Sci/tech

Intergalactic unions more devastating than we thought
February 15, 2017 10:49 AM - Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology

Scientists from MIPT, the University of Oxford, and the Lebedev Physical Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences estimated the number of stars disrupted by solitary supermassive black holes in galactic centers formed due to mergers of galaxies containing supermassive black holes. The astrophysicists found out whether gravitational effects arising as two black holes draw closer to one another can explain why we observe fewer stars being captured by black holes than basic theoretical models predict. In their study published in The Astrophysical Journal, the researchers looked into the interplay of various dynamic mechanisms affecting the number of stars in a galaxy that are captured per unit time (tidal disruption rate). (Spoiler Alert! An advanced theoretical model yielded results that are even more inconsistent with observations, leading the team to hypothesize that the disruption of stars in galactic nuclei may occur without our knowledge.) 

Intergalactic unions more devastating than we thought
February 15, 2017 10:49 AM - Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology

Scientists from MIPT, the University of Oxford, and the Lebedev Physical Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences estimated the number of stars disrupted by solitary supermassive black holes in galactic centers formed due to mergers of galaxies containing supermassive black holes. The astrophysicists found out whether gravitational effects arising as two black holes draw closer to one another can explain why we observe fewer stars being captured by black holes than basic theoretical models predict. In their study published in The Astrophysical Journal, the researchers looked into the interplay of various dynamic mechanisms affecting the number of stars in a galaxy that are captured per unit time (tidal disruption rate). (Spoiler Alert! An advanced theoretical model yielded results that are even more inconsistent with observations, leading the team to hypothesize that the disruption of stars in galactic nuclei may occur without our knowledge.) 

'The blob' of abnormal conditions boosted Western U.S. ozone levels
February 15, 2017 10:42 AM - University of Washington

An unusually warm patch of seawater off the West Coast in late 2014 and 2015, nicknamed “the blob,” had cascading effects up and down the coast. Its sphere of influence was centered on the marine environment but extended to weather on land.

NOAA ship journeys into remote, deep Pacific ocean
February 15, 2017 08:27 AM - NOAA

Using the Deep Discoverer ROV, scientists will investigate deepwater habitats, geology, and the biology of sea animals as it dives as far as 3.7 miles (6,000 meters) deep. The public can watch online.

The 2017 explorations will run through September and are part of the third and final year of NOAA’s Campaign to Address Pacific monument Science, Technology, and Ocean NEeds, known as CAPSTONE, a major multiyear science initiative focusing on the deep ocean of U.S. marine protected areas in the central and western Pacific.

Long-lasting flow battery could run for more than a decade with minimum upkeep
February 14, 2017 03:44 PM - Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

Researchers from the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) have developed a new flow battery that stores energy in organic molecules dissolved in neutral pH water. This new chemistry allows for a non-toxic, non-corrosive battery with an exceptionally long lifetime and offers the potential to significantly decrease the costs of production.

Ancient Jars Found in Judea Reveal Earth's Magnetic Field is Fluctuating, Not Diminishing
February 14, 2017 03:21 PM - American Friends of Tel Aviv University

Albert Einstein considered the origin of the Earth's magnetic field one of the five most important unsolved problems in physics. The weakening of the geomagnetic field, which extends from the planet's core into outer space and was first recorded 180 years ago, has raised concern by some for the welfare of the biosphere.

The Most Remote Place on Earth is Also One of the Most Polluted
February 14, 2017 03:17 PM - Yale Environment 360

Scientists have discovered high levels of extremely toxic chemicals in the most remote place on earth — the 36,000-foot-deep Mariana Trench in the western Pacific Ocean, according to new research published in the journal Natural Ecology and Evolution.

Marine biologists used fish traps and robotic submarines to collect crustaceans from the trench’s seafloor and then measured the level of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in each specimen.

Sunlight or bacteria? Scientists investigate what breaks down permafrost carbon
February 14, 2017 02:01 PM - Kathleen Haughney via Florida State University

A Florida State University researcher is delving into the complexities of exactly how permafrost thawing in the Earth’s most northern regions is cycling back into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide and further fueling climate change.

Answer: It has a lot to do with tiny little bugs called microbes and little to do with sunlight.

Assistant Professor of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Science Robert Spencer and a team of researchers traveled to Siberia from 2012 to 2015 to better understand how thawing permafrost affected the carbon cycle. They specifically investigated how the vast amounts of carbon stored in this permafrost transferred to the atmosphere as carbon dioxide.

Genes in albino orchids may hold clues to parasitic mechanism used by non-photosynthetic plants
February 14, 2017 10:49 AM - Kobe University

How do plants give up photosynthesis and become parasites? A research team in Japan are using comprehensive analysis of gene expression in albino and green orchids to investigate the evolution of parasitic plant.

SFU technology puts 'touch' into long-distance relationships
February 14, 2017 10:46 AM - Simon Fraser University

Long-distance couples can share a walk, watch movies together, and even give each other a massage, using new technologies being developed in Carman Neustaedter’s Simon Fraser University lab. 

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