Stardust spacecraft may have found cosmic dust

center_img © 2010 Stardust was launched on its 4.8 billion kilometer mission with the primary goal of collecting dust from the comet Wild 2 in 2004, and returning it to Earth for scientific analysis, but its secondary goal was to collect particles of the interstellar dust stream passing through our Solar System. To collect the dust, the spacecraft had a Stardust Interstellar Dust Collector (SIDC), which was basically a retractable arm with cells filled with a porous substance called aerogel, designed to trap dust particles.The spacecraft and its samples of dust returned to Earth early in 2006, and scientists investigating the samples have now reported two different kinds of dust grains among the samples, which may be interstellar dust. The team involved members of the public in investigating the aerogel collection, using an Internet application called [email protected] Home, which allows interested people to use a virtual microscope to the millions of images.The first particle was found by Bruce Hudson of Ontario, Canada, and is known as particle 30. He called the particle Orion. The scientists then found the second grain, which Hudson named Sirius, and have identified in all 28 impact ‘tracks’ in the aerogel collector. Most of the tracks were at angles that suggested they were particles of debris from collisions with the solar panels on the spacecraft, but seven had ambiguous trajectories, with particle 30 among these.Hudson had suffered a stroke in 2003, and thought the [email protected] project would be a productive way of using his time. He spent up to 15 hours each day for a year scanning pictures, taking five seconds per slide. He was one of around 27,000 volunteers who checked the 71 million images of material captured in the Stardust collection cells.Leader of the team, Dr Andrew Westphal, of the University of California at Berkeley, announced the findings during a Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (LPSC) in Texas. He said two particles hit the aerogel together, and were two components of the same particle, but were very different from each other. Dr Westphal said if the particles do turn out to be interstellar dust, it is more heterogeneous than previously thought.Westphal said the findings are preliminary and could be a false alarm. The analyses on the particles are being done with great care to avoid damaging the particles, which he said would take $300 million to replace. He said the material was fine-grained and has an elemental composition consistent with that expected for interstellar dust, although it contains other elements which are surprising but not inconsistent. Elements found in the dust so far include magnesium, iron, aluminum, nickel, copper, manganese, chromium and gallium.The results are published in the journal American Mineralogist. In January 2006, the spacecraft Stardust returned its sample capsule to Earth, but it remains in space and is currently nearly half-way through a journey to reach the comet Tempel 1. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

Europes electricity operators prepare for March solar eclipse

first_imgImagine: An entire UK plunged into darkness. Narrative for a science fiction trailer? Not at all. In parts of Europe, said Mirror Online, almost 90 per cent of the sun’s rays will be blocked. Explore further This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Antarctic prime spot for Tuesday’s solar eclipse © 2015 Tech Xplore On March 20, a solar eclipse will cover up to 80 percent of the sun in Germany, said Clean Energy Wire. Some parts of Scotland will see 94 percent darkness. This will be the biggest solar eclipse since 1999. The moon will cover the sun in the morning hours of Friday, March 20. Timing of the eclipse puts pressure on electricity providers, said The Independent. It all happens at rush hour and as day workers start up. Mirror Online said, “The blackout will begin in the UK at 8.45am and the maximum eclipse, when the moon is nearest the middle of the sun, will be at 9.31am.” The blackout ends at 10:41. Overall, in Europe, could next month’s eclipse disrupt Europe’s power supplies? Actually, European transmission system operators have been preparing for the March event for several months, evaluating and attempting to mitigate risks. The European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E) on Monday carried this headline on its website: “20 March Solar Eclipse: An Unprecedented Test for Europe’s Electricity System.” This is the group that represents 41 electricity transmission system operators from 34 countries across Europe. They stated that “Under a clear morning sky on 20 March 2015, some 35,000 MW of solar energy, which is the equivalent of nearly 80 medium size conventional generation units, will gradually fade from Europe’s electrical system before being gradually re-injected: all in the space of two hours while Europeans and their offices begin a normal working week day.”The eclipse carries a new challenge compared to the eclipse of 1999, namely use of solar energy. Back then, only 0.1 percent of the renewable energy supply came from solar. A number of countries now use solar energy; 10.5 percent of the green energy in Europe comes from such sources. It’s the increase in solar power across the continent’s interconnected grids post-1999 that has system operators paying more attention to the March 20 date. ENTSO-E said in its Monday statement, “Solar eclipses have happened before but with the increase of installed photovoltaic energy generation, the risk of an incident could be serious without appropriate countermeasures.” Transmission systems operators have a cooperative plan; control rooms will control scheduled actions across Europe ahead of and during the eclipse. The Financial Times quoted ENTSO-E spokesperson Claire Camus: “It will have a cascading effect,” she said. Countries would draw on each other’s reserves of electricity in turn, as the path of the eclipse cuts solar power at faster rates than under natural conditions.ENTSO-E said it planned to continue communications on the eclipse as the day draws near and beyond. Pilita Clark’s Monday story about the eclipse in the Financial Times carried remarks from Patrick Graichen, executive director of Agora Energiewende. He said the eclipse was unlikely to cause problems because (1) there had been time to plan for the event and (2) several ways to balance power supplies are well known. At the same time, he said, the March 20 event bears significance as a stress test: How flexible is the European power system? “Within 30 minutes the solar power production would decrease from 17.5 gigawatts to 6.2GW and then increase again up to 24.6GW. This means that within 30 minutes the system will have to adapt to a load change of -10GW to +15GW,” he said in Clark’s story. By 2030, as more renewable energy comes on stream, this type of shift is expected to become more common, and in a way March 20, he said, offered a glimpse into the future of our power systems. Citation: Europe’s electricity operators prepare for March solar eclipse (2015, February 25) retrieved 18 August 2019 from read more

Humpback whales saving other species from orcas found to be common and

first_img Journal information: Marine Mammal Science Humpback whale. Credit: NOAA. Humpback whales slow to arrive in Hawaii A team of researchers led by Robert Pitman, a marine ecologist with NOOA Fisheries’ Southwest Fisheries Science Center, has found evidence that suggests humpback whales may engage in altruistic behavior during encounters with killer whales attacking other marine species. In a paper available on the open access site Marine Mammal Science, the team describes their analysis of humpback whale encounters with killer whales and why they believe it is possible the whales are intentionally helping other creatures to escape certain death by orcas. More information: Robert L. Pitman et al. Humpback whales interfering when mammal-eating killer whales attack other species: Mobbing behavior and interspecific altruism?, Marine Mammal Science (2016). DOI: 10.1111/mms.12343 The research began, the team notes, when Pitman observed a humpback whale come to the rescue of a seal after a pod of killer whales had knocked it off an ice floe back in 2009. Also, another team member had witnessed a group of humpback whales driving off a pod of killer whales that had killed a grey whale pup—they surrounded it and prevented the orcas from eating it for several hours. Such incidents prompted the group to look a little deeper—they conducted searches of both published and unpublished papers detailing humpback observations and discovered among them 115 incidents of humpback whales rescuing other creatures from orca attacks. They noted that just 11 of the incidents involved rescuing humpback whale calves—the rest involved rescuing a variety of other marine creatures such as sea lions, gray whales, sunfish and harbor seals.The researchers found that many of the humpback whales that engaged in rescue attempts had scars on their bodies, indicating that they were survivors of orca attacks in their youth—it seemed plausible that they were simply responding to an unpleasant memory.The team notes that humpback whales are the only cetaceans (marine mammals that include dolphins, porpoise and whales) known to drive off killer whales under any circumstances—they regularly do so to protect their young. They suggest it might be accidental, as the whales have learned to respond to the sounds killer whales make when attacking—saving members of another species just occurs naturally as they seek to protect their own.After considering all of the possibilities, the team has concluded that altruism “could not be ruled out.” The humpback whales might do it simply because they see another creature under duress and wish to help.center_img Explore further © 2016 Citation: Humpback whales saving other species from orcas found to be common and maybe altruistic (2016, August 10) retrieved 18 August 2019 from This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

Slowdown in African fertility rate linked to disruption of girls education

center_img More information: Endale Kebede et al. Stalls in Africa’s fertility decline partly result from disruptions in female education, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2019). DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1717288116 © 2019 Science X Network Journal information: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

The tie that binds

first_imgIt is that day of the year again when brothers all across the country get an over-dose of love. With people increasingly moving away to other cities to pursue education and careers, Raksha Bandhan is a time when dear ones are missed. One courier company is making sure that the brothers get their rakhis well in time. Called the ‘Rakhi Express’ the service allows you to send the rakhi in a special envelope with a personalised card.  Though the new age tradition of e-rakhis still goes strong. Speaking about deliveries – Rakhi this year seems to have brought about some crazy gifting options – while you could stick to the usual loot of chocolates and sweets, phones, tablets, ipods are also big.  Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Rumour has it that brothers are gifting cosmetic surgery options. Women today seek lasting results from non surgical quick cosmetic procedures like Botox and hyaloronic acid based dermal fillers like Juvederm. ‘During festive seasons like Raksha Bandhan, a lot of people come for beauty enhancing treatments. Mostly they want quick procedures that have minimal downtime. Some procedures that meet this requirement are dermal fillers like Juvederm that help revitalize skin, give volume and help clear fine lines and wrinkles,’ says Dr Indu Ballani.last_img read more

The Dream Chasers hit Delhi in style

first_imgBollywood star Irrfan Khan launched bureaucrat Vipul Mittra’s second book The Dream Chasers  on Thursday at PVR Select City Walk, Delhi. This book follows the publication of Mittra’s first novel Pyramid of Virgin Dreams which has been well received and has attained critical acclaim across the country. The Dream Chasers  is a story about a group of six friends pursuing their MBA and the compromises they have to make when they eventually come in terms with their priorities in life. The book explores the dreams of each one in the gang as they breeze through their semesters and continue with their internships and finally look for job placements.  Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’The book is a light hearted, coming-of-age novel that captures the follies of youth and plays on the inherent naiveté and rib-tickling escapades of six young lives. It also reflects on the aspirations and emotional travails of a progressive young India that seeks to break its mould in pursuit of its dreams. The narrative adopts a refreshing and unpretentious approach to story-telling, so that it appeals to audience of all age groups.Vipul Mittra, an IAS officer has worked on various assignments as member of the IAS for both State and Central Government. His satirical and unabashedly witty style of writing is rooted in everyday life and holds universal appeal. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixThe Dream Catchers was launched by Amitabh Bachchan in Mumbai in a starry launch. The book joins a host of other campus novels made famous by the likes of Chetan Bhagat with his first Five Point Someone; which also got made into a movie – 3 Idiots. The trope gained a lot of popularity with over the years with writers penning experiences of management, engineering and medical colleges from across the country.last_img read more

In retrospect

first_imgLike all the painters of the Progressive Artists Group, Gade revolted against the traditions of academic art, which the British education system had clamped on Indian art education. He believed in an unconventional and dynamic artistic style. He had a commendable intuitive understanding of the pictorial dimensions of color, and as often referred as a painters’ painter.Gade was born in 1917 at Amravati in Maharashtra, India. He studied science at the University of Nagpur where he enrolled in 1939 with the Nagpur School of Art. He taught at Jabalpur’s Spencer Training College for five years before completing a Diploma and then a Masters in Art during 1949-50. He later enrolled for a year at the Central Institute of Education, New Delhi in 1958.Visual imagery is the best medium to reflect the truth and Gade’s effort were always to converse the reality via his paintings.Head over and experience the color of Gade to relish his cherished dream and sense the adventure which artist had gone to create the wonderful masterpieces.WHEN: On till 10 FebruaryWHERE: Dhoomimal Gallery, G-42 Connaught Placelast_img read more

US SC allows gay marriage in 5 states

first_imgThe move was a major surprise and suggests that the justices are not going to intercede in the wave of decisions in favor of same-sex marriage at least until a federal appeals court upholds a state ban.The move will immediately increase the number of states allowing same-sex marriage from 19 to 24. The justices had earlier acted to stop same-sex marriages in Utah and Virginia, issuing stays to block appeals court rulings allowing them. Other appeals court decisions had been stayed by the appeals courts. The all but universal consensus from observers of the SC had been that the stays issued by the justices indicated that the justices wanted the last word before federal courts transformed the landscape for same-sex marriage.last_img read more

On the list

first_imgKolkata born, 58-year-old Ghosh had narrowly missed out on the Booker Prize back in 2008 when he was shortlisted for his work Sea of Poppies. The international version of the popular literary prize, to be held in London on May 19, is awarded every two years to a living author who has published fiction either originally in English or whose work is generally available in translation in the English language.The winner is chosen solely at the discretion of the judging panel and there are no submissions from publishers. “For the first time authors included in the list are from 10 countries with six new nationalities,” said Taylor. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’They are from Libya, Mozambique, Guadeloupe, Hungary, South Africa and Congo and the proportion of writers translated into English is greater than ever before at 80 per cent. “The judges have had an exhilarating experience reading for this prize we have ranged across the world and entered the vision of writers who offer an extraordinary variety of experiences,” said Prof Marina Warner, chair of the judging panel.The awards comes with a 60,000 pounds cheque and can be won only once in an author’s lifetime. In addition, there is a separate award for translation and, if applicable and in accordance with the rules of the separate prize for translation, the winner may choose a translator of his or her work into English to receive a prize of 15,000 pounds.last_img read more

CM quota flat allotment files missing Maha tells HC

first_imgOver 1,300 files, pertaining to the allotment of flats since 1982 to beneficiaries from Chief Minister’s housing quota, have gone missing, the Maharashtra government informed the Bombay High Court on Tuesday.”At least 1,300 files of the Housing Department alone are missing,” public prosecutor Jayesh Yagnik told Justices Abhay Oka and Reveti Mohite-Dhere, who were hearing a PIL filed by activist Ketan Tirodkar alleging irregularities in allotment of flats under CM’s housing quota.This prompted the Bench to ask why the government had not informed about the ‘missing’ files in October 2014, when it had passed an order, appointing retired Judge JA Patil to probe alleged irregularities in the allotment of flats under the discretionary housing quota since 1982.To this, the prosecutor said the officers concerned were not aware of the missing files that time. Not satisfied with the answer, the Bench said the only way to solve the problem would be to take contempt action against the guilty.The prosecutor informed the court that 1,200 beneficiaries had surrendered flats on account of irregularities or in cases of double allotment of houses. Besides, police had taken action against 300 such beneficiaries, he said. “This shows the magnitude of the irregularities,” the Bench said.About 1,200 houses are now available to the government for allotment to people, the Judges said, adding that they had passed orders on the PIL earlier as the government had not taken any action on the alleged irregularities. Though the probe has not concluded, many beneficiaries have surrendered the flats allotted to them.  Govt seeks HC nod for auto, taxi fare hike  The Maharashtra government on Tuesday sought the Bombay High Court’s approval for the proposed auto and taxi fare hike announced by the Mumbai Metropolitan Road Transport Authority (MMRTA). The authority had proposed a hike in the basic fare for autos and taxis. The fare for autos will go up from Rs 17 to Rs 18, while taxi fare will go up from Rs 21 to Rs 22. The hike will come into effect only after the meters of over 1.05 lakh autos and over 35,000 taxis in the city are re-calibrated.last_img read more