понедельник, 8 июля 2019 г.

Black hole brings down curtain on jellyfish galaxy’s star turn

The role of an excited black hole in the death of an exotic ‘jellyfish’ galaxy was presented earlier this month by Callum Bellhouse of the University of Birmingham at the RAS National Astronomy Meeting in Lancaster. The supermassive black hole at the centre of jellyfish galaxy JO201 is stripping away gas and throwing it out into space, accelerating suppression of star formation and effectively ‘killing’ the galaxy.

Black hole brings down curtain on jellyfish galaxy's star turn
Jellyfish galaxy JO201 [Credit: Callum Bellhouse and the GASP collaboration]

Jellyfish galaxies are spectacular objects that undergo a dramatic process of transformation as they plunge through the dense core of a galaxy cluster at supersonic speeds. External drag forces tear away the galaxy’s gas, in a process known as ram-pressure stripping, leaving extended tentacles of trailing material.

The fate of JO201 has been revealed as part of a study of 114 jellyfish galaxies by the GASP (GAs Stripping Phenomena) collaboration, an international team of researchers led by Dr Bianca Poggianti.

To explore the structure of the jellyfish galaxies in 3D and estimate the timescales of their transformation, Bellhouse has createdinteractive models that can also be experienced in virtual reality.

The study shows that JO201, originally a large spiral galaxy, has been diving through the massive cluster Abell 85 at supersonic speeds for around a billion years. As the jellyfish galaxy is travelling along the line of sight, its tentacles appear foreshortened in the model, but the team estimates that they trail 94 kiloparsecs behind JO201 — about three times the diameter of our Milky Way.

Black hole brings down curtain on jellyfish galaxy's star turn
Jellyfish galaxy JO201 [Credit: Callum Bellhouse and the GASP collaboration]

«A galaxy sustains itself by constantly forming new stars from gas, so understanding how gas flows into and out of a galaxy helps us learn how it evolves. The example of JO201 shows how the balance tips towards then away from star-formation as it plunges through the galaxy cluster and faces increasingly extreme stripping of its gas,» said Bellhouse.

JO201’s transformation into a jellyfish galaxy has caused a brief increase in star formation due to the ram-pressure stripping process. Compressed clouds of gas have collapsed and formed a ring of stars in the disk of the galaxy. Dense knots in tentacles have condensed like rainclouds to begin forming new stars in the galaxy’s wake.

However, the over the last few hundred million years, the black hole appears to have ripped away gas to leave a large void around the centre of the galaxy disc. The team believes that the ram-pressure stripping may have funnelled gas into the central parts of the galaxy, where it has provoked the black hole into blasting out material and creating a shock-wave that has left a cavity behind.

«An important balancing act occurs between processes which either boost or diminish the star formation rate in jellyfish galaxies. In the case of JO201, the central black hole becomes excited by the ram-pressure stripping and starts to throw out gas. This means that the galaxy is being hollowed out from the inside, as well as torn away from the outside,» said Bellhouse.

Black hole brings down curtain on jellyfish galaxy's star turn
Composite image of jellyfish galaxy JO201 made from combining near ultraviolet (coloured blue), Hα (coloured red)
and oxygen (coloured green) [Credit: Callum Bellhouse and the GASP collaboration]

«JO201 is, so far, a unique example of a supermassive black hole and ram-pressure stripping in quenching star formation in a jellyfish galaxy. Studying these curious objects gives us an insight into the complex processes that galaxies experience,» said Bellhouse.
Interactive models

An interactive visualisation showing a 3-D model of the distribution of stars and gas in the Jellyfish Galaxy JO201/JW100/JO194. The model is made using the spatial distribution of stars and gas on the sky, with the velocity along the line-of-sight giving the depth. Red=Hydrogen, Blue=Nitrogen, Green=Oxygen, White=stars. Credit: Callum Bellhouse and the GASP collaboration.

JO201: https://sketchfab.com/3d-models/3fb078406b6648a08f34869e7029fc3f

JW100: https://sketchfab.com/3d-models/jw100-c113ab9570bf4f88a34bfdc55a6899a8

JO194: https://sketchfab.com/3d-models/jo194-bbd19b05889e49379e9085c36ea0efb7

Source: Royal Astronomical Society [July 02, 2019]



Methane vanishing on Mars: Danish researchers propose new mechanism as an explanation

The processes behind the release and consumption of methane on Mars have been discussed since methane was measured for the first time for approx. 15 years ago. Now, an interdisciplinary research group from Aarhus University has proposed a previously overlooked physical-chemical process that can explain methane’s consumption.

Methane vanishing on Mars: Danish researchers propose new mechanism as an explanation
Simulation of wind erosion on Mars. The quartz ampoule contains particles of olivine basalt and a Mars-like atmosphere.
By shaking the ampoule, the researchers simulate wind-generated saltation, ie. that the wind causes the sand grains
to make short jumps over the surface. The friction of the particles creates electrical charges, and the yellow star
 illustrates that an argon atom has lost an electron. The small electrical charges cause
the particles to glow slightly, as illustrated in the four pictures to the right
[Credit: Mars Simulation Laboratory, Aarhus University]

For approx. 15 years ago, one could for the first time read about methane in Mars’s atmosphere. This aroused great interest, also outside the scientific circles, since methane, based on our knowledge of methane on Earth, is considered a bio-signature, i.e. signs of biological activity and thus life.
In subsequent years, one could read articles that alternately reported on methane’s presence and absence. This variation led to doubts about the accuracy of the first methane measurements. Recent measurements of methane in Mars’ atmosphere have now shown that its dynamics is real enough and the fact that sometimes only very low concentrations can be measured is due to an unresolved mechanism that makes methane disappear from the atmosphere and not a mis-measurement.

The methane sources or the causes for its disappearance have not been identified at present. Especially the latter, the rapid disappearance of methane, lacks a plausible mechanistic explanation. The most obvious mechanism, namely the photochemical degradation of methane caused by UV radiation, cannot explain methane’s rapid disappearance, which is a prerequisite for explaining the dynamics.

Erosion and chemistry

Aarhus researchers have just published an article in the journal Icarus in which they propose a new mechanism that can explain the removal of methane on Mars. For years, the multidisciplinary Mars group has investigated the importance of wind-driven erosion of minerals for the formation of reactive surfaces under Mars-like conditions. For this purpose, the research group has developed equipment and methods for simulating erosion on Mars in their «earthly» laboratories.

Based on Mars-analogue minerals such as basalt and plagioclase, the researchers have shown that these solids can be oxidized and gases are ionized during the erosion processes. Thus, the ionized methane reacts with the mineral surfaces and bonds to them. The research team has shown that the carbon atom, such as methyl group from methane, directly binds to the silicon atom in plagioclase, which is also a dominant component of Mars’ surface material.

What the researchers see in the laboratory could also explain the loss of methane on Mars. By this mechanism, which is much more effective than photochemical processes, methane could be removed from the atmosphere within the observed time and then deposited in the Martian source soil.

Affects the possibility of life

The research group has furthermore shown that these mineral surfaces can lead to the formation of reactive chemicals such as hydrogen peroxide and oxygen radicals, which are very toxic to living organisms, incl. bacteria.

The group’s results are important for assessing the possibility of life on or near Mars’ surface. In a number of follow-up studies, the researchers will now examine what is going on with the bound methane, and whether the erosion process in addition to the gases in atmosphere also changes or even completely removes more complex organic material, which can either originate on Mars itself or has come to Mars as part of meteorites.

The results thus have an impact on our understanding of the preservation of organic material on Mars and thus the fundamental issue of life on Mars — inter alia in connection with the interpretation of the results of the upcoming ExoMars rover, which ESA is expected to land on Mars in 2021.

Author: Kai Finster | Source: Aarhus University [July 02, 2019]



Метеор Май 2019

A photograph of the meteor explosion that I caught on camera. Also known as a bolide or fireball.

On the 31st of May, 2019 I was on a road trip through the state of Utah. The goal of this road trip was to shoot as many astro photography timelapse sequences as possible (more information about that trip can be found here). Little did I know that I would capture a huge meteor explosion.

Any time in the past that I’ve gone out to shoot astro photos or timelapses I’ve captured at least a few meteors. These are extremely common and happen literally all the time.

What I shot on the 31st of May was a much more rare event. I captured a bolide, an extremely bright and intense meteor or fireball.

Check out the bolide timelapse video below.


Meteor explosion caught on camera.

Physicist finds loose thread of string theory puzzle

A University of Colorado Boulder physicist is one step closer to solving a string theory puzzle 20 years in the making.

Physicist finds loose thread of string theory puzzle
Credit: University of Colorado at Boulder

Paul Romatschke, an associate professor of physics at CU Boulder, has devised an alternative set of tools to those that created string theory’s three-quarters dilemma, a mathematical puzzle that has plagued scientists for years and has kept them from fully understanding and proving this possible «theory of everything.»

While not necessarily applicable to the everyday world, the results, which were published this week in Physical Review Letters, open the door for higher-level equations that could have implications on the way we approach and understand important aspects of physics like string theory or quantum field theories, which are a set of theories in physics that describe the dynamics of fields, or objects that permeate everything.

«While it would be nice to really get at the meaning of three-quarters, this is at least a very suggestive picture, so maybe that’s, if not the solution for three-quarters, at least a step towards sort of resolving it,» said Romatschke.

Since the 1960s, scientists have been puzzling over string theory, a theoretical framework of reality that involves tiny, wriggling one-dimensional objects—called strings—that make up the fabric of everything. First studied as a broad way to address a number of questions in fundamental physics, it has since been applied to topics ranging from black hole physics to nuclear physics to the very origins of the universe.

But, arguably, one of its biggest breakthroughs is the discovery that black holes and matter are roughly two sides of the same coin.

This so-called «duality» allows physicists to map properties of matter (such as pressure) to properties of the black holes found in Einstein’s general relativity, which would open up string theory for even greater mathematical exploration. There is, however, a big caveat—while physicists think that it works, no one’s been able to prove it.

Since the discovery of this duality was made 20 years ago, string theorists have been trying to clear this roadblock with progressively more complicated equations. Every time they compare this duality, though, they all get the exact same result: The free energy (a system’s ability to do work) from a strong interaction (or coupling) of the two is roughly three-quarters the strength of a weak coupling.

Romatschke, though, thinks he may finally have an answer to this puzzle—he just had to change dimensions.

Romatschke worked in a world that only has two dimensions—a «flatland» if you will. Using some of the equations from existing research on the subject, as well as modern quantum field theory techniques, he was able to prove a relationship exists by forcing matter (in this case, pressure) to interact from zero interaction to infinite interaction.

This research found that the pressure of infinite coupling is exactly four-fifths of that at zero coupling, meaning that not only is there a stronger connection in this lesser dimension than what was previously found, it also may provide a standard approach to solving these types of puzzles.

Romatschke acknowledges that this may be caused by the differences in dimensions, but is still optimistic about its usefulness to quantum field theory and cracking open the long-held string theory puzzle.

«This is basic research. Most of the things we try don’t work,» said Romatschke. «Nevertheless, if there’s something that has at least has the potential to work, then I think we should pursue it.»

Author: Cay Leytham-Powell | Source: University of Colorado at Boulder [July 02, 2019]



Many species of animals on Earth can go extinct unnoticed

Could thousands of species of animals on Earth can go extinct unnoticed? Many species from hardly accessible depths remain undiscovered. Therefore, there is a fear that human activity will lead to extinction of their predominant number before they are discovered, marine biologists alarm.

Many species of animals on Earth can go extinct unnoticed
Credit: Shutterstock

Scientists from 12 European countries discussed the threats and the key role of taxonomists (scientists who identify, classify and describe newly discovered species) in recognizing and describing the biodiversity of ocean depths during the May meeting at the Senckenberg Research Institute and the Natural History Museum in Frankfurt/Main (Germany). Poland was represented by Dr. Anna Jażdżewska and Aleksandra Koroza from the Laboratory of Polar Biology and Oceanobiology of the University of Lodz.

Researchers remind that according to the latest report of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, every fourth species known to science is threatened with extinction. This list includes mainly plants and large animals (birds, mammals and other vertebrates), above all land organisms and ones that are important from an economic point of view. Smaller organisms and ones that inhabit so far unexplored places, for example oceanic depths, still remain unknown to science. «It means that their elimination from the ecosystem due to human activity will simply go unnoticed» — warns Dr. Anna Jażdżewska.

Researchers emphasise that the oceanic depths, over 1000 meters deep, are the largest ecosystem in the world. It is inhabited by organisms of various sizes and shapes, and their adaptation to life in low temperatures, high pressure, endless darkness and food scarcity is an object of research and discussion of biologists, ecologists and representatives of many branches of industry (bioprospecting).

At the same time, due to their inaccessibility, oceanic depths remain the least researched ecosystem, and the reckless and short-sighted human activities are a serious threat to their natural resources, the participants of the Frankfurt meeting believe.

Among the main threats leading to the depletion of deep-water fauna, they name aggressive fishery (trawling), the impact of pollution, climate change and the exploitation of mineral deposits in the ocean floor. According to researchers, there are real concerns that the predominant number of deep-water species will irreversibly disappear before it is discovered.

European marine biologists point out that for them, the most urgent and key challenge is the biological exploration of the deep. «Only the possibly most complete and reliable knowledge about organisms inhabiting the deepest zones of the ocean will allow to develop principles of their protection and sustainable use of their resources» — adds the researcher from the University of Lodz.

The basis of this research is the taxonomic identification of organisms made by specialists (taxonomists). During the meeting, marine biologists discussed the problems that this group of biologists was facing. In the opinion of scientists, the most important tasks include standardization of available data in open scientific databases and efficient information exchange. The meeting participants emphasized the problem of underfunding of taxonomic projects and the need for technological development in order to more efficiently and fully explore and understand the factors shaping the diversity of oceanic depths.

Source: PAP — Science in Poland [July 02, 2019]



Egypt’s 4000-year-old Lahun pyramid opens to the public

A roughly 4,000-year-old mud-brick Egyptian pyramid is opening to the public for the first time this week, according to the north African nation’s antiquities ministry.

Egypt's 4000-year-old Lahun pyramid opens to the public
El-Lahun Pyramid [Credit: Shutterstock]

The mud-brick Lahun — or El-Lahun — pyramid was first discovered by British archaeologist William Petrie in 1889 in Fayoum, about 60 miles southwest of Cairo. In 2009, archaeologists discovered a cache of pharaonic-era mummies in brightly-colored, painted wooden coffins, Reuters reported at the time.
The opening of the little-known pyramid followed extensive conservation and preservation work, Egyptian officials said.

Egypt's 4000-year-old Lahun pyramid opens to the public

Passageway inside the pyramid of Senusret II, known as el-Lahun Pyramid, 

in Faiyum, Egypt  [Credit: Egypt. Ministry of Antiquities]

«The conservation work includes the removal of debris found inside the pyramid’s corridors and burial chamber and installing wooden stairs to facilitate its entrance,» Mostafa Waziri, General Secretary of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, said in a statement.
«It also includes re-installing the fallen stones in the hall and corridor to its original location after restoration, as well as restoring the deteriorated stones of its floor and installing a new lighting system.»

Egypt's 4000-year-old Lahun pyramid opens to the public
A granite coffin is shown inside the pyramid of Senusret II, known as el-Lahun Pyramid,
in Faiyum, Egypt [Credit: Li Yan/Xinhua]

The pyramid was built during the reign of 12th dynasty pharaoh Senusret II, who ruled Egypt from 1897 B.C. to 1878 B.C., according to the antiquities ministry.
The pyramid’s entrance lies on its southern rather than the northern side, unlike most of Egyptian pyramids.

In the same complex, artifacts were also discovered in one of the Middle Kingdom tombs on the southern side of the pyramid.

Author: Hatem Maher | Source: ABC News Website [July 02, 2019]



Family tomb of ancient bronzeware artisans identified in Central China

Archaeologists in central China’s Henan Province said they have identified 42 tombs unearthed since 2017 to be a family tomb of bronzeware artisans dating back over 3,000 years.

Family tomb of ancient bronzeware artisans identified in Central China
Aerial photo of the family tomb of bronzeware artisans of the Shang Dynasty in Anyang,
central China’s Henan Province [Credit: Xinhua/Li An]

The tomb complex is China’s first identified family tomb of bronzeware artisans of the Shang Dynasty (1600-1046 BC), said He Yuling, researcher of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
The 42 tombs were unearthed in the ruins of a workshop of ritual bronzeware for royal families excavated in August 2015.

Family tomb of ancient bronzeware artisans identified in Central China

Family tomb of ancient bronzeware artisans identified in Central China

Family tomb of ancient bronzeware artisans identified in Central China
Excavations at the family tomb of bronzeware artisans of the Shang Dynasty in Anyang,
central China’s Henan Province [Credit: Xinhua/Li An]

Family tomb of ancient bronzeware artisans identified in Central China

Family tomb of ancient bronzeware artisans identified in Central China

Family tomb of ancient bronzeware artisans identified in Central China
Artefacts unearthed from the family tomb of bronzeware artisans of the Shang Dynasty
are displayed in Anyang, central China’s Henan Province [Credit: Xinhua/Li An]

Tools such as pottery moulds, copper knives and polishing stones were also found in the tombs.

The unearthed tombs of artisans will help researchers study bronzeware techniques and the role and hierarchy of artisans in the Shang Dynasty, He said.

Source: Xinhua News Agency [July 02, 2019]



3,000-year-old purple dye industry revealed near Haifa

Archaeological findings uncovered in the 1960s and 1970s have recently revealed a wonderful secret: the first biblical-period facility for the production of prestigious purple-dyed textiles has been uncovered at Tel Shikmona, near Haifa.

3,000-year-old purple dye industry revealed near Haifa
Aerial view of Tel Shikmona, looking west
[Credit:  M. Eisenberg]

“Until now, there has not been any meaningful direct archaeological evidence of workshops for the production of purple-colored textiles from the Iron Age – the biblical period – not even in Tyre and Sidon, which were the main Phoenician centers for the manufacture of purple dye,” explained Prof. Ayelet Gilboa and PhD candidate Golan Shalvi from the University of Haifa, who are studying the finds that have been guarded in various storerooms in Haifa for the last half century.
“If we have identified our findings correctly, Tel Shikmona on the Carmel Coast has just become one of the most unique archaeological sites in the region,” they said.

3,000-year-old purple dye industry revealed near Haifa
Shards of vessels from the Tel Shikmona archaeological site south of Haifa
[Credit: University of Haifa]

Tel Shikmona is situated on a small coastal promontory on the southern outskirts of Haifa. The site is known mainly for its surrounding Byzantine settlement, including splendid mosaics. The Iron Age settlement dates back to the 11th to 6th centuries BCE, corresponding in biblical terms to the period of the judges, the United Monarchy (Saul, David, and Solomon), the Kingdoms of Israel and Judah and the Assyrian/Babylonian epoch.

It occupies just a little more than one acre, out of the 25 acre site of the Byzantine city at its peak. A section of the tell was excavated thoroughly between 1963-1977 by Dr. Yosef Elgavis on behalf of the Haifa Museum. The site was known to have yielded rich material findings; for various reasons, however, these have never been published in a comprehensive manner.

3,000-year-old purple dye industry revealed near Haifa
Phoenician-type bowl found at Tell Shikmona
[Credit: Golan Shalvi/University of Haifa]

The fact that the totality of the finds has never been thoroughly examined, spread an aura of mystery over the small biblical settlement. Archaeologists could not entirely understand why the settlement was established on the small promontory, since the rocky coastline in this area would not have allowed boats to land safely. Extensive agricultural land is not available around Shikmona, so that agriculture too could not have been the purpose of this settlement. The site does not even lie on any major thoroughfare.
Now that Gilboa and Shalvi have been granted access to Dr. Elgavish’s finds, the secret of Shikmona may at last begin to reveal itself. The two researchers explain that two phenomena are immediately apparent from the hundreds of pottery items and shards waiting on the shelves of the archives: First, that the wealth of findings is associated with the Phoenician culture, including an unusual number of vessels imported from overseas. Thus, for example, Shikmona is home to the largest number of Cypriot “Black-on-Red ware” ever found outside the island.

3,000-year-old purple dye industry revealed near Haifa
Weights found from the Temple period at Tell Shikmona
[Credit: Golan Shalvi/University of Haifa]

The second phenomenon is even more amazing: the largest collection of ceramic vats found anywhere in the world from the first millennium BCE that still preserve purple coloring of various shades. Some of these have already been analyzed in the past by Nira Karmon and Prof. Ehud Spanier from the University of Haifa, which indeed revealed that the pigments absorbed in clay were genuine sea snails pigments; the scope of the phenomenon, however, has not been realized then.

Currently, a new chemical examination of dozens of such vats is being undertaken by Dr. Naama Sukenik, curator of organic materials in the Israel Antiquities Authority, in cooperation with a team of researchers from Bar Ilan University – Dr. David Ilouz, Dr. Alexander Vervack, and Prof. Zohar Amar. It proved that on all the items the stains are indeed true purple coloring extracted from marine snails.

3,000-year-old purple dye industry revealed near Haifa
Imported vessels found at the Tel Shikmona archaeological site
[Credit: University of Haifa]

“It is very rare to find shards from this period featuring purple color. Such items have been found in other sites along Israel’s northern coast, such as Dor and Akko, but in small numbers. Yet at Shikmona there are almost 30 vessels of this type. This is very unusual,” the researchers emphasized. In addition to the production of the dye, dozens of spindle whorls and loom weights were also found, testifying to the manufacture of wool and textiles that were dyed on site.
In the past, because of the biblical record, it was assumed that Shikmona and the entire Carmel region were part of the United Kingdom and then the Kingdom of Israel, till its destruction by the Assyrians. But based on the findings examined, the researchers propose to associate the site with the Phoenician world.

3,000-year-old purple dye industry revealed near Haifa
Imported vessels found at the Tel Shikmona archaeological site
[Credit: University of Haifa]

The most prestigious clothes in this era were dyed with the famous purple (Hebrew: argaman and techelet), produced from the glands of maritime snails of the Murex snail family. Since thousands of snails were needed in order to produce a single kilogram of dye, wearing purple clothes became the privilege of nobility and royalty. In many kingdoms, ordinary citizens were forbidden to wear such clothes. The secret process for the manufacture and dyeing of purple was guarded jealously, and even today the ancient techniques are not fully understood.

Thanks to the latest insights, the researchers can now cast new light on the importance of Shikmona. This small isolated site was not a village or a settlement at all, but rather a fortified factory for the production of purple dye and the dyeing of textiles and wool. Its location on a rocky coast with no convenient anchorage now becomes logical: such an environment would provide the ideal habitat for the murex snails, which could be harvested in their tens of thousands. The conspicuous Phoenician material culture revealed at the site also makes sense now: the residents (or rather employees) had an affinity to the cultural and informational world of the Phoenicians, who held the secrets of the manufacture of purple dye. Purple-dyed cloth formed the backbone of trading networks, explaining the presence at the site of the abundant Cypriot pottery that was transferred through these contacts.

3,000-year-old purple dye industry revealed near Haifa
Imported vessels found at the Tel Shikmona archaeological site
[Credit: University of Haifa]

“To date, no center for the production of purple has been found in Iron Age Phoenicia,” the researchers concluded. “We know that there were production sites in Tyre and Sidon and other sites in Lebanon, and thousands of Murex shells have been found there, but it seems that most of them are from the Classical periods and there is still no evidence of the production sites themselves and no direct evidence of the dye. Our identification of the character and function of Shikmona makes it the first site found from this period, and certainly one of the most important ones. Rather than being considered a region of secondary importance in this period, the Carmel Coast can now gain its rightful place as one of the most important production areas of the dye in ancient times in general, and during the biblical period in particular.”

The Shikmona project is run under the auspices of the Zinman Institute of Archaeology at the University of Haifa, with the support of the Israel Antiquities Authority and the National Maritime Museum in Haifa. Recently excavations at the site were renewed by Drs. Michael Eisenberg and Shai Bar from the Zinman Institute. Some of the findings are permanently displayed in the National Maritime Museum in Haifa.

Author: David Israel | Source: Jewish Press [July 02, 2019]



Tutankhamun bust sells for $6 mn in London despite Egyptian outcry

A 3,000-year-old quartzite head of Egyptian «Boy King» Tutankhamun was auctioned off for $6 million Thursday in London despite a fierce outcry from Cairo.

Tutankhamun bust sells for $6 mn in London despite Egyptian outcry
The disputed bust of Tutankhamun was sold for $6 million 
[Credit: Reuters]

Christie’s auction house sold the 28.5-centimetre (11-inch) relic for £4,746,250 ($5,970,000, 5,290,000 euros) at one of its most controversial auctions in years. No information about the buyer was disclosed.

The famous pharaoh’s finely-chiselled face — its calm eyes and puffed lips emoting a sense of eternal peace — came from the private Resandro Collection of ancient art that Christie’s last parcelled off for £3 million in 2016.

But angry Egyptian officials wanted Thursday’s sale halted and the treasure returned. About a dozen protesters waved Egyptian flags and held up signs reading «stop trading in smuggled antiquities» outside the British auction house’s London sales room.

«This should not be kept at home. It should be in a museum,» Egyptian national Magda Sakr told AFP. «It is history. It is one of our most famous kings,» the 50-year-old said.

Egypt’s antiquities ministry said it would hold a special meeting at the start of next week to discuss its next steps in the standoff.

«The Egyptian government will take all the necessary measures to recover Egyptian antiquities that left Egypt illegally,» it said in statement.

Former Egyptian antiquities minister Zahi Hawass told AFP by telephone from Cairo that the piece appeared to have been «stolen» in the 1970s from the Karnak Temple complex just north of Luxor.

«We think it left Egypt after 1970 because in that time other artefacts were stolen from Karnak Temple,» Hawass said.

The Egyptian foreign ministry had asked the UK Foreign Office and the UN cultural body UNSECO to step in and halt the sale.

But such interventions are rare and made only when there is clear evidence of the item’s legitimate acquisition by the seller being in dispute.

Christie’s argued that Egypt had never before expressed the same level of concern about an item whose existence has been «well known and exhibited publicly» for many years.

«The object is not, and has not been, the subject of an investigation,» Christie’s said in a statement to AFP.

The auction house has published a chronology of how the relic changed hands between European art dealers over the past 50 years.

Its oldest attribution from 1973-74 places it in the collection of Prince Wilhelm of Thurn and Taxi in modern-day Germany.

This account’s veracity was called into doubt by a report from the Live Science news site last month suggesting that Wilhelm never owned the piece. Wilhelm was «not a very art-interested person,» his niece Daria told the news site.

Tutankhamun is thought to have become a pharaoh at the age of nine and to have died about 10 years later. His rule would have probably passed without notice were it not for the 1922 discovery by Britain’s Howard Carter of his nearly intact tomb.

The lavish find revived interest in ancient Egypt and set the stage for subsequent battles over ownership of cultural masterpieces unearthed in colonial times. Tutankhamun became commonly known as King Tut and made into the subject of popular songs and films.

International conventions and the British government’s own guidance restrict the sale of works that were known to have been stolen or illegally dug up. The British Museum has been wrangling for decades with Greece over its remarkable room full of marble Parthenon friezes and sculptures.

Egypt’s own campaign to recover lost art gained momentum after numerous works went missing during the looting that accompanied former president Hosni Mubarak’s fall from power in 2011.

Cairo has managed to regain hundreds of looted and stolen artefacts by working with both auction houses and international cultural groups. But it was never able to provide evidence for the Tutankhamun bust being illegally obtained.

Christie’s told AFP that it would «not sell any work where there isn’t clear title of ownership».

Author: Dmitry Zaks | Source: AFP [July 04, 2019]



2019 July 8 The Galactic Center in Radio from MeerKAT Image…

2019 July 8

The Galactic Center in Radio from MeerKAT
Image Credit: MeerKAT, SARAO

Explanation: What’s happening at the center of our galaxy? It’s hard to tell with optical telescopes since visible light is blocked by intervening interstellar dust. In other bands of light, though, such as radio, the galactic center can be imaged and shows itself to be quite an interesting and active place. The featured picture shows the inaugural image of the MeerKAT array of 64 radio dishes just completed in South Africa. Spanning four times the angular size of the Moon (2 degrees), the image is impressively vast, deep, and detailed. Many known sources are shown in clear detail, including many with a prefix of Sgr, since the Galactic Center is in the direction of the constellation Sagittarius. In our Galaxy’s Center lies Sgr A, found here just to the right of the image center, which houses the Milky Way’s central supermassive black hole. Other sources in the image are not as well understood, including the Arc, just to the left of Sgr A, and numerous filamentary threads. Goals for MeerKAT include searching for radio emission from neutral hydrogen emitted in a much younger universe and brief but distant radio flashes.

∞ Source: apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap190708.html

July Sunflowers! Image of the Week – July 8, 2019CIL:40392 -…

July Sunflowers! Image of the Week – July 8, 2019


Description: Scanning electron microscope image of Helianthus annuus (sunflower) stem epidermal surface, showing a trichome (finger-like projection) and a stomata (pore used for gas exchange). This image is part of a group on botanical stems (CIL:40378-40395).

Author: Louisa Howard

Licensing: Public Domain: This image is in the public domain and thus free of any copyright restrictions. However, as is the norm in scientific publishing and as a matter of courtesy, any user should credit the content provider for any public or private use of this image whenever possible.

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Balgarthno Prehistoric Stone Circle, Dundee, Angus, 7.7.19.A first visit for me; this is...

Balgarthno Prehistoric Stone Circle, Dundee, Angus, 7.7.19.

A first visit for me; this is a prehistoric site that has been displaced at some point. The flankers suggest this would have been an impressive circle.

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Louden Wood Prehistoric Stone Circle, New Deer, Aberdeenshire, 6.7.19.This was a first...

Louden Wood Prehistoric Stone Circle, New Deer, Aberdeenshire, 6.7.19.

This was a first visit to this stone circle and it was a little creepy; there was no soul for miles and the forest surrounding the site was absolutely silent. I had been walking for ages in rain in dense forest and the circle was difficult to locate. It just needed a little snow and some White Walkers and the scene would have been complete.

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https://t.co/hvL60wwELQ — XissUFOtoday Space (@xufospace) August 3, 2021 Жаждущий ежик наслаждается пресной водой после нескольких дней в о...