Hubble Spies Spooky ‘Ghost Light’ Of Dead Galaxies

ghost light dead galaxies

Just in time for Halloween, the Hubble Space Telescope has spotted something a bit spooky: the faint glow of stars spewed out billions of years ago by galaxies in their death throes.

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The image shows “Pandora’s Cluster,” a group of 500 galaxies–formally known as Abell 2744–located 4 billion light-years from Earth. The “ghost light” (artificially colored in blue in the photo above) comes from so-called orphan stars that drift freely between galaxies.

Astronomers believe these stars were once part of as many as six Milky Way-sized galaxies that were torn apart by gravitational forces around 9 billion years ago. They hope to use the “ghost light” to gain a better understanding of how galaxy clusters form and change.

“The Hubble data revealing the ghost light are important steps forward in understanding the evolution of galaxy clusters,” Ignacio Trujillo, an astrophysicist at The Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain, who was involved in the Abell 2744 research, said in a written statement.

A study describing the research was published online Oct. 1 in The Astrophysical Journal. —> Read More Here

Thank a Teacher Thursday: White House Edition

As Associate Director for Science at the White House Office of Science and Jo Handelsman, Ph.D. Technology Policy, Dr. Jo Handelsman, “helps to advise President Obama on the implications of science for the Nation, ways in which science can inform U.S. policy, and on Federal efforts in support of scientific research.” She took leave from her position as Howard Hughes Medical Institute Professor and Frederick Phineas Rose Professor in the Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology at Yale University to serve the nation in this new role. But this is hardly the first time that Jo has taken on major challenges in addition to her academic research. When she sees a need, she dives in — usually by applying a stiff dose of science.

No doubt lots of assistant professors, more or less confident in their ability to do research, find their roles as teachers and mentors more challenging than they expected. Jo — who became an assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, at the ripe old age of 26 — certainly did. So she set about learning what was known about effective teaching, and it turns out that there is substantial research on the subject. Not content —> Read More Here

OPINION: Tourism Is Important, But It’s Not the Only Reason to Save Elephants

A photo of an African Elephant

By Tanya Saunders

Contemplating a road ahead for elephants where they are valued as more than mere tourist attractions. Photograph by Tanya Saunders

Those who believe that ecological and moral grounds aren’t sufficient justification to protect elephants and other wildlife in Africa often tout tourism as the most important reason to do so.

Examined rationally, this is a narrow and risky premise, with a poor long-term prognosis for the survival of Africa’s wild animals.

While tourism undoubtedly earns significant revenue for host countries and plays a part in funding conservation, it is only one brick in the wall. To rely on it exclusively to justify the existence of our wildlife, or to pay for its protection, is neither realistic nor sustainable.

Tourism is a welcome but fickle business that can vanish overnight, leaving tourism-dependent conservation projects in dire straits. Take Kenya’s famed Mara Triangle conservancy, one of Africa’s finest game viewing areas, currently suffering from a tourism slump and desperate for funding, which once came more easily.

No matter how successful tourism might be, even in good times, it simply cannot provide enough funds to sustain conservation in Africa on its own. The needs are simply too great, particularly if we want to —> Read More Here

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