четверг, 10 октября 2019 г.

Clearing Things Up You can appreciate the essential role a…


Clearing Things Up


You can appreciate the essential role a brain surgeon is performing without understanding exactly how they do it. The same applies to molecules in the body, such as the enzyme PRPS, which researchers know is integral to several neurological diseases, but don’t fully understand. Unpicking its role could spark new treatments, so researchers blocked its action in fruit flies to see what processes were affected. Flies lacking the enzyme starved more quickly in tests, because they couldn’t digest fat stored in lipid droplets (red, unchanged after 48 hours of starvation in test flies, bottom right, compared to before starvation, left, and unaltered flies, top). This reveals PRPS is needed for autophagy – a process involved in disassembling cells, maintaining a stable internal environment, and known to be involved in nervous system disorders such as Parkinson’s. Revealing this and other mechanisms of PRPS is the first step in tackling its unwanted effects.


Written by Anthony Lewis



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2019 October 10 Mid-Air Meteor and Milky Way Image Credit…


2019 October 10


Mid-Air Meteor and Milky Way
Image Credit & Copyright: Eric Wagner


Explanation: On September 24, a late evening commercial flight from Singapore to Australia offered stratospheric views of the southern hemisphere’s night sky, if you chose a window seat. In fact, a well-planned seating choice with a window facing toward the Milky Way allowed the set up of a sensitive digital camera on a tripod mount to record the galaxy’s central bulge in a series of 10 second long exposures. By chance, one of the exposures caught this bright fireball meteor in the starry frame. Reflected along the wing of the A380 aircraft, the brilliant greenish streak is also internally reflected in the double layer window, producing a fainter parallel to the original meteor track. In the southern sky Jupiter is the bright source beneath the galactic bulge and seen next to a green beacon, just off the wing tip.


∞ Source: apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap191010.html


Eldredgeops rana, Trilobite Fossil. | #Geology #GeologyPage…


Eldredgeops rana, Trilobite Fossil. | #Geology #GeologyPage #Trilobite #Fossil


Locality: Hamilton group , Ontario Canada.


Photo Copyright © Tony Petropoulos

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Milky Way’s Center Will Be Revealed by NASA’s Webb Telescope



The center of our Milky Way galaxy is hidden from the prying eyes of optical telescopes by clouds of obscuring dust and gas. But in this stunning vista, the Spitzer Space Telescope’s infrared cameras penetrate much of the dust, revealing the stars of the crowded galactic center region. The upcoming Webb telescope will offer a much-improved infrared view, teasing out fainter stars and sharper details. Credits: NASA, JPL-Caltech, Susan Stolovy (SSC/Caltech) et al.





Infrared observations using the ground-based Keck telescope have allowed astronomers to track individual stars orbiting the black hole at the galactic center. Webb is expected to detect fainter stars than are shown here, providing a more complete census of the stellar population within the galactic core. Credits: Keck/UCLA Galactic Center Group.




Galactic dust hides swarms of stars and black hole’s glowing disk


To understand galaxies throughout the universe, astronomers start by studying our home galaxy, the Milky Way. Observing the Milky Way is harder than it sounds because vast clouds of dust block light in all directions, particularly toward the galactic center. NASA’s upcoming James Webb Space Telescope will gather infrared light from the center of our galaxy that has passed through the dusty veil. It will examine stellar populations to learn how stars can survive that tumultuous region, which is bathed in harsh ultraviolet and X-ray light and wracked with gravitational tides. And if scientists are lucky, they’ll spot the faint, steady glow from matter spiraling around a supermassive black hole.


The center of our galaxy is a crowded place: A black hole weighing 4 million times as much as our Sun is surrounded by millions of stars whipping around it at breakneck speeds. This extreme environment is bathed in intense ultraviolet light and X-ray radiation. Yet much of this activity is hidden from our view, obscured by vast swaths of interstellar dust.


NASA’s upcoming James Webb Space Telescope is designed to view the universe in infrared light, which is invisible to the human eye, but is very important for looking at astronomical objects hidden by dust. After its launch, Webb will gather infrared light that has penetrated the dusty veil, revealing the galactic center in unprecedented detail.


“Even one image from Webb will be the highest quality image ever obtained of the galactic center,” said Roeland van der Marel of the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI), principal investigator on one planned study that will focus on imaging.


Telescopes on the ground and in space have provided tantalizing glimpses of the residents of the galactic center. Astronomers have tracked stars orbiting the black hole, some of which approach close enough to provide a test of Einstein’s general theory of relativity. However, so far, only the brightest stars are detectable.


“We’re only seeing the tip of the iceberg from the ground. Webb will be able to study fainter stars and tell us more about the overall stellar population,” said Torsten Böker of the European Space Agency and STScI, a co-investigator on a second planned study of the galactic center that will focus on spectroscopy.


Scientists already have been surprised to find low-mass infant stars forming close to the supermassive black hole – some within just a few light-years of its grasp. Theoretically, the black hole’s immense gravity and harsh radiation environment should disrupt any gas clouds and prevent them from collapsing into stars. Yet these baby stars called protostars have persisted. Webb’s observations may reveal additional protostars, and could provide clues to how stars can form in such an unlikely spot.

Black Hole Mysteries


The Milky Way’s supermassive black hole, known to astronomers as Sagittarius A* (pronounced A-star) also will fall under Webb’s gaze. It is surrounded by a disk of gas and dust, some of which will inevitably fall into the black hole. Astronomers have observed flares of light when the black hole gulped a clump of material. However, they have never detected the steady glow from the black hole’s disk.

“Detecting the disk around Sagittarius A* with Webb would be a home run,” Böker said.


Data from Webb also could help address broader questions of how galaxies form — such as the longstanding «chicken and egg» problem of which came first, the galaxy or the black hole.


“Does the black hole come first and stars form around it? Do stars gather together and collide to form the black hole? These are questions we want to answer,” said Jay Anderson of STScI, a co-investigator on one of the studies.


Additionally, studies have shown that the mass of a galaxy’s central black hole is related to the total mass of the surrounding stars, but the reasons for this relationship remain unknown.


“Are there any clues to this mass correlation close to the black hole? Or has recent star formation wiped out signs of what might have happened in the past?” added Marcia Rieke of the University of Arizona, principal investigator on Webb’s NIRCam instrument.

Serendipitous Possibilities


Ultimately, the most exciting results from Webb’s observations might be the unexpected. For example, Webb might find stars in unusual orbits. Or, Webb might spot a gas cloud destined to be ripped apart by gravitational forces.

“We would like to see something unusual, like a star being gobbled up,” said van der Marel.


Ideally, these initial studies of the galactic center will inform future Webb observations. By revisiting the galactic center over a period of several years, astronomers can gain a new understanding of this chaotic region of space.


“So many interesting, strange things happen at the centers of galaxies. We want to find out what’s happening in our own,” said Rieke.


The observations described here will be taken as part of Webb’s Guaranteed Time Observation (GTO) program. The GTO program provides dedicated time to the scientists who have worked with NASA to craft the science and instrument capabilities of Webb throughout its development.


The James Webb Space Telescope will be the world’s premier space science observatory when it launches in 2021. Webb will solve mysteries of our solar system, look beyond to distant worlds around other stars, and probe the mysterious structures and origins of our universe and our place in it. Webb is an international project led by NASA with its partners, ESA (European Space Agency) and the Canadian Space Agency





Contact:

Christine Pulliam
Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, Maryland
410-338-4366
cpulliam@stsci.edu


Related Links: NASA’s Webb Portal



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2019 September 28 An Analemma of the Sun Image Credit &…


2019 September 28


An Analemma of the Sun
Image Credit & Copyright: Gyorgy Soponyai


Explanation: This week the equinox found the Sun near the middle, but not at the crossing point, of an analemma in its annual trek through planet Earth’s skies. In this scenic view, that graceful, figure-8-shaped curve was intentionally posed above the iconic Danube River and the capital city of Hungary. Looking south from Budapest’s Margaret Bridge it combines digital frames taken at exactly the same time of day (11:44 CET) on dates between 2018 September 24 and 2019 September 15. That puts the metropolitan Pest on the left, regal Buda on the right, and the positions of the Sun on the solstice dates at the top and bottom of the analemma curve. December’s near solstice Sun is just hidden behind a dramatic cloud bank.


∞ Source: apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap190928.html


Ballymeanoch Prehistoric Complex, Kilmartin Glen, Argyll, 28.9.19.










Ballymeanoch Prehistoric Complex, Kilmartin Glen, Argyll, 28.9.19.


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Nine Ladies Prehistoric Stone Circle, Stanton Moor, Derbyshire, 5.10.19.











Nine Ladies Prehistoric Stone Circle, Stanton Moor, Derbyshire, 5.10.19.


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Prehistoric Funerary Ornaments, The Hunterian Museum, Glasgow, Scotland, 29.9.19.







Prehistoric Funerary Ornaments, The Hunterian Museum, Glasgow, Scotland, 29.9.19.


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Bronze Age Vessel from Ireland, The Hunterian Museum, Glasgow, 29.9.19.






Bronze Age Vessel from Ireland, The Hunterian Museum, Glasgow, 29.9.19.


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