четверг, 7 февраля 2019 г.

Differences in water temperature can create new marine species

Warm and cool water temperatures over a long stretch of coastline cause new species of marine fish to evolve without being isolated from similar types of fish nearby, according to a new international study.

Differences in water temperature can create new marine species
Knysna sand goby found near South African Coast [Credit: Guido Zsilavecz]

The findings challenge the long held belief that new marine species can only evolve in isolated environments and provides a glimpse into the early stages of species formation in the sea.

The research also suggests that currents with different temperatures, which are known to influence the distribution of species in the sea, might also drive the evolution of new species.

A research team from South Africa and Australia, led by Professor Peter Teske from the University of Johannesburg and Professor Luciano Beheregaray from Flinders University, used information from DNA to test how regional populations of a coastal species of goby are influenced by currents with different temperatures.

This goby is found along the South African coastline which is divided into temperature-defined regions, including cool-temperate, warm-temperate, subtropical and tropical.

The team discovered that while the goby’s regional populations are similar, they showed differences only in the genes impacted by water temperature.

Differences in water temperature can create new marine species
Marine currents along the Southern African coastline [Credit: Marine Research Institute, University of Cape Town]

“Each regional goby population is already adapted to its preferred thermal habitat, and migrants that disperse into nearby regions that are too warm or too cold will not do as well as the locals,” says Professor Teske.

In contrast, the remainder of the genes show no identifiable differences yet.

“Over time, the remainder of the genome will “catch up” with the temperature-selected genes, and even later, the new species will also change morphologically. Only then will they be recognisable without the help of genetic methods.”

The results have important implications for the management of threatened or exploited species, and fish stocks around the world.

“When several very young species that already cannot live in each others’ habitats are all treated as a single species, this can result in the over fishing of locally adapted stocks, or the extinction of a rare species that has been mistaken for its more abundant neighbour”, says Flinders University Professor Beheregaray.

The work has been published in the scientific journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B and also includes marine scientists from Stellenbosch University and Dr Jonathan Sandoval-Castillo from Flinders University.

Source: Flinders University [February 05, 2019]



Orpiment & Hutchinsonite | #Geology #GeologyPage…

Orpiment & Hutchinsonite | #Geology #GeologyPage #Mineral

Locality: Quiruvilca, Quiruvilca District, Libertad Department, Peru

Size: 8.4 × 5.1 × 4.1 cm

Photo Copyright © Bucket of Holes Minerals /e-rocks. com

Geology Page



55 Cancri e: Where Skies Sparkle Above a Never-ending Ocean of Lava

We’ve discovered thousands of exoplanets – planets beyond our solar system – so far. These worlds are mysterious, but observations from telescopes on the ground and in space help us understand what they might look like.

Take the planet 55 Cancri e, for instance. It’s relatively close, galactically speaking, at 41 light-years away. It’s a rocky planet, nearly two times bigger than Earth, that whips around its star every 18 hours (as opposed to the 365 days it takes our planet to orbit the Sun. Slacker).


The planet’s star, 55 Cancri, is slightly smaller than our Sun, but it’s 65 times closer than the Sun is to Earth. Imagine a massive sun on the horizon! Because 55 Cancri e is so close to its star, it’s tidally locked just like our Moon is to the Earth. One side is always bathed in daylight, the other is in perpetual darkness. It’s also hot. Really hot. So hot that silicate rocks would melt into a molten ocean of melted rock. IT’S COVERED IN AN OCEAN OF LAVA. So, it’s that hot (between 3,140 degrees and 2,420 degrees F).


Scientists think 55 Cancri e also may harbor a thick atmosphere that circulates heat from the dayside to the nightside. Silicate vapor in the atmosphere could condense into sparkling clouds on the cooler, darker nightside that would reflect the lava below. It’s also possible that it would rain sand on the nightside, but … sparkling skies!


Check out our Exoplanet Travel Bureau’s latest 360-degree visualization of 55 Cancri e and download the travel poster at https://go.nasa.gov/2HOyfF3.


Make sure to follow us on Tumblr for your regular dose of space: http://nasa.tumblr.com

Kepler’s Final Image Shows A Galaxy Full Of Possibilities

NASA – Kepler Space Telescope patch.

Feb. 7, 2019

NASA’s Kepler space telescope may be retired, but the discoveries continue to rack up for this historic planet-hunting mission. Kepler rang in the new year with several new planet discoveries, including a previously overlooked planet of an unusual size, as well as a super Earth and a Saturn-sized world orbiting a Sun-like star.

In the meantime, the Kepler mission has released its final record of the spacecraft’s full field of view before the depletion of fuel permanently ended its work. NASA retired the spacecraft on Oct. 30, 2018, to a safe orbit.

Animation above: This is Kepler’s view of the TRAPPIST-1 system, an ultra-cool red dwarf star with seven rocky planets, at least three of them believed to be temperate worlds. Animation Credits: NASA/Ames Research Center.

The “last light” image taken on Sept. 25 represents the final page of the final chapter ofKepler’s remarkable journey of data collection. It bookends the moment of intense excitement nine and a half years earlier when the spacecraft first opened its eye to the skies and captured its “first light” image. Kepler went on to discover more than 2,600 worlds beyond our solar system and statistically proved that our galaxy has even more planets than stars.

The blackened gaps in the center and along the top of the image are the result of earlier random part failures in the camera. Due to the modular design, the losses did not impact the rest of the instrument.

Animation above: This Kepler’s view of GJ 9827, a star around which Kepler previously detected three orbiting planets. Because the system is relatively close at 97 light-years away, it is considered an excellent target for studying exoplanet atmospheres. Animation Credits: NASA/Ames Research Center.

For this final field of view, Kepler’s last observation campaign in its extended mission, the telescope was pointed in the direction of the constellation Aquarius. It caught a glimpse of the renowned TRAPPIST-1 system with its seven rocky planets, at least three of them believed to be temperate worlds. Another target was the GJ 9827 system, a nearby bright star that hosts a planet that is considered an excellent opportunity for follow up observations with other telescopes to study an atmosphere of a faraway world.

Fortuitously, Kepler’s field of view also slightly overlapped with NASA’s new planet-hunter, the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, or TESS, affording astronomers the chance to compare and improve their understanding of the data received from the two spacecraft. Although Kepler’s transmitters have been turned off and it is no longer collecting science, its data will be mined for many years to come.

Animation above: This is Kepler’s view of K2-138 with its six planets sized between Earth and Neptune. It was the first multi-planet system entirely discovered by citizen scientists. Animation Credits: NASA/Ames Research Center.

Here are videos of some of Kepler’s last targets as these stars brighten and dim. In addition to the static snapshots Kepler routinely took of its full field of view, the telescope’s camera also recorded selected targets at 30-minute increments. These continued for another several hours after the “last light” image before data collection ceased. The target data is obtained to measure the change in brightness of the stars, essential for discovering planets as they transit the faces of their stars and for understanding other aspects of stellar behavior. The motion of the stars in the videos are due to decreasing thruster performance caused by near fuel exhaustion.

Kepler Space Telescope or K2 (retired). Image Credit: NASA

NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley manages the Kepler and K2 missions for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, managed Kepler mission development. Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corporation operated the flight system with support from the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado in Boulder.

Kepler and K2: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/kepler/main/index.html

NASA retired the spacecraft: https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-retires-kepler-space-telescope-passes-planet-hunting-torch

Related article:

Kepler Space Telescope Bid ‘Goodnight’ With Final Set of Commands

Animations (mentioned), Images, Text, Credits: NASA/Rick Chen/Ames Research Center/Alison Hawkes.

Best regards, Orbiter.chArchive link

2019 February 7 Fox Fur, Unicorn, and Christmas Tree Image…

2019 February 7

Fox Fur, Unicorn, and Christmas Tree
Image Credit & Copyright: Stanislav Volskiy, Chilescope Team

Explanation: Clouds of glowing hydrogen gas fill this colorful skyscape in the faint but fanciful constellation Monoceros, the Unicorn. A star forming region cataloged as NGC 2264, the complex jumble of cosmic gas and dust is about 2,700 light-years distant and mixes reddish emission nebulae excited by energetic light from newborn stars with dark interstellar dust clouds. Where the otherwise obscuring dust clouds lie close to the hot, young stars they also reflect starlight, forming blue reflection nebulae. The telescopic image spans about ¾ degree or nearly 1.5 full moons, covering 40 light-years at the distance of NGC 2264. Its cast of cosmic characters includes the the Fox Fur Nebula, whose dusty, convoluted pelt lies near the top, bright variable star S Monocerotis immersed in the blue-tinted haze near center, and the Cone Nebula pointing in from the right side of the frame. Of course, the stars of NGC 2264 are also known as the Christmas Tree star cluster. The triangular tree shape is seen on its side here. Traced by brighter stars it has its apex at the Cone Nebula. The tree’s broader base is centered near S Monocerotis.

∞ Source: apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap190207.html

A Bell Beaker superhighway

Below is a density heat map of Bell Beaker pottery finds from a recent paper titled Der Glockenbecher in Europa – eine Karteirung (The mapping of the Bell Beaker in Europe). It’s freely available as part of a series of new archeological papers on the Bell Beaker phenomenon at the Journal of Neolithic Archeology (see here).

Particularly eye catching, at least for me, is the trail of high density clusters that runs from the Carpathian Basin to the North Sea, especially in the context of recent online discussions about the potential geographic origins of the non-Iberian, or Yamnaya-related, Beakers with significant steppe ancestry. I’m guessing that this was something of a Beaker superhighway back in the day.
By itself, the heat map is probably very favorable to the rather popular idea nowadays that the Yamnaya-related Beakers originated in the Carpathian Basin. Their ancestors, for instance, may have been Yamnaya groups that arrived from the Pontic-Caspian steppe via the Balkans, and their ethnogenesis may have been sparked by the cultural impulses that were streaming into the region from across Europe, perhaps from as far away as Iberia. The descendants of these early, potentially Yamnaya-derived, Beakers may then have moved en masse to the North Sea region and beyond via the aforementioned superhighway.
However, fortunately, we now also have quite a bit of ancient DNA data to throw into such debates. Note that I added the following labels to the map: Beaker The Netherlands, Beaker Mittelelbe-Saale, Beaker Bohemia, and Beaker Hungary. These are the currently sampled Beaker populations from along the so called superhighway, and you can see how they cluster compared to each other in my Principal Component Analysis (PCA) of ancient West Eurasian genetic variation.

Clearly, what we’re dealing with here is not just a series of well settled sites, or a heavily populated trade route, but also a busy migration trail, because of the significant overlap in the PCA between almost all of the Beaker populations.
Interestingly, though, most of the gene flow appears to have gone from the northwest to the southeast, because the Dutch Beakers hardly overlap with the other groups, and arguably form the tightest cluster, suggesting that they’re the most genetically homogeneous and unadmixed of these Beakers. Indeed, they’re also genetically very similar to the earlier nearby Corded Ware groups from Germany and Scandinavia, so it’s unlikely that they derive from recent migrants to Northern Europe. On the other hand, the Hungarian Beakers from the Carpathian Basin are by far the most dispersed of the lot, which certainly means that they’re the least genetically homogeneous and probably the most admixed.
Note also that some of them do clearly “pull” towards the Dutch Beakers, suggesting that they might harbor significant ancestry from as far north as the shores of the North Sea.
See also…
The Boscombe Bowmen
Single Grave > Bell Beakers
Dutch Beakers: like no other Beakers


Dinosaur that defended itself with spiny backbone found in Patagonia

A herbivorous dinosaur that fended off predators with a row of spines running along its back and lived 140 million years ago has been found in Argentine Patagonia.

Dinosaur that defended itself with spiny backbone found in Patagonia
A replica of the skull and neck of the “Bajadasaurus pronuspinax,” a new species of sauropod
discovered in Patagonia [Credit: Juan Mabromata/AFP]

The discovery of the new species of dicraeosauridae, christened Bajadasaurus pronuspinax, was revealed in scientific journal Nature. A reproduction of its spiny neck was exhibited in the Cultural Science Center in Buenos Aires.
“We believe that the long and sharp spines — very long and thin — on the neck and back of Bajadasaurus and Amargasaurus cazaui (another dicraeosauridae) must have been to deter possible predators,” said Pablo Gallina, an assistant researcher at the state council of scientific and technical investigations (CONICET) and Maimonides University.

Dinosaur that defended itself with spiny backbone found in Patagonia
The Bajadasaurus pronuspinax had a spiny neck and backbnone believed to have been a defense mechanism
against predators [Credit: Juan Mabromata/AFP]

“We think that had they been just bare bone structures or covered only by skin, they could have been easily broken or fractured with a blow or when being attacked by other animals,” he added.
“These spines must have been covered by a keratin sheath similar to what happens in the horns of many mammals.”

Bajadasaurus was a quadruped and part of the wider Sauropod family that lived from the late Triassic period (around 230 million years ago) until the end of the late Cretaceous (70 million years ago).

Dinosaur that defended itself with spiny backbone found in Patagonia
Graphic on spiny herbivorous dinosaur from 140 million years ago
discovered in Argentina [Credit: AFP]

Amargasaurus cazaui lived in the South American continent around 15 million years after Bajadasaurus and both species were found in the Neuquen province around 1,120 miles (1,800 kilometers) south of Buenos Aires.
It’s the same zone in which Giganotosaurus carolinii, considered the biggest carnivorous dinosaur of all time, was discovered in 1993. It lived during the late Cretaceous period and could have fed on Bajadasaurus.

Dinosaur that defended itself with spiny backbone found in Patagonia
Argentine assistant resaearcher Pablo Gallina says the Bajadasaurus pronuspinax’s spines would
have had a similar use to the horns of some mammals [Credit: Juan Mabromata/AFP]

CONICET said in a statement the spines could have been used to regulate the dinosaur’s temperature or even to render it more sexually attractive to a potential mate.

It said Bajadasaurus could have had a fleshy hump between the spines that served a similar role to that of a camel.

The Bajadasaurus skull is the best preserved example of a dicraeosauridae ever found.

“Studies suggest this animal spent much of its time feeding on ground plants while its eye sockets, close to the top of its skull, allowed it to key an eye on what was happening around it,” said CONICET.

Source: AFP [February 05, 2019]



Scientists study organization of life on a planetary scale

When we think of life on Earth, we might think of individual examples ranging from animals to bacteria. When astrobiologists study life, however, they have to consider not only individual organisms, but also ecosystems, and the biosphere as a whole.

Scientists study organization of life on a planetary scale
This graph represents the biosphere, ecosystems and individual organisms’ biochemistry as connecting
molecules participating in shared reactions. It reveals that various scaling laws are common
across different levels of biological organization [Credit: Hyunju Kim]

In astrobiology, there is an increasing interest in whether life as we know it is a quirk of the particular evolutionary history of the Earth or, instead, if life might be governed by more general organizing principles.

If general principles exist that can explain properties common to all life on Earth, scientists hypothesize, then they may be universal to all life, even life on other planets. If a “universal biology” exists, it would have important implications for the search for life beyond Earth, for engineering synthetic life in the lab, and for solving the origin of life, enabling scientists to predict at least some properties of alien life.

Previous research in this area has primarily focused on specific levels of organization within biology such as individual organisms or ecological communities. These levels form a hierarchy where individuals are composed of interacting molecules and ecosystems are composed of interacting individuals.

An interdisciplinary team of researchers at Arizona State University (ASU) has gone beyond focusing on individual levels in this hierarchy to study the hierarchy itself, focusing on the biosphere as a whole. The results of their study have been recently published Science Advances.

“To understand the general principles governing biology, we must understand how living systems organize across levels, not just within a given level,” says lead author Hyunju Kim of ASU’s Beyond Center and the School of Earth and Space Exploration.

Through this study, the team found that biochemistry, both at the level of organisms and ecosystems, is governed by general organizing principles. “This means there is a logic to the planetary-scale organization of biochemistry,” says co-lead author Harrison Smith of ASU’s School of Earth and Space Exploration. “Scientists have talked about this type of logic for a long time, but until now they have struggled to quantify it. Quantifying it can help us constrain the way that life arises on a planet.”

For this research, the team constructed biochemical networks using a global database of 28,146 annotated genomes and metagenomes and 8,658 catalogued biochemical reactions. In so doing, they uncovered scaling laws governing biochemical diversity and network structure that are shared across levels of organization from individuals to ecosystems, to the biosphere as a whole.

“Quantifying general principles of life–not restricted to a domain on the tree of life, or a particular ecosystem–is a challenge,” says Smith. “We were able to do that by combining tools from network science and scaling theory, while simultaneously leveraging large genomic datasets that researchers have been cataloging.”

The research team, led by Kim and Smith under supervision of Sara Walker of the ASU School of Earth and Space Exploration and the Beyond Center, also includes Cole Mathis of the Beyond Center and the ASU Department of Physics (now at the University of Glasgow), and Jason Raymond of the School of Earth and Space Exploration.

“Understanding the organizing principles of biochemistry at a global scale better enables us to understand how life operates as a planetary process” says Walker. “The ability to more rigorously identify universal properties of life on Earth will also provide astrobiologists with new quantitative tools to guide our search for alien life – both in the lab on other worlds”

Source: Arizona State University [February 05, 2019]



Captioned Image Spotlight (6 February 2019): A Dune Field near…

Captioned Image Spotlight (6 February 2019): A Dune Field near Nili Patera

In this image many sand dunes are visible. They have an elongated crescent form and are called “barchan dunes.” They are formed by the continuous action of the wind, blowing in the same direction, giving this particular shape.

The orientation of these dunes tell us that the prevailing wind blows from the right to the left (east to west). The wind is continuously moving sand grains up the longer dune slope, towards the top. The small ripples on the slope are caused by this movement. When the sand grains arrive at the top, they fall down the steeper and shorter slope, which as a consequence, has no ripples. It is this gradual sand movement that causes the dunes to slowly move over time.

NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

Quartz & Rhodochrosite & Sphalerite | #Geology…

Quartz & Rhodochrosite & Sphalerite | #Geology #GeologyPage #Mineral

Locality: Trepča, Kosovska Mitrovica, Kosovo

Size: 5.8 × 4.9 × 3.5 cm

Photo Copyright © GeoPeak Minerals /e-rocks. com

Geology Page



Bubbles of Brand New Stars

PR Image eso1903a

Bubbles of Brand New Stars 


Jumbo Jets 


Digitized Sky Survey image around the HII region LHA 120-N 180B 


The HII region LHA 120-N 180B in the constellation Mensa


Jet Infographic


ESOcast 193 Light: Bubbles of Brand New Stars

PR Video eso1903a
ESOcast 193 Light: Bubbles of Brand New Stars 

Zooming in on the HII Region LHA 120-N 180B

Zooming in on the HII Region LHA 120-N 180B

Panning across N180

Panning across N180

This dazzling region of newly-forming stars in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) was captured by the Multi Unit Spectroscopic Explorer instrument (MUSE) on ESO’s Very Large Telescope. The relatively small amount of dust in the LMC and MUSE’s acute vision allowed intricate details of the region to be picked out in visible light.

This region of the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) glows in striking colours in this image captured by the Multi Unit Spectroscopic Explorer (MUSE) instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT). The region, known as LHA 120-N 180B — N180 B for short — is a type of nebula known as an H II region (pronounced “H two”), and is a fertile source of new stars.

The LMC is a satellite galaxy of the Milky Way, visible mainly from the Southern Hemisphere. At only around 160 000 light-years away from the Earth, it is practically on our doorstep. As well as being close to home, the LMC’s single spiral arm appears nearly face-on, allowing us to inspect regions such as N180 B with ease.

H II regions are interstellar clouds of ionised hydrogen — the bare nuclei of hydrogen atoms. These regions are stellar nurseries — and the newly formed massive stars are responsible for the ionisation of the surrounding gas, which makes for a spectacular sight. N180 B’s distinctive shape is made up of a gargantuan bubble of ionised hydrogen surrounded by four smaller bubbles.

Deep within this glowing cloud, MUSE has spotted a jet emitted by a fledgling star — a massive young stellar object with a mass 12 times greater than our Sun. The jet — named Herbig–Haro 1177, or HH 1177 for short — is shown in detail in this accompanying image. This is the first time such a jet has been observed in visible light outside the Milky Way, as they are usually obscured by their dusty surroundings. However, the relatively dust-free environment of the LMC allows HH 1177 to be observed at visible wavelengths. At nearly 33 light-years in length, it is one of the longest such jets ever observed.

HH 1177 tells us about the early lives of stars. The beam is highly collimated; it barely spreads out as it travels. Jets like this are associated with the accretion discs of their star, and can shed light on how fledgling stars gather matter. Astronomers have found that both high- and low-mass stars launch collimated jets like HH 1177 via similar mechanisms — hinting that massive stars can form in the same way as their low-mass counterparts.

MUSE has recently been vastly improved by the addition of the Adaptive Optics Facility , the Wide Field Mode of which saw first light in 2017. Adaptive optics is the process by which ESO’s telescopes compensate for the blurring effects of the atmosphere — turning twinkling stars into sharp, high-resolution images. Since obtaining these data, the addition of the Narrow Field Mode, has given MUSE vision nearly as sharp as that of the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope — giving it the potential to explore the Universe in greater detail than ever before.

More Information

This research was presented in a paper entitled “An optical parsec-scale jet from a massive young star in the Large Magellanic Cloud” which appeared in the journal Nature.

The research team was composed of A. F. McLeod (who conducted this research while at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand and is now affiliated with the Department of Astronomy, University of California, Berkeley, and the Department of Physics and Astronomy, Texas Tech University, USA), M. Reiter (Department of Astronomy, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA), R. Kuiper (Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics, University of Tübingen, Germany), P. D. Klaassen (UK Astronomy Technology Centre, Royal Observatory Edinburgh, UK) and C. J, Evans (UK Astronomy Technology Centre, Royal Observatory Edinburgh, UK).

ESO is the foremost intergovernmental astronomy organisation in Europe and the world’s most productive ground-based astronomical observatory by far. It has 16 Member States: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, along with the host state of Chile and with Australia as a Strategic Partner. ESO carries out an ambitious programme focused on the design, construction and operation of powerful ground-based observing facilities enabling astronomers to make important scientific discoveries. ESO also plays a leading role in promoting and organising cooperation in astronomical research. ESO operates three unique world-class observing sites in Chile: La Silla, Paranal and Chajnantor. At Paranal, ESO operates the Very Large Telescope and its world-leading Very Large Telescope Interferometer as well as two survey telescopes, VISTA working in the infrared and the visible-light VLT Survey Telescope. ESO is also a major partner in two facilities on Chajnantor, APEX and ALMA, the largest astronomical project in existence. And on Cerro Armazones, close to Paranal, ESO is building the 39-metre Extremely Large Telescope, the ELT, which will become “the world’s biggest eye on the sky”



Anna McLeod

Postdoctoral Research Fellow — Texas Tech University & University of California Berkeley

Tel: +1 80 6834 2588

Calum Turner

ESO Public Information Officer

Garching bei München, Germany

Tel: +49 89 3200 6670

Source: ESO/News

Archive link

Transforming LHCb: What’s in store for the next two years?

CERN – European Organization for Nuclear Research logo.

6 February, 2019

The LHCb detector will undergo a metamorphosis during CERN’s second long shutdown (LS2) 

Opening of the LHCb detector in early December 2018 (Image: Maximilien Brice/CERN)

The LHCb experiment will undergo a metamorphosis over the coming two years, during CERN’s maintenance and upgrade period known as Long Shutdown 2 (LS2). When the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) restarts in 2021, the proton–proton collision rate at LHCb will be increased by a factor of five, and the collaboration is upgrading its detector to be ready for it.

The LHCb experiment is trying to solve the mystery of why nature prefers matter over antimatter: small asymmetries between the two could explain why matter emerged from the aftermath of the Big Bang while antimatter did not. In particular, LHCb is hunting for beauty or bottom (b) quarks, which were common at the infancy of the Universe and can be generated in their billions by the LHC, along with their antimatter counterparts, beauty antiquarks.

Forty is better than one

As every second of the LHC corresponds to several million proton–proton collisions, a detector’s trigger system needs to decide which data are important to keep and which can be discarded.

Within the LHC, bunches of protons travel in two beams, clockwise and anticlockwise, at almost the speed of light. The beams cross one another in a detector every 25 nanoseconds, corresponding to a frequency of 40 MHz (40 million times per second). In previous years, LHCb filtered down this “event rate” to 1 MHz, using fast electronics to select the most interesting events. Those events were then processed and sifted further. But from 2021 onwards, this will change radically: the whole detector will read at the full rate of 40 MHz to allow event selection to be done more precisely and flexibly by the software. For this reason, the electronics of essentially all the subdetectors will be modified and the computing power of the LHCb event selection system (trigger) will become more powerful.

Flowing at an immense rate of 4 terabytes per second, data will travel from the underground hall, straight from the detector electronics, via some 9000 300-metre-long optical fibres, into a new computer centre that is nearing completion. There, around 500 powerful custom-made boards will receive and transfer data to thousands of processing cores.

Highlights of the many LHCb upgrades taking place during LS2

A faster VELO

The vertex locator (VELO) – the subdetector that measures the distance between the collision point and the point where B hadrons (composite particles containing at least one b quark or antiquark) transform into other particles – is one of the key components being upgraded during LS2. The new VELO consists of pixel tracking layers, which offer improved hit resolution and simpler track reconstruction. It will also be closer to the beam axis: 5.1 mm as opposed to 8.4 mm. A new chip, the VELOPIX, capable of collecting signal hits from 256×256 pixels and sending data at a staggering rate of up to 20 Gb/s, was developed for this purpose.

Image above: Prototype vertex locator (VELO) pixel modules were developed last year ahead of the upgrade (Image: Julien Marius Ordan/CERN).

Mirror, mirror on the detector

The ring-imaging Cherenkov (RICH) detectors, which determine particles’ identities, will be equipped with a new mirror system. This is required to deflect, focus and detect cones of light emitted by travelling particles in an environment with much larger particle densities.

New silicon-microstrip sensors and SciFi tracking

Currently, the main tracking system reconstructs the path of charged particles in four tracking stations: one between RICH-1 and the LHCb dipole magnet, and three between the magnet and RICH-2. In the future, a new upstream tracker (UT) with innovative silicon-microstrip sensors will be installed in place of the station before the magnet. The three tracking stations after the magnet will be replaced by a new type of station based on scintillating fibres (SciFi), read out at one extremity by silicon photomultiplier (SiPM) arrays.

The SciFi tracker represents a major challenge for the collaboration, not only due to its complexity, but also because the technology has never been used for such a large area in such a radiation environment. Scientists ordered more than 11 000 km of fibre, which they meticulously verified and even cured of a few rare and local imperfections.

Image above: Removing the beam pipe of the LHCb experiment in early January 2019 (Image: Julien Marius Ordan/CERN).

With the planned higher luminosity and a greatly improved ability to pick the most interesting events, the transformed LHCb can look forward to unprecedented results in the future.

Read more in “LHCb’s momentous metamorphosis” in the latest CERN Courier, which also has LS2 highlights from ALICE, ATLAS and CMS: https://cerncourier.com/lhcbs-momentous-metamorphosis/


CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, is one of the world’s largest and most respected centres for scientific research. Its business is fundamental physics, finding out what the Universe is made of and how it works. At CERN, the world’s largest and most complex scientific instruments are used to study the basic constituents of matter — the fundamental particles. By studying what happens when these particles collide, physicists learn about the laws of Nature.

The instruments used at CERN are particle accelerators and detectors. Accelerators boost beams of particles to high energies before they are made to collide with each other or with stationary targets. Detectors observe and record the results of these collisions.

Founded in 1954, the CERN Laboratory sits astride the Franco–Swiss border near Geneva. It was one of Europe’s first joint ventures and now has 22 Member States.

Related links:

LHCb experiment: https://home.cern/science/experiments/lhcb

Long Shutdown 2 (LS2): https://home.cern/tags/long-shutdown-2

Large Hadron Collider (LHC): https://home.cern/science/accelerators/large-hadron-collider

For more information about European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), Visit: https://home.cern/

Images (mentioned), Text, Credits: CERN, by Letizia Diamante.

Best regards, Orbiter.chArchive link

A taste for fat may have made us human, says study

Long before human ancestors began hunting large mammals for meat, a fatty diet provided them with the nutrition to develop bigger brains, posits a new paper in Current Anthropology.

A taste for fat may have made us human, says study
A fossilized bone in which crystal has grown in the marrow cavity
[Credit: Yale University]

The paper argues that our early ancestors acquired a taste for fat by eating marrow scavenged from the skeletal remains of large animals that had been killed and eaten by other predators. The argument challenges the widely held view among anthropologists that eating meat was the critical factor in setting the stage for the evolution of humans.

“Our ancestors likely began acquiring a taste for fat 4 million years ago, which explains why we crave it today,” says Jessica Thompson, the paper’s lead author and an anthropologist at Yale University. “The reservoirs of fat in the long bones of carcasses were a huge calorie package on a calorie-poor landscape. That could have been what gave an ancestral population the advantage it needed to set off the chain of human evolution.”

Thompson, who recently joined Yale’s faculty, completed the paper while on the faculty at Emory University.

While focusing on fat over meat may seem like a subtle distinction, the difference is significant, Thompson says. The nutrients of meat and fat are different, as are the technologies required to access them. Meat eating is traditionally paired with the manufacture of sharp, flaked-stone tools, while obtaining fat-rich marrow only required smashing bones with a rock, Thompson notes.

The authors review evidence that a craving for marrow could have fueled not just a growing brain size, but the quest to go beyond smashing bones with rocks to make more sophisticated tools and to hunt large animals.

“That’s how all technology originated — taking one thing and using it to alter something else,” Thompson says. “That’s the origin of the iPhone right there.”

Co-authors of the paper include anthropologists Susana Carvalho of Oxford University, Curtis Marean of Arizona State University, and Zeresenay Alemseged of the University of Chicago.

The human brain consumes 20% of the body’s energy at rest, or twice that of the brains of other primates, which are almost exclusively vegetarian. It’s a mystery to scientists how our human ancestors met the calorie demands to develop and sustain our larger brains.

A meat-centered paradigm for human evolution hypothesizes that an ape population began more actively hunting and eating small game, which became an evolutionary stepping stone to the human behavior of hunting large animals.

The paper argues that this theory does not make nutritional sense. “The meat of wild animals is lean,” Thompson says. “It actually takes more work to metabolize lean protein than you get back.”

In fact, eating lean meat without a good source of fat can lead to protein poisoning and acute malnutrition. Early Arctic explorers, who attempted to survive on rabbit meat exclusively, described the condition as “rabbit starvation.”

This protein problem, coupled with the energy required for an upright ape with small canines to capture and eat small animals, would seem to rule out eating meat as a pathway to fueling brain growth, Thompson says.

The new paper presents a new hypothesis, going back about 4 million years, to the Pliocene. As the human ancestor began walking primarily on two legs, heavily forested regions of Africa were breaking into mosaics, creating open grasslands.

“Our human ancestors were likely awkward creatures,” Thompson says. “They weren’t good in trees, like chimpanzees are, but they weren’t necessarily all that good on the ground either. So, what did the first upright walking apes in our lineage do to make them so successful? At this stage, there was already a small increase in the size of the brains. How were they feeding that?”

Thompson and her co-authors propose that our early ancestors wielded rocks as they foraged on open grassland. After a predator had finished eating a large mammal, these upright apes explored the leftovers by smashing them and discovered the marrow hidden in the limb bones.

“The bones sealed up the marrow like a Tupperware container, preventing bacterial growth,” Thompson says. And the only things that could crack open these containers, she adds, were the bone-cracking jaws of hyenas or a clever ape wielding a rock.

The hypothesis offers an explanation for how the human ancestor may have garnered the extra calories needed to foster a larger brain, long before there is evidence for controlled fire, which could have mitigated the problem of bacteria in rotting, scavenged meat. The fat hypothesis also predates by more than 1 million years most evidence for even basic toolmaking of simple stone flakes.

Scientists ought to begin looking for evidence of bone-smashing behavior in early human ancestors, Thompson said.

“Paleoanthropologists are looking for mostly complete bones, and then concentrating on identifying the animal that died,” Thompson says. “But instead of just wondering about the bone’s creature of origin, we should be asking, ‘What broke this bone?’ We need to start collecting tiny pieces of shattered bone to help piece together this kind of behavioral information.”

Source: Yale University [February 05, 2019]



Global Temperature by the Numbers

The Year

4th Hottest

2018 was the fourth hottest year since modern recordkeeping

began. NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration work together to track temperatures around the world and

study how they change from year to year. For decades, the overall global temperature

has been increasing.


Over the long term, world temperatures are warming, but each

individual year is affected by things like El Niño ocean patterns and specific

weather events.

1.5 degrees

Globally, Earth’s temperature was more than 1.5 degrees

Fahrenheit warmer than the average from 1951 to 1980.


The Record

139 years

Since 1880, we can put together a consistent

record of temperatures around the planet and see that it was much colder in the

late-19th century.

Before 1880, uncertainties in tracking global temperatures were too large.

Temperatures have increased even faster since the 1970s, the result of

increasing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.


Five Hottest

The last five years have been the hottest in the modern



6,300 Individual


Scientists from NASA use data from 6,300 weather stations

and Antarctic research stations, together with ship- and buoy-based

observations of sea surface temperatures to track global temperatures.


The Consequences

605,830 swimming pools

As the planet warms, polar ice is melting at an accelerated

. The Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets lost about 605,830 Olympic

swimming pools (400 billion gallons) of water between 1993 and 2016.


8 inches

Melting ice raises sea levels around the world. While ice

melts into the ocean, heat also causes the water to expand. Since 1880, sea

levels around the world have risen approximately 8 inches.


71,189 acres burned

One symptom of the warmer climate is that fire seasons burn

hotter and longer. In 2018, wildfires burned more than 71,189 acres in the U.S.



46% increase in CO2 levels

CO2 levels have increased 46 percent since the late 19th

Century, which is a dominant factor causing global warming.



    Солнечное затмение 14 декабря 2020 года  — полное  солнечное затмение  142  сароса , которое лучше всего будет видно в юго-восточной час...