Archive for the ‘Earth’ Category
In what medical century does your nation reside?
The spiral galaxy ESO 137-001 looks like a dandelion caught in a breeze in this new composite image from the Hubble Space Telescope and the Chandra X-ray Observatory.
The galaxy is zooming toward the upper left of this image, in between other galaxies in the Norma cluster located over 200 million light-years away. The road is harsh: intergalactic gas in the Norma cluster is sparse, but so hot at 180 million degrees Fahrenheit that it glows in X-rays detected by Chandra (blue).
The spiral plows through the seething intra-cluster gas so rapidly – at nearly 4.5 million miles per hour – much of its own gas is caught and torn away. Astronomers call this “ram pressure stripping.” The galaxy’s stars remain intact due to the binding force of their gravity.
Tattered threads of gas, the blue jellyfish-tendrils sported by ESO 137-001 in the image, illustrate the process. Ram pressure has strung this gas away from its home in the spiral galaxy and out over intergalactic space. Once there, these strips of gas have erupted with young, massive stars, which are pumping out light in vivid blues and ultraviolet…
From a star-forming perspective, ESO 137-001 really is spreading its seeds into space like a dandelion in the wind. The stripped gas is now forming stars. However, the galaxy, drained of its own star-forming fuel, will have trouble making stars in the future. Through studying this runaway spiral, and other galaxies like it, astronomers hope to gain a better understanding of how galaxies form stars and evolve over time.
Stunning. Boy, would I love to be out there in space, suspended, looking at this.
The planet continues to experience climate change expressed in episodes ranging from temperature swings to tempestuous storms, in general – warming.
So, look at this image and guess what portion of the globe is populated by people ignorant and parochial enough to believe that what happens in their own backyard represents what’s happening to the whole world.
Thanks, Bill Nye
Conservationists say they want tougher rules limiting the use of a common weed killer to save America’s dwindling population of monarch butterflies.
The Natural Resources Defense Council, in a petition to the Environmental Protection Agency, said current levels of use of glyphosate — first marketed under the brand name Roundup — are wiping out milkweed, the only plant upon which monarch caterpillars feed.
That’s having a significant negative effect on the life cycle of the beloved orange-and-black butterflies, which migrate back and forth across the United States, Canada and Mexico…
“The tenfold increase in the amount of glyphosate being used corresponds with huge losses of milkweed and the staggering decline of the monarch,” Fallon told the Los Angeles Times. “We are seeking new safeguards desperately needed to allow enough milkweed to grow.”
The EPA is scheduled to complete a new review of glyphosate rules in 2015, but “given the rapid decline in monarch numbers, the EPA should take immediate steps to review and restrict glyphosate’s uses,” the council’s petition says.
Do you think the potential extinction of a butterfly that is part of the whole culture of our continent means anything inside the plastic brains of our bureaucrats and politicians? Some of these folks spend their entire careers working at never doing anything that brings notice.
Is there someone inside those offices ready to shout loud enough to bring an orange-and-black butterfly into higher priority?
What would you do if you discovered an odd strain of bacteria that exhibited unconventional behavior? Why, name it after Frank Zappa of course!…This is exactly what a team of Italian and Austrian researchers did when they found a bacterium that had apparently transitioned from causing acne in human skin to infecting the bark of grape vines.
“This is the first time it’s been found that a microorganism can switch from a human to a plant,” study author and self-professed Zappa fan Andrea Campisano, a microbiologist at the Edmund Mach Foundation in Italy, told the Los Angeles Times.
In addition to being a tribute to the late musician, the naming of P. acnes zappae is also a hat-tip to the Italian word for “hoe,” which is “zappa.”
Campisano is such a big fan of the experimental musician – he said he even has a quote from him prominently displayed on his lab computer screen: “If you end up with a boring miserable life because you listened to your mom, your dad, your teacher, your priest, or some guy on television … then you deserve it.”
An extraordinary jet trailing behind a runaway pulsar is seen in this composite image that contains data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory (purple), radio data from the Australia Compact Telescope Array (green), and optical data from the 2MASS survey (red, green, and blue). The pulsar – a spinning neutron star – and its tail are found in the lower right of this image (mouse over the image for a labeled version). The tail stretches for 37 light years , making it the longest jet ever seen from an object in the Milky Way galaxy…
The pulsar, originally discovered by ESA’s INTEGRAL satellite, is called IGR J1104-6103 and is moving away from the center of the supernova remnant where it was born at a speed between 2.5 million and 5 million miles per hour. This supersonic pace makes IGR J1104-6103 one of the fastest moving pulsars ever observed.
A massive star ran out of fuel and collapsed to form the pulsar along with the supernova remnant, the debris field seen as the large purple structure in the upper left of the image. The supernova remnant (known as SNR MSH 11-61A) is elongated along the top-right to bottom left direction, roughly in line with the tail’s direction. These features and the high speed of the pulsar suggest that jets could have played an important role in the supernova explosion that formed IGR J1104-6103.
Yes, you should RTFA. Also – the latest Chandra newsletter is rocking with space goodies. Click below to move on to the next one:
The 56-year-old Warren Murray was diving off Bluefish Cove in Carmel, Calif., earlier this month, with his friend David Malvestuto, 34, when he apparently got a bit too close to an eight-foot-long octopus. The two divers were just trying to capture some of the coast’s remarkable underwater sea creatures on film, but this octopus didn’t appreciate the attention.
The octopus swam quickly toward Murray and latched onto his camera. But when the Redwood City resident started snapping pictures and the flash went off the tentacled creature quickly scooted away. Luckily, his diving partner Malvestutu captured the brief skirmish on video.
I can imagine the octopus complaining about gentrification of the neighborhood – what with fancy cameras and all.