Hundreds of galaxies hidden from sight by our own Milky Way galaxy have been studied for the first time. Though only 250 million light years away—which isn’t that far for galaxies—they have been obscured by the gas and dust of the Milky Way. These galaxies may be a tantalizing clue to the nature of The Great Attractor. On February 9th, an international team of scientists published a paper detailing the results of their study of these galaxies using the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization’s (CSIRO) Parkes radio telescope, a 64 meter telescope in Australia. The ‘scope is equipped with an innovative new multi-beam receiver, which made it possible to peer through the Milky Way into the galaxies behind it.The area around the Milky Way that is obscured to us is called the Zone of Avoidance (ZOA). This study focused on the southern portion of the ZOA, since the telescope is in Australia. (The northern portion of the ZOA is currently being studied by the Arecibo radio telescope, also equipped with the new multi-beam receiver.) The significance of their work is not that they found hundreds of new galaxies. There was no reason to suspect that galactic distribution would be any different in the ZOA than anywhere else. What’s significant is what it will tell us about The Great Attractor.The Great Attractor is a feature of the large-scale structure of the Universe. It is drawing our Milky Way galaxy, and hundreds of thousands of other galaxies, towards it with the gravitational force of a million billion suns. The Great Attractor is an anomaly, because it deviates from our understanding of the universal expansion of the universe. “We don’t actually understand what’s causing this gravitational acceleration on the Milky Way or where it’s coming from,” said —> Read More
It’s an eggplant. It’s a potato plant. It’s both! Continue reading → —> Read More
The results of an autopsy offer compelling evidence of a link between the virus and the birth defects
CHICAGO (Reuters) – Researchers on Wednesday reported new evidence strengthening the association between Zika virus and a spike in birth defects, citing the presence of the virus in the brain of an aborted fetus of a European woman who became pregnant while living in Brazil.
LONDON (Reuters) – Thirty of the world’s leading scientific research institutions, journals and funders have pledged to share for free all data and expertise on Zika to speed up the fight against an outbreak of the viral disease spreading across the Americas.
The firm behind the board has cut its price by $5,000 – and revealed it will go on sale in April. The design can hold up to 243 lbs and flies a foot above the ground – at a price. —> Read More
Imagine that you’re buying a box of chocolates for a loved one on Valentine’s Day, and the store is offering a free gift if you buy a slightly inferior box of chocolates instead of the best chocolates in the store. Which do you buy? —> Read More
COLUMBIA, Mo., Feb. 10 (UPI) — New research suggests biculturalism has positive effects on young Mexican-Americans, including higher self-esteem and empathy. —> Read More
Twitter tanks as social network reveals user numbers have STALLED: Firm revamps timeline and pledges to focus on live events
Twitter has revealed its user growth stalled in the fourth quarter – the first flat quarter sequentially since the company listed in 2013. Shares fell 6.6 percent in after-hours trading. —> Read More
Soon, very soon, Thursday, February 11, at 10:30 Eastern time, we are likely to learn at any one of several press conferences – at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., in Hannover, Germany, near Pisa in Italy and elswhere – that gravitational waves have been measured directly, for the first time. This would mean the first direct detection of minute distortions of spacetime, travelling at the speed of light, first postulated by Albert Einstein almost exactly 100 years ago.Time to brush up on your gravitational wave basics: In Gravitational waves and how they distort space, we had a look at what gravitational waves do. In Gravitational wave detectors: How they work we saw how you can measure gravitational waves. Third and final step: What are typical gravitational wave sources? How are these waves produced?
Objects in orbit
The simplest situation that produces gravitational waves in the cosmos is almost ubiquitous: two or more objects orbiting around each other under their own gravity. The waves they generate are reminiscent to a very slow mixer in the middle of a pool of water: This is not something you would see, of course. The wave that is pictured here represents the strength of the minute changes in distance that would be caused by the gravitational wave, just as we’ve seen in Gravitational waves and how they distort space. The animation is courtesy of Sascha Husa of the Universitat de les Illes Balears.
Gravitational waves emitted by orbiting objects carry away energy. Elementary physics tells you that if you remove energy from an orbiting system, the distance between the orbiting —> Read More