воскресенье, 19 января 2020 г.

Astronomers reveal interstellar thread of one of life's building blocks


Phosphorus, present in our DNA and cell membranes, is an essential element for life as we know it. But how it arrived on the early Earth is something of a mystery. Astronomers have now traced the journey of phosphorus from star-forming regions to comets using the combined powers of ALMA and the European Space Agency's probe Rosetta. Their research shows, for the first time, where molecules containing phosphorus form, how this element is carried in comets, and how a particular molecule may have played a crucial role in starting life on our planet.

Astronomers reveal interstellar thread of one of life's building blocks
This infographic shows the key results from a study that has revealed the interstellar thread of phosphorus, one of life's
building blocks. Thanks to ALMA, astronomers could pinpoint where phosphorus-bearing molecules form in star-forming
regions like AFGL 5142. The background of this infographic shows a part of the night sky in the constellation of Auriga,
where the star-forming region AFGL 5142 is located. The ALMA image of this object is on the top left of the infographic,
and one of the locations where the team found phosphorus-bearing molecules is indicated by a circle. The most common
phosphorus-bearing molecule in AFGL 5142 is phosphorus monoxide, represented in orange and red in the diagram on
 the bottom left. Another molecule found was phosphorus nitride, represented in orange and blue. Using data from the
ROSINA instrument onboard ESA's Rosetta, astronomers also found phosphorus monoxide on comet 67P/Churyumov-
Gerasimenko, shown on the bottom right. This first sighting of phosphorus monoxide on a comet helps astronomers
draw a connection between star-forming regions, where the molecule is created, all the way to Earth, where it
played a crucial role in starting life [Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), Rivilla et al.; ESO/L. Calcada;
ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM; Mario Weigand, SkyTrip.de]
"Life appeared on Earth about 4 billion years ago, but we still do not know the processes that made it possible," says Victor Rivilla, the lead author of a new study published today in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. The new results from the Atacama Large Millimeter/Submillimeter Array (ALMA), in which the European Southern Observatory (ESO) is a partner, and from the ROSINA instrument on board Rosetta, show that phosphorus monoxide is a key piece in the origin-of-life puzzle.

With the power of ALMA, which allowed a detailed look into the star-forming region AFGL 5142, astronomers could pinpoint where phosphorus-bearing molecules, like phosphorus monoxide, form. New stars and planetary systems arise in cloud-like regions of gas and dust in between stars, making these interstellar clouds the ideal places to start the search for life's building blocks.


The ALMA observations showed that phosphorus-bearing molecules are created as massive stars are formed. Flows of gas from young massive stars open up cavities in interstellar clouds. Molecules containing phosphorus form on the cavity walls, through the combined action of shocks and radiation from the infant star. The astronomers have also shown that phosphorus monoxide is the most abundant phosphorus-bearing molecule in the cavity walls.

After searching for this molecule in star-forming regions with ALMA, the European team moved on to a Solar System object: the now-famous comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. The idea was to follow the trail of these phosphorus-bearing compounds. If the cavity walls collapse to form a star, particularly a less-massive one like the Sun, phosphorus monoxide can freeze out and get trapped in the icy dust grains that remain around the new star. Even before the star is fully formed, those dust grains come together to form pebbles, rocks and ultimately comets, which become transporters of phosphorus monoxide.


ROSINA, which stands for Rosetta Orbiter Spectrometer for Ion and Neutral Analysis, collected data from 67P for two years as Rosetta orbited the comet. Astronomers had found hints of phosphorus in the ROSINA data before, but they did not know what molecule had carried it there. Kathrin Altwegg, the Principal Investigator for Rosina and an author in the new study, got a clue about what this molecule could be after being approached at a conference by an astronomer studying star-forming regions with ALMA: "She said that phosphorus monoxide would be a very likely candidate, so I went back to our data and there it was!"

This first sighting of phosphorus monoxide on a comet helps astronomers draw a connection between star-forming regions, where the molecule is created, all the way to Earth.

"The combination of the ALMA and ROSINA data has revealed a sort of chemical thread during the whole process of star formation, in which phosphorus monoxide plays the dominant role," says Rivilla, who is a researcher at the Arcetri Astrophysical Observatory of INAF, Italy's National Institute for Astrophysics.


"Phosphorus is essential for life as we know it," adds Altwegg. "As comets most probably delivered large amounts of organic compounds to the Earth, the phosphorus monoxide found in comet 67P may strengthen the link between comets and life on Earth."

This intriguing journey could be documented because of the collaborative efforts between astronomers. "The detection of phosphorus monoxide was clearly thanks to an interdisciplinary exchange between telescopes on Earth and instruments in space," says Altwegg.

Leonardo Testi, ESO astronomer and ALMA European Operations Manager, concludes: "Understanding our cosmic origins, including how common the chemical conditions favourable for the emergence of life are, is a major topic of modern astrophysics. While ESO and ALMA focus on the observations of molecules in distant young planetary systems, the direct exploration of the chemical inventory within our Solar System is made possible by ESA missions, like Rosetta. The synergy between world leading ground-based and space facilities, through the collaboration between ESO and ESA, is a powerful asset for European researchers and enables transformational discoveries like the one reported in this paper."

Source: ESO [January 15, 2020]



* This article was originally published here

The Cornish Farmer

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Roman Cavalry Decorated Horse Chamfron, Newstead, National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh, December...

Roman Cavalry Decorated Horse Chamfron, Newstead, National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh, December 2019



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Newly created embryo nourishes hope for the survival of the northern white rhino


In August 2019 a team of scientists and conservationists broke new ground in saving the northern white rhinoceros from extinction. They harvested eggs from the two remaining females, artificially inseminated those using frozen sperm from deceased males and created two viable northern white rhino embryos. With great support from the Kenyan Government and in the presence of Hon Najib Balala, - Kenya's Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife - the team repeated the procedure on December 17, 2019, and was able to create a new embryo over Christmas. This significantly increases the chances of successfully producing offspring. The procedure has proven to be safe and reproducible, and can be performed on a regular basis before the animals become too old. Preparations for the next steps of the northern white rhino rescue mission are underway.

Newly created embryo nourishes hope for the survival of the northern white rhino
Northern white rhinoceros [Credit: Ami Vitale]
Four months after the ground breaking first "ovum pickup" in August 2019, the team repeated the procedure with northern white rhinos Najin and Fatu on December 17, 2019, at Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya. The animals were placed under general anaesthetic and nine immature egg cells (oocytes) - three from Najin and six from Fatu - were harvested from the animals' ovaries using a probe guided by ultrasound. The anaesthesia and the ovum pickup went smoothly and without any complications. The oocytes were transported immediately to the Avantea Laboratory in Italy. After incubating and maturing nine eggs, four from Fatu and one from Najin were fertilised with sperm using a procedure called ICSI (Intra Cytoplasm Sperm Injection). One out of five eggs from Fatu fertilized with semen from Suni developed into a viable embryo with the help of Geri, an innovative benchtop incubator with integrated continuous embryo monitoring capabilities designed to provide an individualized and undisturbed incubation environment, donated by Merck. The embryo is now stored in liquid nitrogen along with the two embryos from the first procedures.


Hon. Najib Balala, Cabinet Secretary for Kenya's Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife: "As a government, we are glad that the northern white rhino in-vitro fertilisation project by a consortium of scientists and conservationists from Kenya, Czech Republic, Germany and Italy collaborative partnership has been able to successfully produce three pure northern white rhino embryos ready for implantation into southern white rhino as surrogate mothers in coming months. This is a big win for Kenya and its partners, as the northern white rhinos are faced with the threat of imminent extinction, where only two of them, females Najin and Fatu, are left in the whole world and are currently hosted by Kenya. It's a delicate process, and for that, we thank the concerned parties, the Kenya Wildlife Service, Ol Pejeta Conservancy, Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research, Avantea Laboratory and Dvur Kralove Zoo, for putting in all of their efforts in ensuring that the critically endangered species do not disappear from the planet under our watch. I urge the scientists to continue digging deeper into technology and innovations to ensure that not only this concerned species does not go extinct, but other species that are faced with similar threats. The fact that Kenya is at the centre of this scientific breakthrough also makes me very proud. It's amazing to see that we will be able to reverse the tragic loss of this subspecies through science."

Preparations for the next steps of the mission for saving the northern white rhino from extinction are underway simultaneously to the creation of embryos. The plan is to select a group of southern white rhinos at Ol Pejeta Conservancy from which a female could serve as surrogate mother for the northern white rhino embryo. To achieve the best possible results for work with pure northern white rhino embryos, the team relies on experience from similar embryo transfer procedures in southern white rhinos that have been performed in order to address reproduction challenges in European zoos. Despite the fact that more research is still needed, the team expects that a first attempt for this crucial, never before achieved step, may be undertaken in 2020.


In December 2019, the team also transported the semen of Sudan, the last northern white rhino male that died in March 2018, from Kenya to Germany. The aim is to use it in future for production of more embryos. However, as the semen was collected in 2014 when Sudan was already over 40 years old, it is necessary to test it first and then see whether it could be used for such purposes.

The egg collection, embryo creation and preparation for the embryo transfer is a joint effort by the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (Leibniz-IZW), Avantea, Dvur Kralove Zoo, Ol Pejeta Conservancy and the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS). The entire process is part of the "BioRescue" research. Its goal is to significantly advance assisted reproduction techniques (ART) and stem cell associated techniques (SCAT) complemented with a comprehensive ethical assessment carried out by the University of Padova for the benefit of the northern white rhinoceros. The consortium is partially funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and comprises of internationally renowned institutions from Germany, Italy, Czech Republic, Kenya, Japan and USA.

Source: Forschungsverbund Berlin [January 15, 2020]



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Crop Circle Preston Candover, Basingstoke and Deane Hampshire 4K

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Crop Circle Preston Candover, Basingstoke and Deane, Hampshire, Reported 11/08/2019
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Neolithic Carved Stone Grave Goods, Skara Brae, National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh, December...

Neolithic Carved Stone Grave Goods, Skara Brae, National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh, December 2019.



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The heat is on for Australia's beloved marsupials


As Australia's weather heats up, it could have serious consequences for some of our country's most iconic animals, according to new research from The Australian National University (ANU).

The heat is on for Australia's beloved marsupials
Credit: Pixabay
The research shows marsupials like koalas, possums and gliders are forced to change their eating habits in hot weather because of the toxins found in Eucalyptus leaves. The study has just been completed by Ph.D. researcher Phillipa Beale.

"Processing the toxins generates body heat, which is obviously not ideal when it's hot," Ms Beale said. "The animals compensate by eating less, which means they have less energy for everything else—including reproducing. It also influences their food selection. Evidence shows when it's cool, koalas choose a mix of low, medium and high toxin leaves. When it gets really hot, they eat less, but they also avoid the higher toxin leaves."


Ms Beale said it's a complicated problem, because toxin levels can vary from tree to tree, even within the one species.

"It's not like you can look at a forest and say 'oh, there's adequate number of that type of eucalypt, so they'll be fine.' That doesn't really cut it, especially if these animals' tolerance to the chemicals changes with the temperature," she said.

"From an animal nutrition perspective, it's also really hard to fix a forest once it's broken. Feeding is such a basic function, and yet often the nutritional value of certain trees isn't even considered when planning or assessing a particular area, because it's really difficult to measure."


According to Ms Beale, there's a number of ways the animals know to steer clear of certain leaves. "A lot of the leaves have a really strong smell," she said. "It could also depend on how the koalas feel after eating. For example, if the toxin caused them to feel sick once it reached a certain threshold in the bloodstream, if they're metabolizing slower because of the heat, they would feel sick sooner."

If marsupials are consistently choosing lower toxin leaves, it could also limit the number of animals the area is able to support in the future.

"This pressure on certain areas could also become an issue after big fire events like the ones we've just seen in New South Wales and Queensland," Ms Beale said. "It is likely koalas will have to move away from burnt areas—and their survival could then depend on food selection in surrounding forests. The length of exposure to high temperatures is also important. I found a week of high temperatures was enough to make the animals reduce their intake of high toxin leaves."

Ms Beale has just submitted her Ph.D. on the effects of temperature on feeding in herbivorous marsupials.

Author: Jessica Fagan Source: Australian National University [January 15, 2020]



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2019 Crop Circle Compilation

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2020 January 19 M1: The Incredible Expanding Crab Nebula Video...



2020 January 19

M1: The Incredible Expanding Crab Nebula
Video Credit & Copyright: Detlef Hartmann

Explanation: Are your eyes good enough to see the Crab Nebula expand? The Crab Nebula is cataloged as M1, the first on Charles Messier’s famous list of things which are not comets. In fact, the Crab is now known to be a supernova remnant, an expanding cloud of debris from the explosion of a massive star. The violent birth of the Crab was witnessed by astronomers in the year 1054. Roughly 10 light-years across today, the nebula is still expanding at a rate of over 1,000 kilometers per second. Over the past decade, its expansion has been documented in this stunning time-lapse movie. In each year from 2008 to 2017, an image was produced with the same telescope and camera from a remote observatory in Austria. Combined in the time-lapse movie, the 10 images represent 32 hours of total integration time. The sharp, processed frames even reveal the dynamic energetic emission within the incredible expanding Crab. The Crab Nebula lies about 6,500 light-years away in the constellation Taurus.

∞ Source: apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap200119.html



* This article was originally published here

Neolithic Decorated Stone Slabs, Skara Brae, National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh, December 2019.

Neolithic Decorated Stone Slabs, Skara Brae, National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh, December 2019.



* This article was originally published here

NASA, NOAA analyses reveal 2019 second warmest year on record


According to independent analyses by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Earth's global surface temperatures in 2019 were the second warmest since modern recordkeeping began in 1880.

NASA, NOAA analyses reveal 2019 second warmest year on record
Credit: VladisChern/Depositphotos
Globally, 2019 temperatures were second only to those of 2016 and continued the planet's long-term warming trend: the past five years have been the warmest of the last 140 years.

This past year, they were 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit (0.98 degrees Celsius) warmer than the 1951 to 1980 mean, according to scientists at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York.


"The decade that just ended is clearly the warmest decade on record," said GISS Director Gavin Schmidt. "Every decade since the 1960s clearly has been warmer than the one before."

Since the 1880s, the average global surface temperature has risen and the average temperature is now more than 2 degrees Fahrenheit (a bit more than 1 degree Celsius) above that of the late 19th century. For reference, the last Ice Age was about 10 degrees Fahrenheit colder than pre-industrial temperatures.

Using climate models and statistical analysis of global temperature data, scientists have concluded that this increase mostly has been driven by increased emissions into the atmosphere of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases produced by human activities.

NASA, NOAA analyses reveal 2019 second warmest year on record
This plot shows yearly temperature anomalies from 1880 to 2019, with respect to the 1951-1980 mean, as recorded by 
NASA, NOAA, the Berkeley Earth research group, the Met Office Hadley Centre (UK), and the Cowtan and Way analysis. 
Though there are minor variations from year to year, all five temperature records show peaks and valleys in sync with 
each other. All show rapid warming in the past few decades, and all show the past decade has been the warmest 
[Credit: NASA GISS/Gavin Schmidt]
"We crossed over into more than 2 degrees Fahrenheit warming territory in 2015 and we are unlikely to go back. This shows that what's happening is persistent, not a fluke due to some weather phenomenon: we know that the long-term trends are being driven by the increasing levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere," Schmidt said.

Because weather station locations and measurement practices change over time, the interpretation of specific year-to-year global mean temperature differences has some uncertainties. Taking this into account, NASA estimates that 2019's global mean change is accurate to within 0.1 degrees Fahrenheit, with a 95% certainty level.


Weather dynamics often affect regional temperatures, so not every region on Earth experienced similar amounts of warming. NOAA found the 2019 annual mean temperature for the contiguous 48 United States was the 34th warmest on record, giving it a "warmer than average" classification. The Arctic region has warmed slightly more than three times faster than the rest of the world since 1970.

Rising temperatures in the atmosphere and ocean are contributing to the continued mass loss from Greenland and Antarctica and to increases in some extreme events, such as heat waves, wildfires, intense precipitation.

Earth’s long-term warming trend can be seen in this visualization of NASA’s global temperature record, which shows how
 the planet’s temperatures are changing over time, compared to a baseline average from 1951 to 1980. The record is 
shown as a running five-year average [Credit: NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio/Kathryn Mersmann]

NASA's temperature analyses incorporate surface temperature measurements from more than 20,000 weather stations, ship- and buoy-based observations of sea surface temperatures, and temperature measurements from Antarctic research stations.

These in situ measurements are analyzed using an algorithm that considers the varied spacing of temperature stations around the globe and urban heat island effects that could skew the conclusions. These calculations produce the global average temperature deviations from the baseline period of 1951 to 1980.

NOAA scientists used much of the same raw temperature data, but with a different interpolation into the Earth's polar and other data-poor regions. NOAA's analysis found 2019 global temperatures were 1.7 degrees Fahrenheit (0.95 degrees Celsius) above the 20th century average.

NASA's full 2019 surface temperature data set and the complete methodology used for the temperature calculation and its uncertainties are available at: https://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp

Source: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center [January 15, 2020]



* This article was originally published here

Crop Circle Etchilhampton

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Crop Circle Etchilhampton Hill, Devizes
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Traprain Law Hack Silver Hoard (5th Century CE), National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh, December...

Traprain Law Hack Silver Hoard (5th Century CE), National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh, December 2019.



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New dinosaur discovered in China shows dinosaurs grew up differently from birds


A new species of feathered dinosaur has been discovered in China, and described by American and Chinese authors and published today in the journal, The Anatomical Record.

New dinosaur discovered in China shows dinosaurs grew up differently from birds
Wulong bohaiensis. The skeleton described in the new paper is remarkably complete. The name means "Dancing Dragon"
 in Chinese and was named in part to reference its active pose [Credit: Ashley Poust]
The one-of-a-kind specimen offers a window into what the earth was like 120 million years ago. The fossil preserves feathers and bones that provide new information about how dinosaurs grew and how they differed from birds.

"The new dinosaur fits in with an incredible radiation of feathered, winged animals that are closely related to the origin of birds," said Dr. Ashley Poust, who analyzed the specimens while he was a student at Montana State University and during his time as a Ph.D. student at University of California, Berkeley. Poust is now postdoctoral researcher at the San Diego Natural History Museum.


"Studying specimens like this not only shows us the sometimes-surprising paths that ancient life has taken, but also allows us to test ideas about how important bird characteristics, including flight, arose in the distant past."

Scientists named the dinosaur Wulong bohaiensis. Wulong is Chinese for "the dancing dragon" and references the position of the beautifully articulated specimen.

About the Discovery

The specimen was found more than a decade ago by a farmer in China, in the fossil-rich Jehol Province, and since then has been housed in the collection of The Dalian Natural History Museum in Liaoning, a northeastern Chinese province bordering North Korea and the Yellow Sea. The skeletal bones were analyzed by Poust alongside his advisor Dr. David Varricchio from Montana State University while Poust was a student there.

Larger than a common crow and smaller than a raven, but with a long, bony tail which would have doubled its length, Wulong bohaiensis had a narrow face filled with sharp teeth. Its bones were thin and small, and the animal was covered with feathers, including a wing-like array on both its arms and legs and two long plumes at the end of its tail.

This animal is one of the earliest relatives of Velociraptor, the famous dromaeosaurid theropod dinosaur that lived approximately 75 million years ago. Wulong's closest well-known relative would have been Microraptor, a genus of small, four-winged paravian dinosaurs.


The discovery is significant not only because it describes a dinosaur that is new to science, but also because it shows connection between birds and dinosaurs.

"The specimen has feathers on its limbs and tail that we associate with adult birds, but it had other features that made us think it was a juvenile," said Poust. To understand this contradiction, the scientists cut up several bones of the new dinosaur to examine under a microscope. This technique, called bone histology, is becoming a regular part of the paleontology toolbox, but it's still sometimes difficult to convince museums to let a researcher remove part of a nice skeleton. "Thankfully, our coauthors at the Dalian Natural History Museum were really forward thinking and allowed us to apply these techniques, not only to Wulong, but also to another dinosaur, a close relative that looked more adult called Sinornithosaurus."

The bones showed that the new dinosaur was a juvenile. This means that at least some dinosaurs were getting very mature looking feathers well before they were done growing. Birds grow up very fast and often don't get their adult plumage until well after they are full sized. Showy feathers, especially those used for mating, are particularly delayed. And yet here was an immature dinosaur with two long feathers extending beyond the tip of the tail.

"Either the young dinosaurs needed these tail feathers for some function we don't know about, or they were growing their feathers really differently from most living birds," explained Poust.


An additional surprise came from the second dinosaur the scientists sampled; Sinornithosaurus wasn't done growing either. The bone tissue was that of an actively growing animal and it lacked an External Fundamental System: a structure on the outside of the bone that vertebrates form when they're full size. "Here was an animal that was large and had adult looking bones: we thought it was going to be mature, but histology proved that idea wrong. It was older than Wulong, but seems to have been still growing. Researchers need to be really careful about determining whether a specimen is adult or not. Until we learn a lot more, histology is really the most dependable way."

In spite of these cautions, Poust says there is a lot more to learn about dinosaurs.

"We're talking about animals that lived twice as long ago as T. rex, so it's pretty amazing how well preserved they are. It's really very exciting to see inside these animals for the first time."

About the Jehol Biota

The area in which the specimen was found is one of the richest fossil deposits in the world. The Jehol biota is known for the incredible variety of animals that were alive at the time. It is also one of the earliest bird-rich environments, where birds, bird-like dinosaurs, and pterosaurs all shared the same habitat.

"There was a lot of flying, gliding, and flapping around these ancient lakes," says Poust. "As we continue to discover more about the diversity of these small animals it becomes interesting how they all might have fit into the ecosystem." Other important changes were happening at the same time in the Early Cretaceous, including the spread of flowering plants. "It was an alien world, but with some of the earliest feathers and earliest flowers, it would have been a pretty one."

Source: San Diego Natural History Museum [January 15, 2020]



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Crop Circle Stanton St Bernard Wiltshire

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Crop Circle Stanton Bernard Wiltshire
Reported 24/08/2019
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ancientpeopleancientplaces:‘Finite’ PoemWritten by The Silicon Tribesman. All Rights...

ancientpeopleancientplaces:

‘Finite’ Poem

Written by The Silicon Tribesman. All Rights Reserved, 2020.



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Pachacamac Idol of ancient Peru was symbolically painted


The Pachacamac Idol of ancient Peru was a multicolored and emblematic sacred icon worshipped for almost 700 hundred years before Spanish conquest, according to a study published in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Marcela Sepulveda of the University of Tarapaca, Chile and colleagues.

Pachacamac Idol of ancient Peru was symbolically painted
The wooden statue of the Pachacamac Idol
[Credit: Sepulveda et al, 2020]
The Pachacamac Idol is a symbolically carved wooden statue known from the Pachacamac archaeological complex, the principal coastal Inca sanctuary 31 km south of Lima, Peru during the 15th-16th centuries. The idol was reportedly damaged in 1533 during Spanish conquest of the region, and details of its originality and antiquity have been unclear. Also unexplored has been the question of whether the idol was symbolically coloured, a common practice in Old World Antiquity.


In this study, Sepulveda and colleagues obtained a wood sample from the Pachacamac Idol for chemical analysis. Through carbon-dating, they were able to determine that the wood was cut and likely carved approximately 760-876 AD, during the Middle Horizon, suggesting the statue was worshipped for almost 700 years before Spanish conquest. Their analysis also identified chemical traces of three pigments that would have conferred red, yellow, and white colouration to the idol.

Pachacamac Idol of ancient Peru was symbolically painted
In the last picture, the red arrows mark the presence of red pigments containing mercury
[Credit: © Marcela Sepulveda/Rommel Angeles/Museo de sitio Pachacamac]


This nondestructive analysis not only confirms that the idol was painted, but also that it was polychromatic, displaying at least three colours and perhaps others not detected in this study. The fact that the red pigment used was cinnabar, a material not found in the local region, demonstrates economic and symbolic implications for the colouration of the statue.

The authors point out that colouration is a rarely discussed factor in the symbolic, economic, and experiential importance of religious symbols of the pre-Columbian periods, and that more studies on the subject could illuminate unknown details of cultural practices of the Andean past in South America.

The authors add: "Here, polychromy of the so-called Pachacamac Idol is demonstrated, including the presence of cinnabar."

Source: Public Library of Science [January 15, 2020]



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Hayle

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jason-1971:Lonely Cove

jason-1971:

Lonely Cove



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X-rays and gravitational waves will combine to illuminate massive black hole collisions


A new study by a group of researchers at the University of Birmingham has found that collisions of supermassive black holes may be simultaneously observable in both gravitational waves and X-rays at the beginning of the next decade.

X-rays and gravitational waves will combine to illuminate massive black hole collisions
An image of the use of Athena and LISA to observe the same source [Credit: R.Buscicchio (University of Birmingham),
based on content from NASA, ESA, IFCA, the Athena Community Office, G. Alexandrov, A. Burrows]
The European Space Agency (ESA) has recently announced that its two major space observatories of the 2030s will have their launches timed for simultaneous use. These missions, Athena, the next generation X-ray space telescope and LISA, the first space-based gravitational wave observatory, will be coordinated to begin observing within a year of each other and are likely to have at least four years of overlapping science operations.

According to the new study, published this week in Nature Astronomy, ESA's decision will give astronomers an unprecedented opportunity to produce multi-messenger maps of some of the most violent cosmic events in the Universe, which have not been observed so far and which lie at the heart of long-standing mysteries surrounding the evolution of the Universe.


They include the collision of supermassive black holes in the core of galaxies in the distant universe and the "swallowing up" of stellar compact objects such as neutron stars and black holes by massive black holes harboured in the centres of most galaxies.

The gravitational waves measured by LISA will pinpoint the ripples of space time that the mergers cause while the X-rays observed with Athena reveal the hot and highly energetic physical processes in that environment. Combining these two messengers to observe the same phenomenon in these systems would bring a huge leap in our understanding of how massive black holes and galaxies co-evolve, how massive black holes grow their mass and accrete, and the role of gas around these black holes.

These are some of the big unanswered questions in astrophysics that have puzzled scientists for decades.

Dr Sean McGee, Lecturer in Astrophysics at the University of Birmingham and a member of both the Athena and LISA consortiums, led the study. He said, "The prospect of simultaneous observations of these events is uncharted territory, and could lead to huge advances. This promises to be a revolution in our understanding of supermassive black holes and how they growth within galaxies."


Professor Alberto Vecchio, Director of the Institute for Gravitational Wave Astronomy, University of Birmingham, and a co-author on the study, said: "I have worked on LISA for twenty years and the prospect of combining forces with the most powerful X-ray eyes ever designed to look right at the centre of galaxies promises to make this long haul even more rewarding. It is difficult to predict exactly what we're going to discover: we should just buckle up, because it is going to be quite a ride".

During the life of the missions, there may be as many as 10 mergers of black holes with masses of 100,000 to 10,000,000 times the mass of the sun that have signals strong enough to be observed by both observatories. Although due to our current lack of understanding of the physics occurring during these mergers and how frequently they occur, the observatories could observe many more or many fewer of these events. Indeed, these are questions which will be answered by the observations.

In addition, LISA will detect the early stages of stellar mass black holes mergers which will conclude with the detection in ground based gravitational wave observatories. This early detection will allow Athena to be observing the binary location at the precise moment the merger will occur.

Source: University of Birmingham [January 14, 2020]



* This article was originally published here

The secret beach in Surrey

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The secret beach in Surrey that you might not know exists.
Hidden away in the deepest depths of Surrey, miles away from the coast, is a beach resembling in every respect a seaside resort.
On hot summer days, people sunbathe on the sand and swim in calm waters, while children splash around on shallow edges, play with beach balls, build sandcastles
.
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Filmed with a Osmo and Mavic 2 Pro.

All Drone footage within CAA UK Regulations.
Special permission granted for some locations.
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Video length: 2:26
Category: Education
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Trial Brooch Design Piece, Jarlshof, National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh, December 2019.

Trial Brooch Design Piece, Jarlshof, National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh, December 2019.



* This article was originally published here

Neanderthals collected clam shells and pumice from coastal waters to use as tools


Neanderthals collected clam shells and volcanic rock from the beach and coastal waters of Italy during the Middle Paleolithic, according to a study published in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Paola Villa of the University of Colorado and colleagues.

Neanderthals collected clam shells and pumice from coastal waters to use as tools
General morphology of retouched shell tools, Figs C-L are from the Pigorini Museum
[Credit: Villa et al., 2020]
Neanderthals are known to have used tools, but the extent to which they were able to exploit coastal resources has been questioned. In this study, Villa and colleagues explored artifacts from the Neanderthal archaeological cave site of Grotta dei Moscerini in Italy, one of two Neanderthal sites in the country with an abundance of hand-modified clam shells, dating back to around 100,000 years ago.


The authors examined 171 modified shells, most of which had to be retouched to be used as scrapers. All of these shells belonged to the Mediterranean smooth clam species Callista chione. Based on the state of preservation of the shells, including shell damage and encrustation on the shells by marine organisms, the authors inferred that nearly a quarter of the shells had been collected underwater from the sea floor, as live animals, as opposed to being washed up on the beach.

Neanderthals collected clam shells and pumice from coastal waters to use as tools
A collection of shell tools discovered in Grotta dei Moscerini in 1949
[Credit: Villa et al. 2020]
In the same cave sediments, the authors also found abundant pumice stones likely used as abrading tools, which apparently drifted via sea currents from erupting volcanoes in the Gulf of Naples (70km south) onto the Moscerini beach, where they were collected by Neanderthals.


These findings join a growing list of evidence that Neanderthals in Western Europe were in the practice of wading or diving into coastal waters to collect resources long before Homo sapiens brought these habits to the region.

Neanderthals collected clam shells and pumice from coastal waters to use as tools
A collection of pumice tools discovered in Grotta dei Moscerini in 1949
[Credit: Villa et al. 2020]
The authors also note that shell tools were abundant in sediment layers that had few stone tools, suggesting Neanderthals might have turned to making shell tools during times where more typical stone materials were scarce (though it's also possible that clam shells were used because they have a thin and sharp cutting edge, which can be maintained through re-sharpening, unlike flint tools).

The authors add: "The cave opens on a beach. It has a large assemblage of 171 tools made on shells collected on the beach or gathered directly from the sea floor as live animals by skin diving Neanderthals. Skin diving for shells or fresh water fishing in low waters was a common activity of Neanderthals, according to data from other sites and from an anatomical study published by E. Trinkaus. Neanderthals also collected pumices erupted from volcanoes in the gulf of Naples and transported by sea to the beach."

Source: Public Library of Science [January 15, 2020]



* This article was originally published here

Jane Austen and the Great House

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Chawton House, referred to by Jane Austen as the ' Great House', as it was owned by her brother Edward.
A Charming 400 year-old manor house surrounded by beautiful parklands and gardens.
Please like, subscribe or comment below.
Filmed with a Mavic 2 Pro.


All Drone footage within CAA UK Regulations.
Special permission granted for some locations.

Editing Software: Final Cut Pro
Camera Equipment:
Phantom 4 Pro
Mavic Pro
DJI Osmo
3-axis gimbal
GoPro 5
Akaso 4k
Samsung Galaxy Gear 360
#TheHampshireFlyer
#JaneAusten

Video length: 2:47
Category: Education
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