Articles Posted by SunkenCiv

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  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Corona from Svalbard

    03/31/2015 3:48:23 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 10 replies
    NASA ^ | March 31, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: During a total solar eclipse, the Sun's extensive outer atmosphere, or corona, is an inspirational sight. Streamers and shimmering features that engage the eye span a brightness range of over 10,000 to 1, making them notoriously difficult to capture in a single photograph. But this composite of 29 telescopic images covers a wide range of exposure times to reveal the crown of the Sun in all its glory. The aligned and stacked digital frames were recorded in the cold, clear skies above the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard, Norway during the Sun's total eclipse on March 20 and also show...
  • Newly discovered arthropod fossil swam in Cambrian seas

    03/30/2015 9:55:22 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 16 replies
    AOL ^ | March 29th 2015 | unattributed
    Paleontologists have discovered the fossilized remains of a new arthropod. Yawunik kootenayi was swimming around oceans in Canada in the Cambrian period, 508 million years ago. It's thought to share a common ancestor with today's spiders and scorpions. The arthropod had four eyes and arms lined with both tiny claws to help it feed, and long antennae to sense its surroundings. The study's lead author says species today don't have limbs that function like that. "This dual function is very, very special, because it does not appear in modern forms. If you take insects as an example, they have a...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- A Flag Shaped Aurora over Sweden

    03/30/2015 7:23:46 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 8 replies
    NASA ^ | March 30, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: It appeared, momentarily, like a 50-km tall banded flag. In mid-March, an energetic Coronal Mass Ejection directed toward a clear magnetic channel to Earth led to one of the more intense geomagnetic storms of recent years. A visual result was wide spread auroras being seen over many countries near Earth's magnetic poles. Captured over Kiruna, Sweden, the image features an unusually straight auroral curtain with the green color emitted low in the Earth's atmosphere, and red many kilometers higher up. It is unclear where the rare purple aurora originates, but it might involve an unusual blue aurora at an...
  • Report says most stars in galaxy have planets in habitable zone

    03/29/2015 5:27:51 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 31 replies
    Yakima Herald Republic ^ | March 22, 2015 | Rachel Feltman, Washington Post
    For a planet to have liquid water -- something necessary to support life as we know it -- it has to be within a certain distance of its star. Too close, and the water burns up. Too far away, and it's a frozen wasteland. But according to new research, most stars in the galaxy have so-called "Goldilocks planets," which sit in the habitable zone, where temperatures are just right for life... The calculations, which were produced by a group of researchers from the Australian National University and the Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagen, are based on a...
  • ESA's CHEOPS satellite to hunt transits of suspected exoplanets

    03/29/2015 5:21:46 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 2 replies
    Phys dot org ^ | March 18, 2015 | Tomasz Nowakowski, Astrowatch
    Just like the Pharaoh Cheops, who ruled the ancient Old Kingdom of Egypt, ESA's CHaracterising ExOPlanet Satellite (CHEOPS) could be someday ruling in the field of exoplanet hunting. It will be the first mission dedicated to search for transits by means of ultrahigh precision photometry on bright stars already known to host planets... Large ground-based high-precision Doppler spectroscopic surveys carried out during the last years have identified hundreds of stars hosting planets in the super-Earth to Neptune mass range and will continue to do so into the foreseeable future. The characteristics of these stars and the knowledge of the planet...
  • Hubble Search for Transit of the Earth-mass Exoplanet Alpha Centauri Bb

    Results from exoplanet surveys indicate that small planets (super-Earth size and below) are abundant in our Galaxy. However, little is known about their interiors and atmospheres. There is therefore a need to find small planets transiting bright stars, which would enable a detailed characterisation of this population of objects. We present the results of a search for the transit of the Earth-mass exoplanet Alpha Centauri Bb with the Hubble Space Telescope (HST). We observed Alpha Centauri B twice in 2013 and 2014 for a total of 40 hours. We achieve a precision of 115 ppm per 6-s exposure time in...
  • Oldest evidence of breast cancer found in Egyptian skeleton

    03/29/2015 4:44:43 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 15 replies
    Reuters ^ | Tuesday, March 24, 2015 | Mahmoud Mourad; editing by John Stonestreet
    A team from a Spanish university has discovered what Egyptian authorities are calling the world's oldest evidence of breast cancer in the 4,200-year-old skeleton of an adult woman. Antiquities Minister Mamdouh el-Damaty said the bones of the woman, who lived at the end of the 6th Pharaonic Dynasty, showed "an extraordinary deterioration". "The study of her remains shows the typical destructive damage provoked by the extension of a breast cancer as a metastasis," he said in a statement on Tuesday. Despite being one of the world's leading causes of death today, cancer is virtually absent in archaeological records compared to...
  • The stapes of a neanderthal child points to the anatomical differences with respect to our species [

    03/29/2015 4:34:10 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 26 replies
    University of the Basque Country• ^ | Wednesday, March 25, 2015 | (press release)
    New remains recovered in an excavation carried out over 40 years ago have enabled this auditory ossicle to be reconstructedAsier Gómez-Olivencia, an Ikerbasque researcher at the UPV/EHU-University of the Basque Country, has published in The Journal of Human Evolution a piece of research in which he stresses the importance of reviewing old excavationsThe Neanderthals (Homo neanderthalensis) inhabited Europe and parts of western Asia between 230,000 and 28,000 years ago... The archaeological site at La Ferrassie, excavated throughout the 20th century, is a mythical enclave because it was where 7 Neanderthal skeletons, ranging from foetuses to almost complete skeletons of...
  • Stone-age Italians defleshed their dead

    03/29/2015 4:21:21 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 38 replies
    Science Magazine ^ | March 27, 2015 | Garry Shaw
    About 7000 years ago in Italy, early farmers practiced an unusual burial ritual known as "defleshing." When people died, villagers stripped their bones bare, pulled them apart, and mingled them with animal remains in a nearby cave. The practice was meant to separate the dead from the living, researchers say, writing in the latest issue of the journal Antiquity... Robb and his team examined the scattered bones of at least 22 Neolithic humans -- many children -- who died between 7200 and 7500 years ago. Their remains were buried in Scaloria Cave, a stalactite-filled grotto in the Tavoliere region of...
  • Archaeologists say skeleton of woman is latest known early medieval burial found in Wales

    03/29/2015 4:20:53 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 8 replies
    Culture24 ^ | March 26th, 2015 | Ben Miller
    A stone-built cist grave carrying a skeleton and a mysterious metre-wide wall, missing from early maps and believed to have been part of a medieval monastic settlement, have been found by archaeologists during excavations carried out at a church in North Wales with foundations in the 6th century. Experts say they immediately realised the "huge significance" of a set of large flat stones a metre below the foundations of St Mary's Church in Nefyn, where the current building was built by the Victorians in 1825 before being converted into a museum in 1977. Lifting the stone cover, a skeleton --...
  • Ancient gold artefacts uncovered in north Wales [ 1000 BC ]

    03/29/2015 4:14:53 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 11 replies
    ITV Report ^ | Thursday, March 26, 2015 | unattributed
    Two gold artefacts thought to be around 3,000 years old have been found near Wrexham. The Late Bronze Age hoard of two 'lock' gold rings were discovered in the Community of Rosset. The wearer would've been a person of wealth and status within Late Bronze Age Society, between 10000 and 800BC. In terms of their use, archaeologists aren't certain whether they were used as ear-rings or worn to gather locks of hair, as the name suggests. In Wales, lock-rings have previously been found at Gaerwen, Anglesey, the Great Orme, Conwy and Newport, Pembrokeshire. This largely coastal pattern hints at possible...
  • Red Lady cave burial reveals Stone Age secrets

    03/29/2015 11:54:12 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 20 replies
    New Scientist ^ | March 18, 2015 | Penny Sarchet
    Aged between 35 and 40 when she died, she was laid to rest alongside a large engraved stone, her body seemingly daubed in sparkling red pigment. Small, yellow flowers may even have adorned her grave 18,700 years ago -- a time when cave burials, let alone one so elaborate, appear to have been very rare. It was a momentous honour, and no one knows why she was given it... Her remains were discovered when Straus's team began digging behind this block in 2010. Radiocarbon dating reveals that the block fell from the ceiling at most only a few hundred years...
  • Putin letter to Arab summit triggers strong Saudi attack

    03/29/2015 11:28:01 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 12 replies
    Reuters ^ | Sunday, March 29, 2015 | Yara Bayoumy and Mahmoud Mourad
    Saudi Arabia accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of hypocrisy on Sunday, telling an Arab summit that he should not express support for the Middle East while fuelling instability by supporting Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad. In a rare move, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi announced that a letter from Putin would be read out to the gathering in Egypt, where Arab leaders discussed an array of regional crises, including conflicts in Syria, Yemen and Libya. "We support the Arabs' aspirations for a prosperous future and for the resolution of all the problems the Arab world faces through peaceful means, without any...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Shadow of a Martian Robot

    03/28/2015 10:05:00 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 11 replies
    NASA ^ | March 29, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: What if you saw your shadow on Mars and it wasn't human? Then you might be the Opportunity rover currently exploring Mars. Opportunity has been exploring the red planet since early 2004, finding evidence of ancient water, and sending breathtaking images across the inner Solar System. Pictured above in 2004, Opportunity looks opposite the Sun into Endurance Crater and sees its own shadow. Two wheels are visible on the lower left and right, while the floor and walls of the unusual crater are visible in the background. Opportunity is continuing on its long trek exploring unusual terrain in Meridiani...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Diamond Rings and Baily's Beads

    03/28/2015 10:02:27 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 2 replies
    NASA ^ | March 28, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Near the March 20 equinox the cold clear sky over Longyearbyen, Norway, planet Earth held an engaging sight, a total eclipse of the Sun. The New Moon's silhouette at stages just before and after the three minute long total phase seems to sprout glistening diamonds and bright beads in this time lapse composite of the geocentric celestial event. The last and first glimpses of the solar disk with the lunar limb surrounded by the glow of the Sun's inner corona give the impression of a diamond ring in the sky. At the boundaries of totality, sunlight streaming through valleys...
  • A Fruit Vendor’s Self-Immolation and the Neglect of Arab-Iranians

    03/28/2015 11:30:22 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 3 replies
    FDD Policy Brief ^ | March 27th, 2015 | Behnam Ben Taleblu
    Tragedy struck Iran’s Arab-majority province of Khuzestan on Sunday as a fruit vendor died after self-immolating outside the local municipality building. Like Mohamed Bouazizi – the Tunisian fruit seller whose death sparked the Arab Spring – Younes Asakereh’s suicide was an act of defiance in response to authorities who denied him his livelihood. In contrast to Tunisia, however, Asakereh’s suicide sparked no national revolution. Instead, his death will likely be yet another example of regime neglect over a strategic but forgotten province... Nonetheless, rather than cultivate this underdeveloped province, Iran’s leadership has consistently given higher priority to interests beyond the...
  • Collapse of the universe coming sooner than expected according to new research

    03/27/2015 12:33:56 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 127 replies
    AOL ^ | March 26th 2015 | unattributed
    You've heard of the Big Bang, but what about the "Colossal Crash?" Get ready, because it might be coming sooner than you think ... relatively speaking. In a paper published in Physical Review Letters a group of physicists have theorized a mechanism for "cosmological collapse" which predicts the universe will at some point stop expanding and then collapse back onto itself, destroying us and pretty much all matter. The idea has been floating around the scientific community in one form or another for a while now, but the latest paper is noteworthy because its numbers and models suggest that collapse...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- NGC 2403 in Camelopardalis

    03/27/2015 10:22:22 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 13 replies
    NASA ^ | March 27, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Magnificent island universe NGC 2403 stands within the boundaries of the long-necked constellation Camelopardalis. Some 10 million light-years distant and about 50,000 light-years across, the spiral galaxy also seems to have more than its fair share of giant star forming HII regions, marked by the telltale reddish glow of atomic hydrogen gas. The giant HII regions are energized by clusters of hot, massive stars that explode as bright supernovae at the end of their short and furious lives. A member of the M81 group of galaxies, NGC 2403 closely resembles another galaxy with an abundance of star forming regions...
  • Porcupine unearths 1,400 year old oil lamp at archaeological site in Emek Hefer

    03/27/2015 9:58:54 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 45 replies
    Jerusalem Post ^ | March 23, 2015 | JPost staff
    Archaeologists with the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) have uncovered a 1,400 year-old ceramic oil lamp with the help of an unlikely aide – a porcupine. Last week, during a routine patrol at the Horbat Siv ancient ruins – a Roman-Byzantine site near Emek Hefer in central Israel, anti-antiquities theft inspectors found the oil lamp on top of a pile of dirt that a porcupine had unearthed while digging a burrow. Porcupine’s live in underground burrows that can stretch to as long as 15 meters. Ira Horovitz from the anti-antiquities theft unit of the IAA said that “the porcupine is an...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Orion Spring

    03/26/2015 3:55:10 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 2 replies
    NASA ^ | March 26, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: As spring comes to planet Earth's northern hemisphere, familiar winter constellation Orion sets in early evening skies and budding trees frame the Hunter's stars. The yellowish hue of cool red supergiant Alpha Orionis, the great star Betelgeuse, mingles with the branches at the top of this colorful skyscape. Orion's alpha star is joined on the far right by Alpha Tauri. Also known as Aldebaran and also a giant star cooler than the Sun, it shines with a yellow light at the head of Taurus, the Bull. Contrasting blue supergiant Rigel, Beta Orionis, is Orion's other dominant star though, and...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Naked Eye Nova Sagittarii 2015 No. 2

    03/25/2015 3:30:29 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 10 replies
    NASA ^ | March 24, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: It quickly went from obscurity to one of the brighter stars in Sagittarius -- but it's fading. Named Nova Sagittarii 2015 No. 2, the stellar explosion is the brightest nova visible from Earth in over a year. The featured image was captured four days ago from Ranikhet in the Indian Himalayas. Several stars in western Sagittarius make an asterism known as the Teapot, and the nova, indicated by the arrow, now appears like a new emblem on the side of the pot. As of last night, Nova Sag has faded from brighter than visual magnitude 5 to the edge...
  • Maya Mural Reveals Ancient 'Photobomb' [no it doesn't]

    03/25/2015 2:24:55 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 30 replies
    LiveScience ^ | February 20, 2015 | Laura Geggel
    The murals also provide information about a man buried beneath them. During an excavation, the archaeologists found the skeleton of a man dressed like the sages in the mural. It's possible the man once lived in the room, which later became his final resting place, Saturno said. Archaeologists discovered the approximately 1,250-year-old mural in the ancient city of Xultun, located in the northeastern part of present-day Guatemala. During an archaeological study of Xultun, an undergraduate student inspecting an old looters' trail noticed traces of paint on an ancient wall covered by dirt... the elements had been kind to the building...
  • Ancient Receipt Proves Egyptian Taxes Were Worse Than Yours

    03/25/2015 11:53:00 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 16 replies
    Live Science ^ | March 14, 2015 | Owen Jarus
    A recently translated ancient Egyptian tax receipt shows a bill that is (literally) heavier than any American taxpayer will pay this year — more than 220 lbs. (100 kilograms) of coins. Written in Greek on a piece of pottery, the receipt states that a person (the name is unreadable) and his friends paid a land-transfer tax that came to 75 "talents" (a unit of currency), with a 15-talent charge added on. The tax was paid in coins and was delivered to a public bank in a city called Diospolis Magna (also known as Luxor or Thebes). But just how much...
  • Coral Pyramids in Micronesia Date Back to Middle Ages

    03/25/2015 11:41:42 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 28 replies
    LiveScience ^ | March 13, 2015 | Megan Gannon
    On a remote Pacific island not much bigger than Manhattan, there are ancient pyramids built out of living coral. New evidence reveals that these tombs could be up to 700 years old — much older than experts had previously thought. The royal tombs are tucked away in an artificially built ancient city called Leluh just off the mainland of Kosrae, a Micronesian island. Leluh was home to Kosraean high chiefs (as well as some lower chiefs and commoners, too) from about 1250 until the mid-1800s, when foreign whalers, traders and missionaries started to arrive on the island. With impressive canals...
  • Did a volcanic cataclysm 40,000 years ago trigger the final demise of the Neanderthals?

    03/24/2015 7:28:00 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 24 replies
    Science Daily ^ | March 20, 2015 | Geological Society of America
    In their climate simulations, Black and colleagues found that the largest temperature decreases after the eruption occurred in Eastern Europe and Asia and sidestepped the areas where the final Neanderthal populations were living (Western Europe). Therefore, the authors conclude that the eruption was probably insufficient to trigger Neanderthal extinction. However, the abrupt cold spell that followed the eruption would still have significantly impacted day-to-day life for Neanderthals and early humans in Europe. Black and colleagues point out that temperatures in Western Europe would have decreased by an average of 2 to 4 degrees Celsius during the year following the eruption....
  • The most complete ancient crossbow unearthed with terracotta army

    03/24/2015 7:21:49 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 26 replies
    chinadaily ^ | March 20, 2015 | Web Editor: Si Huan
    Archaeologists have recently discovered the most complete ancient crossbow to date in the terracotta army pit one in Xi'an, Shaanxi province. Among hundreds of pieces of crossbows unearthed in the past, this one is said to be the best-preserved in general, with a 145cm arch and a 130cm bow string. The bow string has a smooth surface which experts believe to be made from animal tendon instead of fabric and the trigger mechanism is made of bronze, according to Shen Maosheng, head of the archaeological team. Shen also points out that this new discovery sheds light on how Qing, two...
  • Forgotten monuments of Northern Sweden

    03/24/2015 7:15:46 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 9 replies
    Past Horizons ^ | March 22, 2015 | Carl L. Thunberg
    The vast majority of the cairns appear to have been built as monuments to the dead, mainly during the southern Scandinavian Bronze Age; circa 1800-500 BC. They occupy prominent positions overlooking the surrounding area, and some researchers speculate that they had a function as tribal markers for family group territories... Unlike the cairns from the Late Bronze Age and Early Iron Age which appear to contain cremation burials, the Early Bronze Age examples like one of the Spir Mountain cairns (RAÄ Grundsunda 109:1), have internal burial chambers with cists containing skeletal remains, accompanied by various grave goods. In some cases...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Powers of Ten

    03/24/2015 6:17:50 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 3 replies
    NASA ^ | March 24, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: How different does the universe look on small, medium, and large scales? The most famous short science film of its generation gives breathtaking comparisons. That film, Powers of Ten, originally created in the 1960s, has now been officially posted to YouTube and embedded above. Please click the above arrow to see the nine minute movie for yourself. From a picnic blanket near Chicago out past the Virgo Cluster of Galaxies, every ten seconds the film zooms out to show a square a factor of ten times larger on each side. The video then reverses, zooming back in a factor...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Atlas V Launches MMS

    03/23/2015 4:17:58 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 8 replies
    NASA ^ | March 23, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Birds don't fly this high. Airplanes don't go this fast. The Statue of Liberty weighs less. No species other than human can even comprehend what is going on, nor could any human just a millennium ago. The launch of a rocket bound for space is an event that inspires awe and challenges description. Pictured above, an Atlas V rocket lifts off carrying NASA's Magnetospheric Multiscale Mission into Earth orbit 10 days ago to study the workings of the magnetosphere that surrounds and protects the Earth. From a standing start, the 300,000 kilogram rocket ship left to circle the Earth...
  • Why ancient myths about volcanoes are often true

    03/22/2015 6:17:13 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 35 replies
    BBC ^ | March 18, 2015 | Jane Palmer
    Story has it that many hundreds of years ago, Tanovo, chief of the Fijian island Ono, was very partial to a late afternoon stroll. Each day he would walk along the beach, watch the sun go down and undoubtedly contemplate this paradise on Earth. But one day Tanovo's rival, chief of the volcano Nabukelevu, pushed his mountain up and blocked Tanovo's view of the sunset. Enraged at this, and robbed of the pacifying effects of his daily meditation, Tanovo wove giant coconut-fibre baskets and began to remove earth from the mountain. His rival, however, caught Tanovo and chased him away....
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- A Double Eclipse of the Sun

    03/22/2015 6:59:07 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 8 replies
    NASA ^ | March 22, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Can the Sun be eclipsed twice at the same time? Last Friday was noteworthy because part of the Earth was treated to a rare total eclipse of the Sun. But also on Friday, from a part of the Earth that only saw part of the Sun eclipsed, a second object appeared simultaneously in front of the Sun: the Earth-orbiting International Space Station. Although space station eclipses are very quick -- in this case only 0.6 seconds, they are not so rare. Capturing this composite image took a lot of planning and a little luck, as the photographer had to...
  • Prehistoric stone tools bear 500,000-year-old animal residue

    03/21/2015 6:02:42 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 60 replies
    Eurekalert! ^ | March 19, 2015 | American Friends of Tel Aviv University
    Tel Aviv University discovers first direct evidence early flint tools were used to butcher animal carcasses. Some 2.5 million years ago, early humans survived on a paltry diet of plants. As the human brain expanded, however, it required more substantial nourishment - namely fat and meat - to sustain it. This drove prehistoric man, who lacked the requisite claws and sharp teeth of carnivores, to develop the skills and tools necessary to hunt animals and butcher fat and meat from large carcasses. Among elephant remains some 500,000 years old at a Lower Paleolithic site in Revadim, Israel, Prof. Ran Barkai...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Northern Equinox Eclipse

    03/21/2015 3:39:47 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 5 replies
    NASA ^ | March 21, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Snowy and cold is weather you might expect at the start of spring for Longyearbyen on the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard, Norway. But that turned out to be good weather for watching the Moon's umbral shadow race across northern planet Earth. The region was plunged into darkness for 3 minutes during the March 20 total solar eclipse while insulated eclipse chasers witnessed the dark Sun in the cold clear sky. In this well-timed snapshot captured near the end of totality, the Moon's shadow sweeps away from the horizon and the solar corona fades as the lunar disk just begins...
  • 10,000-Year-Old Stone Tool Site Discovered in Suburban Seattle

    03/21/2015 2:29:48 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 33 replies
    Western Digs ^ | March 18, 2015 | Blake de Pastino
    The find includes thousands of stone flakes, an array of bifaces, scrapers, and hammerstones, plus several projectile points, some of which were fashioned in a style that experts describe as “completely new” for this region and period in its history... And in the layer with the artifacts were burned bits of willow, poplar, and pine, which were themselves dated between 10,000 and 12,500 years ago... While other sites in Washington’s lowlands have produced animal remains from the end of the last Ice Age, this is the first discovery of stone tools that date back more than 10,000 years, according to...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Sunshine, Earthshine

    03/20/2015 12:28:01 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 20 replies
    NASA ^ | March 20, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Today's date marks an Equinox and a New Moon. Remarkably, while the exact timing of both geocentric events occur within a span of only 13 hours, the moon also reaches its new phase only 14 hours after perigee, the closest point in its orbit. That makes the Equinox New Moon the largest New Moon of 2015, though hard to see since that lunar phase presents the Moon's dark, night side to planet Earth. Still, in this well composed image of a young lunar phase from late January you can glimpse both night and day on the lunar surface, the...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Aurora in the Backyard

    03/19/2015 4:32:59 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 8 replies
    NASA ^ | March 19, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: On the night of March 17/18 this umbrella of northern lights unfolded over backyards in Vallentuna, Sweden about 30 kilometers north of Stockholm. A result of the strongest geomagnetic storm of this solar cycle, auroral displays were captured on that night from back and front yards at even lower latitudes, including sightings in the midwestern United States. A boon for aurora hunting skywatchers, the space storm began building when a coronal mass ejection, launched by solar activity some two days earlier, struck planet Earth's magnetosphere. So what's the name of the backyard observatory on the right of the wide...
  • Gem Engraved with Goddess' Image Found Near King Herod's Mausoleum

    03/18/2015 4:18:02 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 18 replies
    LiveScience ^ | March 17, 2015 | Owen Jarus
    A translucent orange gem engraved with an image of a goddess of hunting has been found near a mausoleum built by Herod the Great, the king of Judea who ruled not long before the time of Jesus. The carnelian gem shows the goddess Diana (or her Greek equivalent, Artemis) with a sumptuously detailed hairstyle and wearing a sleeveless dress, with a quiver behind her left shoulder and the end of a bow protruding from her right shoulder. Both Diana and Artemis were goddesses of hunting and childbirth. An iron ring that may have held the gem was found nearby. Researchers...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Earth During a Total Eclipse of the Sun

    03/18/2015 2:42:57 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 15 replies
    NASA ^ | March 18, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: What does the Earth look like during a total solar eclipse? It appears dark in the region where people see the eclipse, because that's where the shadow of the Moon falls. The shadow spot actually shoots across the Earth at nearly 2,000 kilometers per hour, darkening locations in its path for only a few minutes before moving on. The featured image shows the Earth during the total solar eclipse of 2006 March, as seen from the International Space Station. On Friday the Moon will move in front of the Sun once again, casting another distorted circular shadow that, this...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- The Big Dipper Enhanced

    03/17/2015 4:35:05 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 12 replies
    NASA ^ | March 17, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Do you see it? This common question frequently precedes the rediscovery of one of the most commonly recognized configurations of stars on the northern sky: the Big Dipper. This grouping of stars is one of the few things that has likely been seen, and will be seen, by every human generation. In this featured image, however, the stars of the Big Dipper have been digitally enhanced -- they do not really appear this much brighter than nearby stars. The image was taken earlier this month from France. The Big Dipper is not by itself a constellation. Although part of...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- The Clouds of Orion the Hunter

    03/16/2015 5:05:42 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 7 replies
    NASA ^ | March 16, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Cradled in cosmic dust and glowing hydrogen, stellar nurseries in Orion the Hunter lie at the edge of giant molecular clouds some 1,500 light-years away. Spanning about 30 degrees, this breath-taking vista stretches across the well-known constellation from head to toe (left to right) and beyond. At 1,500 light years away, the Great Orion Nebula is the closest large star forming region, here visible just right and below center. To its left are the Horsehead Nebula, M78, and Orion's belt stars. Sliding your cursor over the picture will also find red giant Betelgeuse at the hunter's shoulder, bright blue...
  • Pictured: The 2,000-year-old gladiator's helmet discovered in Pompeii's ruins

    03/15/2015 1:25:12 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 55 replies
    Daily Mail ^ | 4 June 2009 | Daily Mail Reporter
    A gladiator's helmet left behind in the ruins of Pompeii is the centrepiece of an exhibition to be unveiled in Melbourne today. The 2,000-year-old bronze helmet is one of 250 items brought together at the Melbourne Museum to illustrate life in the ancient city. Museum manager Brett Dunlop says the helmet survived the eruption of Mount Vesuvius and was recovered 200 years ago. 'A large number of gladiators' helmets and shin guards and shoulder guards were found in what was most likely a storeroom in the gymnasium area,' he said. 'Most definitely the gladiators who were able to would have...
  • Mystery of our 145 'alien' genes: Scientists discover some DNA is NOT from our ancestors -- and...

    03/15/2015 12:54:43 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 44 replies
    Daily Mail (brother's working there) ^ | March 14 ,2015 | Mark Prigg
    Humans contain 'alien' genes not passed on from our ancestors, researchers have discovered. The say we acquired essential 'foreign' genes from microorganisms co-habiting their environment in ancient times. The study challenges conventional views that animal evolution relies solely on genes passed down through ancestral lines -- and says the process could still be going on. Cambridge researchers say we acquired essential 'foreign' genes from microorganisms co-habiting their environment in ancient times. Horizontal Gene Transfer The transfer of genes between organisms living in the same environment is known as horizontal gene transfer (HGT). It is well known in single-celled organisms and...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- A Total Eclipse at the End of the World

    03/15/2015 9:08:26 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 15 replies
    NASA ^ | March 15, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Would you go to the end of the world to see a total eclipse of the Sun? If you did, would you be surprised to find someone else there already? In 2003, the Sun, the Moon, Antarctica, and two photographers all lined up in Antarctica during an unusual total solar eclipse. Even given the extreme location, a group of enthusiastic eclipse chasers ventured near the bottom of the world to experience the surreal momentary disappearance of the Sun behind the Moon. One of the treasures collected was the above picture -- a composite of four separate images digitally combined...
  • Study finds significant facial variation in pre-Columbian South America

    03/15/2015 8:06:15 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 16 replies
    EurekAlert! ^ | March 5, 2013 | North Carolina State University
    A team of anthropology researchers has found significant differences in facial features between all seven pre-Columbian peoples they evaluated from what is now Peru -- disproving a longstanding perception that these groups were physically homogenous. The finding may lead scholars to revisit any hypotheses about human migration patterns that rested on the idea that there was little skeletal variation in pre-Columbian South America. Skeletal variation is a prominent area of research in New World bioarchaeology, because it can help us understand the origins and migration patterns of various pre-Columbian groups through the Americas... The recently-published findings may affect a lot...
  • Bronze Age palace discovered in southern Spain

    03/14/2015 10:16:41 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 6 replies
    Past Horizons ^ | October 10, 2014 | Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona
    During August 2014, researchers from the Department of Prehistory, at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, made some spectacular discoveries at the Spanish site of La Almoloya, located in Pliego, Murcia. The site represents the cradle of the Bronze Age "El Argar" civilisation, who dominated the south-eastern part of the Iberian Peninsula. La Almoloya, discovered in 1944 by Emeterio Cuadrado and Juan de la Cierva, is located on a steep sided plateau and dominated an extensive region for over six centuries (from 2,200 to 1,550 BC)... The stone walls of the buildings were covered with layers of mortar, and some areas...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Return at Sunrise

    03/14/2015 6:29:02 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 7 replies
    NASA ^ | March 14, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Thursday, shortly after local sunrise over central Asia, this Soyuz spacecraft floated over a sea of golden clouds during its descent by parachute through planet Earth's dense atmosphere. On board were Expedition 42 commander Barry Wilmore of NASA and Alexander Samokutyaev and Elena Serova of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos). Touch down was at approximately 10:07 p.m. EDT (8:07 a.m. March 12, Kazakh time) southeast of Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan. The three were returning from low Earth orbit, after almost six months on the International Space Station as members of the Expedition 41 and Expedition 42 crews.
  • A Carpet of Stone Tools in the Sahara

    03/14/2015 4:01:07 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 34 replies
    Past Horizons ^ | March 11, 2015 | editors
    A new intensive survey of the Messak Settafet escarpment, a massive outcrop of sandstone in the middle of the Saharan desert, has shown that stone tools occur "ubiquitously" across the entire landscape: averaging 75 artefacts per square metre, or 75 million per square kilometre. Researchers say the vast 'carpet' of stone-age tools -- extracted from and discarded onto the escarpment over hundreds of thousands of years -- is the earliest known example of an entire landscape being modified by hominins: the group of creatures that include us and our ancestral species. The Messak Settafet runs a total length of 350...
  • Iraqi offensive to dislodge Islamic State from Tikrit appears to stall

    03/13/2015 2:32:42 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 10 replies
    Zeenews ^ | Friday, March 13, 2015 | Reuters
    A source in the Salahuddin Operations Command said Iraqi forces would not move forward until reinforcements reached Tikrit, of which Islamic State still holds around half. Using guerrilla warfare tactics, the militants have turned the city into a labyrinth of home-made bombs and booby-trapped buildings, and are using snipers to halt their progress... A victory in Tikrit would give Iraqi forces momentum for the next stage of the campaign to retake Mosul, the largest city under control of Islamic State, which now rules a self-proclaimed caliphate in Sunni regions in Syria and Iraq. But the involvement of Iran, which backs...
  • Oil-Eating Microbes Have Worldwide Underground Connections

    03/13/2015 12:10:35 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 32 replies
    Scientific American ^ | February 15, 2015 | David Biello 
    Living deep underground ain't easy. In addition to hellish temperatures and pressures, there's not a lot to eat. Which is why oil reservoirs are the microbes' cornucopia in this hidden realm. Microbes feast on many oil reservoirs, but it has been unclear how the microorganisms got to those locales. One proposal has been that the microbes colonize a pool of dead algae corpses and then go along for the ride as the pool gets buried deeper and deeper and the algae slowly become oil. That's the so-called "burial and isolation" hypothesis. But under that set of rules each pool of...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- The Great Wall by Moonlight

    03/13/2015 5:01:40 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 6 replies
    NASA ^ | March 13, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Last Friday, an almost Full Moon rose as the Sun set, over this mountainous landscape north of Beijing, China. Also near apogee, the farthest point in its elliptical orbit around planet Earth, it was this year's smallest and faintest Full Moon. The Jiankou section of the Great Wall of China meanders through the scene, the ancient Great Wall itself the subject of an older-than-the-space-age myth that it would be visible to the eye when standing on the lunar surface. But even from low Earth orbit, the large scale artifact of human civilization is very difficult to identify. At its...