was then confirmed using the Optical Gravitational Lensing Experiment (OGLE), which showed the star dimming in both infrared and visible light.

    The VISTA telescope in its dome at sunset. Its primary mirror is 4.1 meters wide.
    Credit – G. Hüdepohl/ESO.

    Astronomers think the most likely cause of this dimming process are opaque disks of dust and gas, or potentially a binary companion or planet transiting in front of the star.  But more novel explanations cannot yet be ruled out.  With more stars steadily being added to this new category of “blinking giants”, it’s only a matter of time before more theories abound on what could be causing the dimming.  And there’s still so many more phenomena to find and explanations to explore.

    Learn More:
    Cambridge – Astronomers spot a ‘blinking giant’ near the centre of the Galaxy
    Royal Astronomical Society – VVV-WIT-08: the giant star that blinked
    Sci-News – Giant ‘Blinking’ Star Spotted in Milky Way’s Central Region

    Lead Image:
    Artist’s impression VVV-WIT-08
    Credit: Amanda Smith

    The post Astronomers Find a Blinking Star Near the Center of the Milky Way appeared first on Universe Today.

  • Apollo 17 Astronauts Brought Home Samples From the Oldest Impact Crater on the Moon
    20 June 2021

    Internal geological processes on the moon are almost non-existent.  However, when it gets smacked by a space rock, its surface can change dramatically.  Debris from that impact can also travel over large distances, transplanting material from one impact site hundreds of kilometers away, where it can remain untouched in its inert environment for billions of years.  

    So when Apollo 17 astronauts took regolith samples at their landing site near Serenitatis Basin, they collected not only rocks from the basin itself, but from other impacts that had happened billions of years ago.  Differentiating material that actually formed part of the Basin from material that landed their after an impact has proven difficult.

    Apollo 17 astronaut Harrison Schmitt collecting a soil sample in Serenitatis basin, his spacesuit coated with dust.
    Credit: NASA

    One nearby impact in particular caused problems – material from the impact that created the Imbrium basin made up the majority of samples taken by the Apollo 17 astronauts.  Located slightly to the northwest of Serenitatis, this basin was caused by a much larger impact, which also happened much more recently than the one that created Serenitatis.  

    Despite that age difference, it is hard to differentiate rocks from one basin or another just by looking at them.  A particular rock did stand out though – known as the Station 8 boulder after the geological station it was found next to, it did form as part of the Serenitatis basin rather than its younger neighbor.  It also surprised scientists with its age.

    Image of the Station 8 Boulder from the Apollo 17 archives. It’s sample turns out to be the oldest of all those collected by Apollo 17 astronauts.
    Credit – NASA

    Previous estimates of the age of the basin put it at 3.8-3.9 billion years.  However, analysis of the phosphate materials in the sample returned from the Station 8 boulder show its age to be closer to 4.2 billion years.  That would make it one of the oldest craters on the moon, having formed only approximately 300 million years after the moon itself.

    With plenty of manned moon missions on the horizon, this certainly won’t be the last time samples will be gathered from the basin.  And the techniques the scientists, led by a team at the Open University, used are applicable to other missions such as the sample return mission currently on its way back from Bennu.  Maybe in the future a crater will be found that’s even older than Serenitatis – but for now, it looks like we already have a sample of some of the oldest rocks possible from the moon.

    Learn More:
    The Open University – Lunar samples record impact 4.2 billion years ago that may have formed one of the oldest craters on the Moon
    NASA – NASA Opens Previously Unopened Apollo Sample Ahead of Artemis Missions
    UT – NASA Has a New Challenge to Bring Frozen Samples of the Moon Back to Earth

    Lead Image:
    Image of the moon highlighted with the two basins mentioned in the article. Serenitatis is shown with the Apollo 17 landing site demarcated.
    Credit: Wikipedia

    The post Apollo 17 Astronauts Brought Home Samples From the Oldest Impact Crater on the Moon appeared first on Universe Today.

  • Afraid of The Dark? Blame Your Brain, Not Monsters Under The Bed
    20 June 2021

    Leave the light on.

  • Unearthing Neanderthal Population History Using Ancient Nuclear DNA From Cave Sediments
    20 June 2021

    Mitochondrial DNA of archaic humans has been retrieved from cave sediments, but it has limited value for studying population relationships. Now, researchers present a method...

    The post Unearthing Neanderthal Population History Using Ancient Nuclear DNA From Cave Sediments appeared first on SciTechDaily.

  • Doubling Down on Headache Pain: Effective Combo of Common Drugs
    20 June 2021

    Study says combo of common drugs may provide headache relief after injury. It’s not uncommon for people who experience a concussion to have moderate to...

    The post Doubling Down on Headache Pain: Effective Combo of Common Drugs appeared first on SciTechDaily.

  • Researchers explore microbial ecosystem in search of drugs to fight SARS-CoV-2
    20 June 2021
    Researchers from Yonsei University in South Korea have found that certain commensal bacteria that reside in the human intestine produce compounds that inhibit SARS-CoV-2.
  • During COVID-19 pandemic, increased screen time correlates with mental distress
    20 June 2021
    Increased screen time among young adults during the COVID-19 pandemic correlated with a rise in pandemic-related distress, according to research led by investigators at the Saint James School of Medicine on the Caribbean island nation, Saint Vincent. The increase in time spent viewing entertainment on a screen both prior to and during the pandemic was associated with a boost in anxiety scores.
  • New technique allows for identification of potential drugs to fight resistant bacteria
    20 June 2021
    Researchers from the Miami University in Ohio have optimized a new technique that will allow scientists to evaluate how potential inhibitors work on antibiotic-resistant bacteria. This technique, called native state mass spectrometry, provides a quick way for scientists to identify the best candidates for effective clinical drugs, particularly in cases where bacteria can no longer be treated with antibiotics alone.
  • Study evaluates potential causes of increased transmission in SARS-CoV-2 variants
    20 June 2021
    Although two SARS-CoV-2 variants are associated with higher transmission, patients with these variants show no evidence of higher viral loads in their upper respiratory tracts compared to the control group, a Johns Hopkins School of Medicine study found.
  • Rabid Dog Imported Into U.S., At Least 12 People Exposed
    20 June 2021
    This has led a to multi-state investigation to try to keep the rabies virus from become re-established in the U.S.

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