Photo credit: Dan Wilkins (CC BY-NC-ND)
Astrophysicists have detected light echoing behind a black hole in deep space for the very first time. Stanford University astrophysicist Dan Wilkins found that flares of X-rays were spotted bursting from a supermassive black hole at the center of a galaxy 800m light years away, but the telescopes were also picking up unexpected “luminous echoes,” which are smaller flashes and of different colors than the bright flares. Read more for another picture and additional information.
You may be familiar with Penn State’s Beaver Stadium, Lion Shrine, and Old Main, but did you know the school also has the longest continuously running nuclear university reactor in the United States? That’s right, Penn State was chosen as the home to a nuclear reactor in 1955 by President Dwight Eisenhower when he created the Atoms for Peace program. This program intended to supply equipment as well as information about nuclear power to research institutions, hospitals, and schools around the world. Read more for a video of it starting up and additional information.
Photo credit: Radbound University / ESO
The Event Horizon Telescope (EHT), which merges dozens of widely dispersed radio dishes, from Hawaii to Greenland and the South Pole, has captured a breathtaking image of a black hole jet in Centaurus A. The massive virtual telescope essentially points a large number of dishes at a celestial object at the same time and carefully time stamps the data from each one with an atomic clock. Researchers later reassemble it with giant computing clusters. Read more for a video and additional information.
Photo credit: NASA / Gaia
An asteroid (2008 GO20) the size of the Giza pyramid / Taj Mahal that stands between 318-720 feet tall (220 meters) is set to zip by Earth today and it’s hurtling through space at 18,000 miles per hour. Researchers state it may come as close as 2.8 million miles to Earth, which places it in the “Apollo,” the term used for near-Earth designation. NASA is closely monitoring the asteroid’s progress, but considering the moon is 238,855 miles away, there’s not too much to worry about. Read more for a video and additional information.
There’s only so much an earthquake simulator running on a computer can tell you, and that’s why Simpson Strong-Tie partnered with industry researchers on three NEES (Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation) projects. The most elaborate of projects took many months to complete in Japan and turned into the world’s largest earthquake test. Called the NEES-Wood Capstone project, this full-scale, seven-story wood-framed building and was built with Performance-Based Design. Read more for a video and additional information.
Google DeepMind has just released high-quality AI predictions for the shape of every single protein in the human body, as well as for the proteins of 20 additional organisms that scientists rely on for their research. How so? Researchers used AlphaFold 2 to predict 350,000 protein structures belonging to humans as well as other organisms, and this could accelerate the discovery of new drugs to treat disease, alongside other applications. Read more for three videos and additional information.
Some may already know that scorpions glow under ultraviolet light, but have you ever wondered why? Well, there is still no definitive answer, but scientists do know that right after a scorpion sheds its shell, it doesn’t glow until the new cuticle hardens. This could possibly mean that the substance that causes fluorescence is a byproduct of the hardening process itself, or something that the it secretes not long after molting. Read more for a short video and additional information.
NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover is making final preparations to collect its first-ever Martian rock sample, which will be transported back to Earth on future planned missions. It’s currently searching for a scientifically interesting target in a part of Jezero Crater called the “Cratered Floor Fractured Rough,” and the mission is expected to begin within the next two weeks. Read more for two videos and additional information.
Scientists have discovered that the mountains on neutron stars stand just millimeters tall. These stars are some of the densest objects in the universe, weighing as much as the Sun while only being around 6.2-miles (10-kilometers) wide. These are formed when a massive star runs out of fuel and collapses, with every proton and electron in the object forming a neutron, or a a neutrally charged subatomic particle. Read more for a video and additional information.
In nature, nearly all lava of the Earth’s crust consists of silicate minerals, like pyroxenes, amphiboles, micas and quartz, while rare nonsilicate lavas can also form by local melting of non-silicate mineral deposits. However, lava can also be made in the lab in the form of molten copper and aluminum, but this substance is slightly thinner than the material spewed from active volcanoes. Read more for a short video.