воскресенье, 2 февраля 2020 г.

3,800-year-old bone spoons found in Mongolia


Spoons are said to have been used during the time of ancient Egypt, and the Shang dynasty as early as 4,000 years ago. In correlation with the matter, it has been found that ancient Mongolians used to make spoons out of bones, which traces back at least 3,800 years ago, from the findings discovered by a research team of the Archaeology Department of Ulaanbaatar State University.

3,800-year-old bone spoons found in Mongolia
Credit: AKI Press


As a result of their excavation done between 2002 and 2011, the research team had found a 7,500-year-old bone knife from the basin of Eg river in Khutag-Undur soum, Bulgan aimag, a 4,500-year-old pot from the basin of Bulgan river in Bulgan soum, Khovd aimag, a 3,800-year-old bone spoon from the basins of Bulgan and Eg rivers as well as others.

3,800-year-old bone spoons found in Mongolia
Credit: AKI Press
Humankind transitioned from consuming nature’s ready-made products such as fruits, berries, plants, mushrooms, and raw meat in the Paleolithic period to cooking and preparing their meals in the Neolithic period, which is considered as the reason for the rapid development of the human brain and body. As a result, ancient humans began to skillfully make the first items such as knives, spoons, and pots with bones, rocks, and clay, eventually leading to weapons.

Source: AKI Press [January 31, 2020]



* This article was originally published here

‘The Badger Stone’ Prehistoric Rock Art, Ilkley Moor, Yorkshire, 1.2.20.

‘The Badger Stone’ Prehistoric Rock Art, Ilkley Moor, Yorkshire, 1.2.20.



* This article was originally published here

First Byzantine Monastery discovered in Spain


Archaeological experts from the University of Alicante in Spain have recently identified the first Byzantine monastery ever found on the Iberian peninsula.

First Byzantine Monastery discovered in Spain
Emperor Justinian, Ravenna
[Credit: El Pais] 


They first came across several round metal objects at the archaeological site, which is located in the area of Elda, Alicante. The exact identification of these objects had proven to be a mystery since the 19th century.

In the 6th century, Emperor Justinian forced people to keep a cache of state-minted coins in the main churches of each city. In this way, merchants could show that the coinage they used in economic transactions corresponded with the official money that the Emperor had minted.

The churches used to work as guarantors that buyers of precious metals were not cheated and that the coins in general use had the actual value that they were meant to have. If the operations were fraudulent, the tax revenue was lower — something the Emperor kept close tabs on.

First Byzantine Monastery discovered in Spain
The remains of the Byzantine monastery in Elda, Alicante, Spain
[Credit: Elda Archaeological Museum]


“This apparently is how the monastery of “El Monastil” functioned as a Byzantine administrative and fiscal headquarters by order of the emperor,” explains Antonio Manuel Poveda, a professor of Ancient History and director of the Archaeological Museum of Elda.

The painstaking research at Elda lasted almost 25 years due to the difficulties of identifying the architectural remains. Many different clues had been found during this time, but nothing had proven conclusive.

But now, the results of the latest research have proven that what had been thought to be a Roman or Visigoth site on the highest part of a hill on the outskirts of Elda, was in fact a Byzantine basilica, the first ever built in Spain — and it functioned as an important center for fiscal administration in those times.

First Byzantine Monastery discovered in Spain
Byzantine coins found in the church of El Monastil in Spain
[Credit: Elda Archaeological Museum]


The first to point out the presence of possible remains at the monastery site was local municipal archivist Lamberto Amat in 1873, although he could not verify the exact date of its construction.

However, 50 years ago, the organization El Centro Excursionista Eldense discovered a large number of archaeological materials, but it still was unable to identify them categorically and put them into any specific time frame.

It wasn’t until the 1980s when archaeologist Enrique Llobregat could confirm what he called the “existence of a Christian monastery” at the top. He related that he had discovered some marble fragments made according to the Greek style.

First Byzantine Monastery discovered in Spain
Two of the skeletons discovered at the Elda site
[Credit: Elda Archaeological Museum]


Now, in addition to the set of coins with descriptions in Greek, in the last excavations, directed by Antonio Manuel Poveda, a large octagonal column base has also been found, which is typical of Byzantine architecture and unique to date throughout the Peninsula.

A pyxide, or cylindrical ivory box, decorated with a scene of Hercules capturing the Cerinea deer was also found at the Elda site. Pyxides were common objects throughout the Greek world and often contained small objects. This seems to be indicative of an attempt by the Byzantines to fuse their Greco-Eastern ancestry with Western Christianity.

The convent church occupied an area of about 84 square meters (904 square feet) in this hilltop religious center. Various metal items from Byzantine-era liturgical rituals have now also been found and identified, including a tiny knife (lancia), used in the preparation of the sacred bread before Communion, as well as a teaspoon (cochlear), which is still used in the Communion rite today throughout Orthodoxy.

First Byzantine Monastery discovered in Spain
Byzantine column base found on the El Monastil site
[Credit: Elda Archaeological Museum]
Poveda asserts “These objects constitute the only Hispanic group belonging to the Byzantine Christian ritual in Spain. In addition, North African, Oriental and local ceramic materials have also been documented, dating from the second half of the 6th century.”

The archaeologist added that in 1991, when the A-31 highway was built in this same area, a total of ten graves with 16 bodies were unearthed during construction works. Four of the people had been wearing rings engraved with the Greek letter sigma, and one of them even had a Greek cross.

Author: Ola Goroveci | Source: El Pais via Greek Reporter [January 22, 2020]



* This article was originally published here

Heat wave signals the growth of a stellar embryo

Artistic impression of a protostar that accretes gas from a circumstellar disk and grows. Part of the material is ejected by jets perpendicular to the plane of the disk. Gas continues to fall from the outer shell onto the disk. This can produce instabilities, which occasionally lead to increased infall onto the protostar. Since protostars are deeply embedded in dense clouds, they are difficult to observe directly. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/R. Hurt (SSC)

Measuring natural microwave lasers sharpens research into the formation of massive stars

An international research team with the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy (MPIA) participating has detected a propagating heat wave near a massive protostar. It confirms the scenario that such objects grow in bursts. This wave became visible by observing naturally generated microwave lasers, whose spatial arrangement changed unexpectedly rapid.

Although the basic principles of star formation are generally well understood, the existence of massive stars is still puzzling in some details. Due to the enormous gravitational pressure inside a massive protostar, nuclear fusion starts while it is still growing. Further growth is made more difficult by the radiation pressure of the young star. In order to overcome this resistance, the accretion of material from a circumstellar disk might occur in phases of single large packets. During this process its brightness increases strongly for a short time. However, such fluctuations are difficult to observe because protostars are deeply embedded in dense clouds.

An international network of astronomers, the Maser Monitoring Organisation (M2O), in which the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy (MPIA) is involved, has now detected a heat wave propagating in the vicinity of the massive protostar G358-MM1 through observations with several radio telescopes. Subsequent observations have confirmed that it was caused by a temporary increase in accretion activity.

The heat wave was revealed by the activity of masers. Masers are the equivalent of lasers, which, however, emit microwave radiation - or radio waves - instead of visible light. They occur in massive star formation regions as natural, very bright and compact sources of radiation. Both the comparatively high temperatures and densities as well as the richness of complex chemistry in such environments favour their formation. In the present case, it is methanol (methyl alcohol) that is excited by the intense radiation of the protostar and causes masers.

Illustration of the mechanism by which the propagating heat wave stimulates maser activity in the material surrounding the protostar. The wave locally increases the temperature of the gas for a short time. In this region the characteristic radiation of methanol masers is emitted. As the wave propagates, the positions of the maser emission change. Credit: R. A. Burns/MPIA (cropped)

The scientists, who recorded radio-interferometric data with a high spatial resolution of 0.005 arc seconds (1 angular degree = 3600 arc seconds) at intervals of several weeks, discovered that the masers appeared to propagate outwards. However, the determined velocity of up to 8% of the speed of light was too high to be compatible with the movement of gas. Instead, astronomers concluded that a wave traversing the surrounding medium caused maser activity on its way. This heat wave has its origin in the accretion of gas on the protostar.

"The M2O observations are among the first to provide detailed evidence of the immediate effects of an accretion burst in a massive protostar in sufficient detail to support the episodic accretion theory of massive star formation," explains Ross Burns of the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, who heads the research group.

Hendrik Linz from MPIA adds: "To observe the actual heat wave directly in the thermal infrared would be very complicated. As strong radiation sources in an easily accessible wavelength range, masers are excellent observation tools for indirectly tracing the passage of such a heat wave on small spatial scales, and thus on short time scales after an outburst".

The partners in the M2O project will continue to monitor masers in many star formation regions to learn more about the growth of massive protostars.




Authors

Dr. Markus Nielbock
Press and public relations officer
Phone:+49 6221 528-134
Email: pr@mpia.de
Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, Heidelberg

Dr. Hendrik Linz
Phone:+49 6221 528-402
Email: linz@mpia.de
Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, Heidelberg



Original Publication

1. R. A. Burns et al. A heatwave of accretion energy traced by masers in the G358-MM1 high-mass protostar 
Nature Astronomy (2020)

Source / DOI



Link 
Maser Monitoring Organisation (M2O)



Collaboration

This study was made possible by a cooperation of the following research institutions:

Mizusawa VLBI Observatory, National Astronomical Observatory of Japan; Korea Astronomy and Space Science Institute; NARIT, Thailand; University of Science and Technology, Korea; Ural Federal University, Russia; Thüringer Landessternwarte, Germany; The University of Western Ontario, Canada; Hartebeesthoek Radio Astronomy Observatory, South Africa; Center for Astronomy, Ibaraki University, Japan; Centre for Astronomy, Nicolaus Copernicus University, Poland; School of Natural Sciences, University of Tasmania, Australia; Xinjiang Astronomical Observatory, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China; Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, Ireland; NRAO, USA; Australia Telescope National Facility, CSIRO, Australia; Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, Germany; INAF Osservatorio Astronomico di Cagliari, Italy; Space Research Unit, Physics Department, North West University, South Africa; Department of Physics and Astronomy, Faculty of Physical Sciences, University of Nigeria; Institute for Radio Astronomy, The Netherlands; Max Planck Institute for Radioastronomy, Germany




* This article was originally published here

‘The Barmishaw Stone’ Prehistoric Rock Art, Ilkley Moor, Yorkshire, 1.2.20.

‘The Barmishaw Stone’ Prehistoric Rock Art, Ilkley Moor, Yorkshire, 1.2.20.



* This article was originally published here

Tiny, ancient meteorites suggest early Earth's atmosphere was rich in carbon dioxide


Very occasionally, Earth gets bombarded by a large meteorite. But every day, our planet gets pelted by space dust, micrometeorites that collect on Earth's surface.

Tiny, ancient meteorites suggest early Earth's atmosphere was rich in carbon dioxide
These tiny meteorites, about half a millimeter across, fell into the ocean and were collected from the deep sea.
Like the samples used in the new study, these more recent micrometeorites are made of iron
[Credit: Donald Brownlee/University of Washington]
A University of Washington team looked at very old samples of these small meteorites to show that the grains could have reacted with carbon dioxide on their journey to Earth. Previous work suggested the meteorites ran into oxygen, contradicting theories and evidence that the Earth's early atmosphere was virtually devoid of oxygen. The new study was published this week in the open-access journal Science Advances.

"Our finding that the atmosphere these micrometeorites encountered was high in carbon dioxide is consistent with what the atmosphere was thought to look like on the early Earth," said first author Owen Lehmer, a UW doctoral student in Earth and space sciences.

At 2.7 billion years old, these are the oldest known micrometeorites. They were collected in limestone in the Pilbara region of Western Australia and fell during the Archean eon, when the sun was weaker than today. A 2016 paper by the team that discovered the samples suggested they showed evidence of atmospheric oxygen at the time they fell to Earth.


That interpretation would contradict current understandings of our planet's early days, which is that oxygen rose during the "Great Oxidation Event," almost half a billion years later.

Knowing the conditions on the early Earth is important not just for understanding the history of our planet and the conditions when life emerged. It can also help inform the search for life on other planets.

"Life formed more than 3.8 billion years ago, and how life formed is a big, open question. One of the most important aspects is what the atmosphere was made up of -- what was available and what the climate was like," Lehmer said.


The new study takes a fresh look at interpreting how these micrometeorites interacted with the atmosphere, 2.7 billion years ago. The sand-sized grains hurtled toward Earth at up to 20 kilometers per second. For an atmosphere of similar thickness to today, the metal beads would melt at about 80 kilometers elevation, and the molten outer layer of iron would then oxidize when exposed to the atmosphere. A few seconds later the micrometeorites would harden again for the rest of their fall. The samples would then remain intact, especially when protected under layers of sedimentary limestone rock.

The previous paper interpreted the oxidization on the surface as a sign that the molten iron had encountered molecular oxygen. The new study uses modeling to ask whether carbon dioxide could have provided the oxygen to produce the same result. A computer simulation finds that an atmosphere made up of from 6% to more than 70% carbon dioxide could have produced the effect seen in the samples.

"The amount of oxidation in the ancient micrometeorites suggests that the early atmosphere was very rich in carbon dioxide," said co-author David Catling, a UW professor of Earth and space sciences.


For comparison, carbon dioxide concentrations today are rising and are currently at about 415 parts per million, or 0.0415% of the atmosphere's composition.

High levels of carbon dioxide, a heat-trapping greenhouse gas, would counteract the sun's weaker output during the Archean era. Knowing the exact concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere could help pinpoint air temperature and and acidity of the oceans during that time.

More of the ancient micrometeorite samples could help narrow the range of possible carbon dioxide concentrations, the authors wrote. Grains that fell at other times could also help trace the history of Earth's atmosphere through time.

"Because these iron-rich micrometeorites can oxidize when they are exposed to carbon dioxide or oxygen, and given that these tiny grains presumably are preserved throughout Earth's history, they could provide a very interesting proxy for the history of atmospheric composition," Lehmer said.

Author: Hannah Hickey | Source: University of Washington [January 24, 2020]



* This article was originally published here

Strange Formations of Lights in the Sky do they have Meaning??

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Channel: Terry's Theories  

We all have seen lights in the sky either through videos or in person. Why do we see them? These lights may be a natural phenomenon that is one thing? But if they aren't and they are under intelligent control that's another. So if they are intelligent why reveal themselves if not to communicate or to say hey here we are, that's one theory. Another is that the lights or spheres or orbs whatever the case may be are in a pattern or a type of morse code to try to communicate, maybe they are in the shape of the constellations that we see in the night sky. Maybe they are just lights in the sky and it doesn't mean anything at all. Like always you decide what could they be?

Source video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_V6srqaMjig&list=WL&index=5&t=0s
Source video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O2hanb7jUoo

Video length: 4:43
Category: Science & Technology
42 comments

‘Backstone Beck’ Prehistoric Rock Art, Ilkley Moor, Yorkshire, 1.2.20.

‘Backstone Beck’ Prehistoric Rock Art, Ilkley Moor, Yorkshire, 1.2.20.



* This article was originally published here

For hottest planet, a major meltdown, study shows


In the scorching atmosphere of exoplanet KELT-9b, even molecules are torn to shreds. Massive gas giants called "hot Jupiters"—planets that orbit too close to their stars to sustain life—are some of the strangest worlds found beyond our solar system. New observations show that the hottest of them all is stranger still, prone to planetwide meltdowns so severe they tear apart the molecules that make up its atmosphere.

For hottest planet, a major meltdown, study shows
Artist's rendering of a "hot Jupiter" called KELT-9b, the hottest known exoplanet - so hot, a new paper finds,
that even molecules in its atmosphere are torn to shreds [Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech]
Called KELT-9b, the planet is an ultra-hot Jupiter, one of several varieties of exoplanets—planets around other stars—found in our galaxy. It weighs in at nearly three times the mass of our own Jupiter and orbits a star some 670 light-years away. With a surface temperature of 7,800 degrees Fahrenheit (4,300 degrees Celsius) - hotter than some stars—this planet is the hottest found so far.

Now, a team of astronomers using NASA's Spitzer space telescope has found evidence that the heat is too much even for molecules to remain intact. Molecules of hydrogen gas are likely ripped apart on the dayside of KELT-9b, unable to re-form until their disjointed atoms flow around to the planet's nightside.

Though still extremely hot, the nightside's slight cooling is enough to allow hydrogen gas molecules to reform—that is, until they flow back to the dayside, where they're torn apart all over again.


"This kind of planet is so extreme in temperature, it is a bit separate from a lot of other exoplanets," said Megan Mansfield, a graduate student at the University of Chicago and lead author of a new paper revealing these findings. "There are some other hot Jupiters and ultra-hot Jupiters that are not quite as hot but still warm enough that this effect should be taking place."

The findings, published in Astrophysical Journal Letters, showcase the rising sophistication of the technology and analysis needed to probe these very distant worlds. Science is just beginning to peer into the atmospheres of exoplanets, examining the molecular meltdowns of the hottest and brightest.

KELT-9b will stay firmly categorized among the uninhabitable worlds. Astronomers became aware of its extremely hostile environment in 2017, when it was first detected using the Kilodegree Extremely Little Telescope (KELT) system—a combined effort involving observations from two robotic telescopes, one in southern Arizona and one in South Africa.

This animation illustrates the earliest epoch of the universe, just after the Big Bang, when the first elements of hydrogen, 
helium, and lithium were created in the still hot cosmos. These atoms eventually collected to form the first generation 
of massive stars, which in turn produced heavier elements such as carbon, oxygen, and nitrogen. As these massive
 stars exploded as supernovae, they released these heavier elements into the universe, eventually collecting 
on next generation stars such as J0815+4729, with its unusually high abundance of oxygen 
[Credit: Gabriel Perez Diaz, SMM (IAC)]

In the study, the science team used the Spitzer space telescope to parse temperature profiles from this infernal giant. Spitzer, which makes observations in infrared light, can measure subtle variations in heat. Repeated over many hours, these observations allow Spitzer to capture changes in the atmosphere as the planet presents itself in phases while orbiting the star. Different halves of the planet roll into view as it orbits around its star.

That allowed the team to catch a glimpse of the difference between KELT-9b's dayside and its "night." In this case, the planet orbits its star so tightly that a "year"—once around the star—takes only 1 1/2 days. That means the planet is tidally locked, presenting one face to its star for all time (as our Moon presents only one face to Earth). On the far side of KELT-9b, nighttime lasts forever.

But gases and heat flow from one side to the other. A big question for researchers trying to understand exoplanet atmospheres is how radiation and flow balance each other out.


Computer models are major tools in such investigations, showing how these atmospheres are likely to behave in different temperatures. The best fit for the data from KELT-9b was a model that included hydrogen molecules being torn apart and reassembled, a process known as dissociation and recombination.

"If you don't account for hydrogen dissociation, you get really fast winds of [37 miles or] 60 kilometers per second," Mansfield said. "That's probably not likely."

KELT-9b turns out not to have huge temperature differences between its day- and nightsides, suggesting heat flow from one to the other. And the "hot spot" on the dayside, which is supposed to be directly under this planet's star, was shifted away from its expected position. Scientists don't know why—yet another mystery to be solved on this strange, hot planet.

Author: Pat Brennan | Source: NASA [January 25, 2020]



* This article was originally published here

‘Hanging Stones’ Prehistoric Rock Art, Ilkley Moor, Yorkshire, 1.2.20.

‘Hanging Stones’ Prehistoric Rock Art, Ilkley Moor, Yorkshire, 1.2.20.



* This article was originally published here

800-year-old rock drawings at Mesa Verde linked to astronomical observations


Archaeologists from the Jagiellonian University have found out that some of the rock drawings made by Native Americans about 800 years ago in the canyons located in the border region between the US states of Colorado and Utah were linked to astronomic observations, such as determining the dates of summer and winter solstices. The pioneering archaeological research in this field has been led by Dr Radoslaw Palonka from the JU Department of American Archaeology.

800-year-old rock drawings at Mesa Verde linked to astronomic observations
Credit: Jagiellonian University


Since 2011 the JU Institute of Archaeology has been running an archaeological project in Mesa Verde region located on the border of Colorado and Utah. The area is famous to both archaeologists and tourists for the Pre-Columbian Pueblo culture settlements built in rock niches or carved into canyon walls and for numerous ancient works of rock art. The research is the first Polish independent archaeological project in the United States and one of the few such European projects in the region.

800-year-old rock drawings at Mesa Verde linked to astronomic observations
Credit: Jagiellonian University
The sites studied by the JU researchers contain remains of several dozen small settlements centred around Castle Rock Pueblo, built in the 13th century AD by Pueblo people. So far, Dr Palonka’s team have discovered previously unknown cave galleries containing murals and petroglyphs from various historical periods.

800-year-old rock drawings at Mesa Verde linked to astronomic observations
Credit: Jagiellonian University


During their studies, the archaeologists started to speculate, based on the analogies to several other sites in the South-West USA, whether some of these stone carvings hidden in rock recesses could be used by the ancient Pueblo people to determine the dates some important days of the year, namely summer and winter solstice as well as spring and autumn equinoxes.

800-year-old rock drawings at Mesa Verde linked to astronomic observations
Credit: Jagiellonian University
Two such sites have been studied so far. At the first one, centred around a rock niche with remains of several buildings from circa 800 years ago, petroglyphs were carved on a flat rock wall facing south, shaded by an overhanging rock. The panel consists of three different spirals and several smaller elements, such as rectangular motifs and numerous hollows.

800-year-old rock drawings at Mesa Verde linked to astronomic observations
Credit: Jagiellonian University


“Our observations revealed a unique phenomenon, particularly visible during the sunset of the winter solstice on December 22, when the sun rays and shadows move across the middle part of the panel with petroglyphs, going through the subsequent spirals, longitudinal grooves, and other elements. To a much lesser extent, the phenomenon is also visible during the spring and autumn equinox. The interaction between light and shadow as well as the moving of sun rays across the entire panel is already visible some time before the winter solstice, as well as several weeks afterwards. We have not seen this phenomenon during the remaining part of the year”, explains Dr Palonka.

800-year-old rock drawings at Mesa Verde linked to astronomic observations
Credit: Jagiellonian University
Similar illumination of petroglyphs by sun rays in specific periods of the year has been observed at another site in Sand Canyon. What was different was that the petroglyph was regularly lit by sun rays only in the morning and early afternoon during the summer solstice. The researchers are planning to continue to study the rock art’s relations with astronomy.

800-year-old rock drawings at Mesa Verde linked to astronomic observations
Credit: Jagiellonian University


The JU archaeologists’ conversations with members of Hopi tribe, who are the descendents of Pueblo people, have confirmed that the spirals were most probably used as a sort of calendar. As pointed out by Dr Palonka, similar ethnographic studies from the 19th century also suggested the existence of solar calendars: both the horizontal ones, based on watching sunsets and sunrises over certain mountains, passes and valleys, and those related to observing sun rays shining on petroglyphs during solstices or equinoxes.

800-year-old rock drawings at Mesa Verde linked to astronomic observations
Credit: Jagiellonian University
It is also worth noting that summer and winter solstices are still of great religious importance to contemporary Pueblo groups from Arizona and New Mexico, providing framework for rituals and celebrations related to key farming activities, such as sowing and harvesting, as well as the preparations to these crucial tasks.

Source: Jagiellonian University [January 28, 2020]



* This article was originally published here

Backstone Beck Prehistoric Stone Circle, Ilkley Moor, Yorkshire, 1.2.20.

Backstone Beck Prehistoric Stone Circle, Ilkley Moor, Yorkshire, 1.2.20.



* This article was originally published here

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