Tag Archives: Hubble

Science Shorts 20100616

Life-like image of the Hundsheim rhinoOutliving the Ice Age: Tale of a Rhinoceros (ScienceDaily) >
Species extinction is a fundamental part of evolution: the best adapted species survives, while others die out. A new study shows why, after 800,000 years of successful survival, a species of rhinoceros suddenly disappeared.

Sharper than Hubble: Large Binocular Telescope achieves major breakthrough (PhysOrg)
The next generation of adaptive optics has arrived at the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) in Arizona, providing astronomers with a new level of image sharpness never before seen. Developed in a collaboration between Italy`s Arcetri Observatory of the Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica (INAF) and the University of Arizona`s Steward Observatory, this technology represents a remarkable step forward for astronomy.

Insomniacs have different brains, researcher says (ScienceDaily)
The brains of older adults with chronic sleep problems look different from those of adults who have enjoyed enough sleep. Yet the older adults function well despite their lack of sleep. They switch to a continuous form of mild stress, as a result of which they sometimes even perform better than contemporaries who enjoy a good night’s sleep, according to a Dutch researcher.

Experience shapes the brain’s circuitry throughout adulthood (EurekAlert!)
The adult brain, long considered to be fixed in its wiring, is in fact remarkably dynamic. Neuroscientists once thought that the brain’s wiring was fixed early in life, during a critical period beyond which changes were impossible. Recent discoveries have challenged that view, and now, research by scientists at Rockefeller University suggests that circuits in the adult brain are continually modified by experience.

Massive black holes ‘switched on’ by galaxy collision (PhysOrg)
The centre of most galaxies harbours a massive black hole. Our Milky Way galaxy is one of these – the exotic object there however is reasonably calm, unlike some super-massive gravity monsters in other galaxies. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics and other institutions around the world have now analysed 199 of these galaxies and discovered what makes the black holes at the galaxy centres become active: The black holes were “switched on” some 700 million years ago after major galaxy merger events.

Continue reading Science Shorts 20100616

Science Shorts 20100520

scienceHubble Finds Star Eating a Planet
The hottest known planet in the Milky Way galaxy may also be its shortest-lived world. The doomed planet is being eaten by its parent star, according to observations made by a new instrument on NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph (COS). The planet may only have another 10 million years left before it is completely devoured.

Evolution of whale size linked to diet
The wide range of body sizes among whales arose early in their evolution and was associated with changes in diet, according to a new study by researchers at UC Davis and UCLA. The study appears in today’s (May 20) issue of the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

The sound of seduction
Flirtation may seem largely visual — the preening, the coy eye contact — but voice plays a role, too.

First ‘synthetic life’: Scientists ‘boot up’ a bacterial cell with a synthetic genome
Scientists have developed the first cell controlled by a synthetic genome. They now hope to use this method to probe the basic machinery of life and to engineer bacteria specially designed to solve environmental or energy problems.

Brightest galaxies tend to cluster in busiest parts of universe, study finds
For more than a decade, astronomers have been puzzled by bright galaxies in the distant universe that appear to be forming stars at phenomenal rates. What prompted the prolific star creation, they wondered. And what kind of spatial environment did these galaxies inhabit?

Probing the dark side of the universe
Advancing into the next frontier in astrophysics and cosmology depends on our ability to detect the presence of a particular type of wave in space, a primordial gravitational wave. Much like ripples moving across a pond, these waves stretch the fabric of space itself as they pass by. If detected, these weak and elusive waves could provide an unprecedented view of the earliest moments of our universe. In an article appearing in the May 21 issue of Science, Arizona State University theoretical physicist and cosmologist Lawrence Krauss and researchers from the University of Chicago and Fermi national Laboratory explore the most likely detection method of these waves, with the examination of cosmic microwave radiation (CMB) standing out as the favored method.

Physicists prove Einstein wrong with observation of instantaneous velocity in Brownian particles
A century after Albert Einstein said we would never be able to observe the instantaneous velocity of tiny particles as they randomly shake and shimmy, so called Brownian motion, physicist Mark Raizen and his group have done so.

What makes music sound so sweet (or not)
Ever since ancient times, scholars have puzzled over the reasons that some musical note combinations sound so sweet while others are just downright dreadful. The Greeks believed that simple ratios in the string lengths of musical instruments were the key, maintaining that the precise mathematical relationships endowed certain chords with a special, even divine, quality. Twentieth-century composers, on the other hand, have leaned toward the notion that musical tastes are really all in what you are used to hearing.

Researchers publish first genomic collection of human microbes
The Human Microbiome Project (HMP) today published an analysis of 178 genomes from microbes that live in or on the human body. The researchers discovered novel genes and proteins that serve functions in human health and disease, adding a new level of understanding to what is known about the complexity and diversity of these organisms.

Researchers identify genes and brain centers that regulate meal size in flies
Biologists from the California Institute of Technology and Yale University have identified two genes, the leucokinin neuropeptide and the leucokinin receptor, that appear to regulate meal sizes and frequency in fruit flies. Both genes have mammalian counterparts that seem to play a similar role in food intake, indicating that the steps that control meal size and meal frequency are not just behaviorally similar but are controlled by the same genes throughout the animal kingdom.

Hubble: Window to the Universe


The Hubble Space Telescope is one of the greatest technological achievements in our history, and for two decades has astonished us with dynamic images of our solar system and the world beyond. To celebrate this important twenty-year milestone, NASA looks back at the contributions of this extraordinary scientific tool, and the scientists who created it, in an engrossing documentary entitled “Hubble: Twenty Years of Discovery”.