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Accessed on 02 July 2019, 1545 UTC.

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ASTRONOMY

Hubble Captures Eta Carinae in Ultraviolet Light

Astronomers have monitored the Eta Carinae binary system for more than two decades. It has been prone to violent outbursts, including an episode in the 1840s during which ejected material formed the bipolar bubbles seen here. Now, using Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) instrument to probe the nebula in ultraviolet light, they have uncovered the glow of magnesium embedded in warm gas (shown in blue) in places they had not seen it before. The luminous magnesium resides in the space between the dusty bipolar bubbles and the outer shock-heated nitrogen-rich filaments (shown in red). The streaks visible in the blue region outside the lower-left lobe are a striking feature of the image. These streaks are created when the star’s light rays poke through the dust clumps scattered along the bubble’s surface. Wherever the ultraviolet light strikes the dense dust, it leaves a long, thin shadow that extends beyond the lobe into the surrounding gas. Image credit: NASA / ESA / Hubble / N. Smith, University of Arizona / J. Morse, BoldlyGo Institute.Eta Carinae is a binary stellar system approximately 7,500 light-years away in the constellation Carina. Also known as HD 93308 and Hen 3-481, the system was first cataloged by the English astronomer Edmond Halley in 1677, as a star of fourth magnitude. In 1838, Eta Carinae underwent a cataclysmic outburst called the Great Eruption, quickly escalating to become in 1844 the second brightest star in…

SPACE EXPLORATION

NASA Announces Dragonfly Mission to Explore Saturn’s Hazy Moon Titan

This illustration shows NASA’s Dragonfly rotorcraft-lander approaching a site on Titan. Image credit: NASA / JHU-APL.NASA announced last week that it had selected the Dragonfly mission to explore the prebiotic organic chemistry and look for signs of life on Titan, the largest moon of Saturn and an intriguing ocean world with a hazy atmosphere and methane seas. This illustration shows NASA’s Dragonfly rotorcraft-lander approaching a site on Titan. Image credit: NASA / JHU-APL. At 3,200 miles (5,150 km) across,…

ARCHAEOLOGY

Archaeologists Find Ruins of Mitanni-Period Palace in Kurdistan

An aerial view of the Kemune palace from the west. Image credit: University of Tübingen / Kurdistan Archaeology Organization.An international team of archaeologists from Germany and Kurdistan came upon a surprising discovery as the ruins of a 3,400-year-old palace emerge from the waters of the Tigris River at the site of Kemune in the Kurdistan region of Iraq. An aerial view of the Kemune palace from the west. Image credit: University of Tübingen / Kurdistan Archaeology Organization. “The find is one of the most important…

PALEONTOLOGY

Some Extinct Relatives of Living Crocodylians Were Vegetarians

Life reconstructions of extinct crocodyliforms. Differences in tooth shape are related to differences in diets. Image credit: Jorge Gonzalez.A veggie diet arose in extinct crocodyliforms — the distant cousins of living crocodylians (alligators, caimans, crocodiles, and gharials) — at least three times, according to new research. Life reconstructions of extinct crocodyliforms. Differences in tooth shape are related to differences in diets. Image credit: Jorge Gonzalez. “The most interesting thing we discovered was how frequently…

BIOLOGY

Hospital Insects Harbor Potentially Harmful Bacteria, Finds New Study

Hospital insects present a potential to contribute to persistence and spread of antimicrobial-resistant pathogenic bacteria in the hospital environment. Image credit: Virvoreanu Laurentiu.In a new study published this month in the Journal of Medical Entomology, researchers from Aston University collected and analyzed 19,937 flying insects — including houseflies, ‘filth flies’ such as bluebottles and greenbottles and a variety of ’drain flies’ — from seven hospital sites in England. They found that nearly nine in 10 of those tested were carrying potentially harmful…

PHYSICS

Self-Torque: Physicists Discover New Property of Light

Two time-delayed infrared vortex laser pulses (upper-left) impinge on a gas target to generate coherent, EUV light with a time-dependent orbital angular momentum (right): the self-torque of light. Image credit: Kevin Dorney, JILA.An international team of physicists has theoretically predicted and experimentally generated light beams with a new property that they call the self-torque of light. The discovery, reported in the journal Science, could help us understand physics in binary black holes as well as how to control dynamics in molecules and nanostructures. Two time-delayed infrared vortex laser pulses (upper-left) impinge…

GENETICS

DNA of Early Neanderthals Reveals 80,000 Years of Genetic Continuity in Europe

Reconstruction of a Neanderthal. Image credit: Neanderthal Museum.An international team of scientists has sequenced the nuclear genomes of two Neanderthals who lived in Europe around 120,000 years ago. They found that the individuals were more genetically similar to later Neanderthals from Europe than to a roughly contemporaneous individual from Siberia. The findings reveal a stable, 80,000-year ancestry for European Neanderthals and suggest that this group may…

GEOLOGY

Scientists Find 1.2-Billion-Year-Old Impact Crater Off Coast of Scotland

An artist’s depiction of an asteroid impact. Image credit: Don Davis / NASA.A 3,300-foot- (1 km) wide asteroid struck our planet 1.2 billion years ago, according to new research published in the Journal of the Geological Society. An artist’s depiction of an asteroid impact. Image credit: Don Davis / NASA. In 2008, a team of researchers from the Universities of Oxford and Aberdeen found evidence for the ancient meteorite strike near Ullapool, Scotland. The thickness and…

OTHER SCIENCES

Atkins-Style Diet May Improve Brain Function and Memory in Older Adults

Diet that restricts glucose may help brain function. Image credit: Cattalin.A modified Atkins diet (very low carbohydrates and extra fat) may improve brain function and episodic memory, according to a small study of 14 older adults with mild cognitive problems suggestive of early Alzheimer’s disease. Diet that restricts glucose may help brain function. Image credit: Cattalin. “Typically, the brain uses the sugar glucose — a product of carbohydrate breakdown —…

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