A supermassive black hole in the center of our Galaxy usually behaves relatively calmly , however, recently astronomers detected a very bright flash produced by it (the brightness jumped about 75 times ,and then returned to its normal level). What is the reason , scientists do not yet know.
Here’s a timelapse of images over 2.5 hr from May from @keckobservatory of the supermassive black hole Sgr A*. The black hole is always variable, but this was the brightest we’ve seen in the infrared so far. It was probably even brighter before we started observing that night!
The supermassive black hole Sagittarius A * located in the center of the Milky Way is usually relatively calm, however, recently, in May, scientists, using the Kek Observatory in Hawaii, recorded unusual activity – the brightness in the near infrared increased significantly (approximately 75 times), and then returned to the previous level. What is the reason for such a strong increase in brightness? Now scientists do not have an exact answer.
Black holes themselves do not produce radiation that could be detected, but their environment emits because of the enormous friction generated by black holes by gravitational holes: this radiation is recorded by astronomers.
When the environment of a black hole greatly increases brightness, this may indicate that something came close enough to the hole and was captured by its gravity. What would this be in the case of the recently recorded outbreak of Sagittarius A * is not clear; at the same time, Sagittarius A * had the greatest brightness at the very beginning of observations, so it is possible that before that it was even brighter.
One of the possible explanations for such a strong jump in the brightness of the environment of Sagittarius A * is associated with object G2, which in 2014 approached a black hole 36 light-years away; it was supposed to be a gas cloud – but if that were so, the proximity to the black hole would have to break it and its parts would be absorbed by Sagittarius A *, but this did not happen. Perhaps the recorded outbreak is a kind of “belated reaction” of a black hole.
Do et al., ArXiv, 2019
Another explanation is related to the star S0−2 – located in a 16-year-old elliptical orbit around Sagittarius A *; last year, she made the closest approach to a black hole – at a distance of 17 light years. According to scientists, due to the close passage of S0−2 near Sagittarius A *, the way the gas enters the black hole could change; this may have led to more gas flowing and Sagittarius A * becoming more volatile.
Scientists hope to better understand what is still connected with a strong jump in the brightness of Sagittarius A *. The data from various telescopes that have observed the galactic center over the past few months can help with this.
After many years of effort, the international team of scientists managed to grow the laboratory culture of the archaea Lokiarchaea. Prior to this, micro-organisms have been known and , as far as possible , been studied only scraps of DNA , extracted from the bottom silt from the bottom of the Atlantic.
Lokiarchei are peculiar microbes from the Archaean group, resembling bacteria, but arranged much simpler. Many scientists believe that a couple of billion years ago they became the ancestors of eukaryotes – organisms with a cell nucleus. From them subsequently came all the diversity of life that we now see: from a person to a sponge.
Lokiarchei, more precisely, traces of their presence, were isolated from bottom sediments Loki castle – the zone known at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean, known as hydrothermal sources, between Greenland and Norway at a depth of 2300 meters. It was opened in 2005 and the uniqueness of its conditions prompted scientists to analyze the samples collected from the bottom in order to recreate the appearance of the microbes living on the basis of genetic material.
Among the genomes identified in this way, one stood out, combining the genes of prokaryotes, i.e.,nuclear-free unicellular organisms, and eukaryotes, which already have a cell nucleus. The discovery of his DNA was a significant event, however, it was necessary to make sure that such a microbe really exists, and is not a mistake made as a result of contamination with extraneous genetic material.
The proof of this could only be a full-fledged living culture of the microbe. But – getting it turned out to be very difficult. Not only that, our relic lives in very specific conditions – in very hot water and at high pressure. It also reproduces very slowly. Like all normal protozoa, this happens by dividing the cells in half, into two new ones, but the speed of this process is much lower than that of the more familiar microorganisms.
“This is one of the slowest-dividing microorganisms I know of,” says Thijs Ettema, an evolutionary microbiologist at the University of Wageningen in the Netherlands.
It took 5 years to wait for the slow growth of lociarchae in a special bioreactor that maintained high temperature and the methane content typical for Loki Castle. Another year was needed to propagate the barely manifested culture in test tubes.
Finally, after many years of work, the researchers created a stable laboratory culture containing only two types of archaea. One of them is the target lociarchaeus, the second produces the methane needed for it. Together, two microbes formed a symbiotic relationship (similar colonies of bacteria and archaea were observed earlier). Scientists called this culture the Lokiarchaeon Prometheoarchaeum syntrophicum.
Fig. 1. Sundyrsky gorynych (Gorynychus sundyrensis) caught the amphibian of the dvinosaurus (Dvinosaurus) . Drawing by Andrey Atuchin
The Sundyr locality, located on the shore of the Cheboksary reservoir on the border of Chuvashia and Mari El, has a unique “transitional” character: it contains the remains of animals buried during the global faunal restructuring that took place in the middle of the Permian period. Russian paleontologists, having studied the finds made at this location over the past couple of years, described two new carnivorous animals from the group of terocephals. These species are more advanced in an evolutionary sense than all those who have been found in Sundyr before.
In the Permian period, various animals were already roaming overland on land. Many of the Perm tetrapods (four-legged animals) have already been told by the “Elements” more than once (see, for example, the news of Gorynych and the night-night – new Permian predators from the banks of the Vyatka , “Elements”, 08/20/2018; Permian period park: found in Sardinia three types of synapsids , “Elements”, 11/14/2018 and pictures of the day Bilateral chalcosaurus , Erasaurus and Suminia and Sabretooth beast -dog ). Paleontologists distinguish three main faunistic tetrapod groups, which successively replaced each other during the Permian period, and name them according to the group that dominated the corresponding time interval.
In the first third of the Permian period, the pelicosaurus fauna flourished on land. Pelicosaurus were the most ancient and primitive synapsids , among them there were both herbivorous and predatory forms. Of these, the “sailing lizards” are the most famous: pelicosaurs and edaphosaurus (they are called “sailing” for their characteristic appearance: on their back they had a rather large crest of skin stretched over huge spinous processes of the vertebrae, Fig. 2).
Fig. 2. Large representatives of the Permian fauna. On the left is the Edaphosaurus edanosaurus boanerges , on the right is the Estemmenosuchus uralensis . These animals could reach 4 meters in length. Drawings from ru.wikipedia.org
In the second third of the Permian period, the pelicosaurus fauna was replaced by the dinocephalic fauna. The most noticeable and widespread tetrapods were descendants of pelicosaurs – dinofephals (among which there were also herbivorous and predatory animals). Dinocephals were distinguished by large sizes, greater adaptability to terrestrial life, and as a whole had a more complex organization. Their distinctive feature was the thick bones of the skull, according to which the animals got their name – “scary-headed”. Bright representatives were herbivorous dinotsefalov ulemosaurus and estemmenosuchidae , predatory – titanofon (Titanophoneus) .
The third and last fauna of the Permian period is the periodontium. The dominant position in it was occupied by the bestial-toothed reptiles of theiodont . According to the paleontologist M.F. Ivakhnenko , they came from the ancient synapsids and were a kind of alternative line in relation to dinocephals.
Almost all the locations of Permian fossils are confined to only one of these groups. But there are rare, even unique locations of a peculiar “transitional type” in which the remains of animals from different groups are found. One of them is located on the banks of the Cheboksary reservoir, on the border of Chuvashia and the Mari El Republic, near the village of Bolshoi Sundyr .
Here, on the high bank of the reservoir, red-colored rocks of 260 million years old are exposed (Fig. 3). The fauna found in them represents a transitional stage between the dinocephalic and theriodontic groups: dinocephalic and theriodonts were found here, the remains of amphibians also belong to more ancient and later taxa (V.K. Golubev et al., 2015. About age Sundyr faunistic complex of Perm tetrapods of the East European platform ).
Fig. 3. Excavations at the Sundyr site and a view of the Cheboksary reservoir. Photo by Olesya Strelnikova, 2018
Excavations at the Sundyr site began in 2010 and are still ongoing. During this time, employees of the Paleontological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences collected about seven hundred diagnosed tetrapod remnants there . Most of them belonged to amphibians, mainly to dvinosaurs (Dvinosaurus) , which account for 35% of all bones found.
Fig. 4. The bone remains from Sundyr are mostly small and look unrepresentative like this piece of bone. Photo by Julia Suchkova
16% of the remains found belong to predatory lizards: these are mainly teeth and cranial bones. Previously, these predators were defined as dinofephals close to giant titanophones (Fig. 5). Then, the bones of more advanced predatory gorgonopies, characteristic of the theriodont group, were found at the site. There was an assumption that both carnivorous dinocephals and carnivorous gorgonopies lived here at the same time, which corresponded to the transitional nature of the location.
Fig. 5. On the left – a predatory titanophone attacks the herbivorous tapinocephalus, illustrated by S. Krasovsky from an article by A. Nelikhov Blue Bones ( National Geographic Russia , No. 12 for 2012). On the right is the cub of another predator of those times – gorgonopia, illustration by A. Atuchin from the book Ancient Monsters of Russia
However, new finds from the past two years and re-examination of old finds have changed the picture. At first it became clear that there were no predatory dinocephals in the whereabouts. The remains, which were previously defined as titanophones, belonged to other, more advanced forms – terocephals . A further audit of the remains showed that there were no gorgonopies in Sundyr either. All diagnosed predator bones belonged to terocephals. But the herbivorous lizards and a number of amphibians actually belonged to the dinocephalic fauna, so that the “transitional” character of Sundyr did not go away.
Such taxonomic studies are unlikely to be entertaining to an outsider, although in reality we are talking about very serious reevaluations. Imagine that one archaeologist finds a bone and claims that it belongs to a modern person, another believes that it is an Australopithecus bone, and then it turns out that it is from a kangaroo.
According to new studies by Russian paleontologists, all the discovered remains of carnivorous dinosaurs from Sundyr belong to two previously unknown, very large terocephals. The predator, whose remains were found more frequently, was described as a new genus and species of the yognathus crudelis (Julognathus crudelis) , which can be translated as the “ruthless Volga jaw” (Yul – the ancient Mari name of the Volga). To date, 81 teeth and a fragment of skulls of ylognatus have been found (Fig. 6).
Fig. 6. Reconstruction of the skulls of Julognathus crudelis ( above ) and Gorynychus sundyrensis . Images from discussed articles in the Paleontological Journal
The animal was one of the largest predators of the Permian period. Judging by some fragments, the skull of the ylognatus reached a length of 43 centimeters, that is, it was two times longer than that of a wolf. The animal itself was apparently the size of a bear.
The second lizard belongs to the recently described genus Dragon ( Gorynychus ), but differ in the dental system and has been allocated to a new species – Dragon sundyrsky (Gorynychus sundyrensis) . His remains were less common: 33 bones were found that reliably belonged to him. It was similar in size to the ylognatus, but had a more massive and shortened skull (Fig. 6, bottom).
One cranial fragment of the mountain revealed a curious feature associated with the change of fangs. All animal hunters – both carnivorous and herbivorous – had regular tooth changes throughout their lives: old ones fell out, new ones grew. The shift models were different. The fang and the related African lycosuchids, the new fangs completely grew in advance, even before the old ones fell out, and for some time four upper fangs sat in the mouth at once. Then the old pair of fangs fell out, and next to the remaining, new interchangeable fangs began to grow. Among the jaw bones of lycosuchids, almost 40% of the findings are with double fangs. Now such a model of tooth changes has been found in European terocephals.
Gorynich’s teeth presented another discovery. They show a strong intravital attrition (on the teeth of the ylognatus it is not). The animals obviously used their teeth to work with very hard material (most likely they gnawed bones). Such eating behavior was unusual: the dental apparatus of most Perm predators was cutting, and not tearing. The predator plunged large fangs into the body of the victim and, as it were, cut a piece of meat, but he could not tear off a small piece, as dogs, for example, are doing now. Therefore, large predators hunted for prey comparable to their size. M.F. Ivakhnenko joked that the Permian beastmaker could eat a hippo, but could not cope with a hare.
In Permian sediments, bones with traces of bites are extremely rare. There are such bones in the Sundyr location, and this is the only one of more than two hundred locations in Eastern Europe where the bones were found. The find confirms the opinion that it was the terocephalus who developed the tearing type of dental apparatus, which gave them the opportunity, among other things, to gnaw bones and provided a serious evolutionary advantage.
Sources: 1) Yu. A. Suchkova, V.K. Golubev. New primitive terocephalus (Therocephalia, Theromorpha) from the Middle Perm of Eastern Europe // Paleontological journal . 2019. №3. DOI: 10.1134 / S0031031X19030176. 2) Yu.A. Suchkova, V.K. Golubev. New Permian terocephalus (Therocephalia, Theromorpha) from the Sundyr complex of Eastern Europe // Paleontological journal . 2019. №4. DOI: 10.1134 / S0031031X19040123.
In the Kuril Islands there was a short-term, but powerful eruption of the volcano, which was accompanied by a large discharge of ash to a height of 15 km. Almost no one noticed the eruption, except for a few crews of ships in the Pacific Ocean, but several spacecraft could see this event from space. The ash trail of the volcano is a convenient occasion to get acquainted with the available means of monitoring the Earth.
Many meteorological satellites created by the largest space agencies are looking at our planet. Many of the results of their shooting are open to general use, and anyone can look at our common house from different angles and from different heights.
The European satellite Sentinel-3 flies at an altitude of about 800 km and shoots with a resolution of about 300 meters. His frame allows you to imagine the scale of the event.
Similarly, only a little later, the American satellite Terra took off the Raikoke volcano . Its flight altitude is about 670 km, and the resolution of images is up to 250 meters.
Russia has a series of Meteor-M satellites, but the data from them is available only upon request, or you need to set up your own receiving station . There are still devices of the Resource and Canopus series, but they also need a request. Roscosmos open data geoportal does not seem to be updated, at least there weren’t a single snapshot from June 22nd.
Much higher around the Earth, other meteorological satellites revolve – geostationary. At an altitude of about 36 thousand km, a satellite flying in the equatorial plane makes one revolution around the planet in 24 hours, i.e. it is always above the same point on the surface of the earth. This opportunity is often used by telecommunication and broadcasting companies, but there are also weather satellites there. Being in various “points of standing” they survey the planet each on its own side and are shooting with high frequency. So the Japanese satellite Himawari-8 is located in the most convenient place for observing the eruptions in the Kuril Islands.
Thanks to shooting with a period of 10 min, it is possible to see the entire process of eruption in a day.
Himawari-8 image resolution is 500 meters.
Russia also has one meteorological satellite in geostationary orbit – Electro-L2. The data from it is in the public domain , but, unfortunately, the recent eruption did not fall into the area of the survey.
The most incredible thing is that this eruption turned out to be visible even from a distance of 1.5 million km from the Earth – it is four times farther than the moon. From this distance, the NASA camera on the DSCOVR satellite looks at our planet, its telescope always observes our planet from the illuminated side. The device is located between the Earth and the Sun in the so-called ” Lagrange point .”
Of course, these are far from all the satellites that capture the Earth. There are many spacecraft that observe with a much higher resolution of images, of their frames are Google and Yandex maps, they are used by military and civilian public services. But, as a rule, such satellites work according to a pre-written program, not for free, and remove only what they order, and events such as short-term volcanic eruptions do not fall into their program.
This eruption was also removed by the crew of the International Space Station.
Today we’ll talk about another Martian legend, which appeared 10 years after the famous “face”, but did not gain such fame. The “Glass Metro” was examined in images of the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft. At that time, this satellite had the most powerful camera and its research significantly enriched science with knowledge about the fourth planet. His own pictures gave rise to several new myths that did not allow Martian fans to sleep peacefully. Some frames revealed unusual landforms that seemed to some to be half-open (or buried) glass tunnels with transverse edges of the frame.
The logic of such assumptions is understandable: if life and civilization were not found on the surface, then it is necessary to look in the depths – there they hid. Until now, there have been periodic comments “We must drill deeper”, and even the “glass tunnels” were considered when the American Mars rovers were just starting their work.
Fortunately, we now know about Mars much more than 20 years ago. Now there are two rovers operating on the planet’s surface, which in total have traveled more than 50 kilometers, and the MRO satellite flies in orbit, which takes off the surface in a resolution inaccessible even for most near-Earth devices – up to 26 cm per pixel. Thanks to their research, one can already say with a considerable degree of certainty that on Mars there has never been a civilization, or even a complex organization of living organisms. Only microbes are still in doubt: whether they were, or were not.
Thanks to MRO, we can see the glass tunnels much better and closer than before.
And even closer
And very close.
As you can see, before us are not tunnels, but cracks, probably of volcanic origin, and the “frame” is just transverse sand dunes.
Thus, the “glass tunnels on Mars” is another wonderful demonstration of how the human imagination and desire for a miracle can cloud the brain, generating new myths of the 20th and 21st centuries.
50 years ago, for the first time, man stepped into lunar regolith. This was the result of the fantastic progress of science and technology, the space race, the political confrontation of two countries: the USA and the USSR. A man’s flight to the moon has become such an incredible event that today many people deny the very fact of such a flight. Fortunately, thanks to the Internet, we have access to a huge amount of materials and scientific data that make it possible to independently find out the details of this complex program.
Landing places for lunar modules, automatic interplanetary stations, lunar rovers taken by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter satellite: lroc.sese.asu.edu
Landing sites of Apollo 15 and Apollo 17 in the shooting of the Japanese spacecraft Kaguya, 3D reconstruction of landscapes taken by astronauts: kaguya.jaxa.jp
Of course, the Soviet and Chinese lunar rovers did not see the traces of Apollo, as they sat in other places, but they allow you to look at the Moon with “different eyes,” and compare it with American shots.
Archive of images of orbital panoramic and cartographic cameras that were installed on Apollo 15-16-17: wms.lroc.asu.edu (some of the links no longer work, but orbital images are available).
Images of stars and the Earth taken by the Apollo 16 ultraviolet telescope (Far Ultraviolet Camera / Spectroscope) from the moon’s surface (converted to modern image formats by amateurs from the NASA source files sent): archive.org/details/AS16-123
The list of all sources, of course, is not limited to the above. Studying all the materials makes it possible to understand the enormous amount of work performed by people who decided to get to the moon.
I would like to draw attention to the efforts to publish the entire volume of historical materials: NASA, educational institutions, and amateur enthusiasts participate in this work. We can only dream of this, because a huge amount of materials from Soviet research programs is gathering dust in archives, inaccessible to Internet users. For example, panoramas of Lunokhods are published, but tens of thousands of television shots are not. A collection of images of the Moon from the Soviet “Probe-8” can only be seen on the website of the US Geological Survey , and this is not the only example when American enthusiasts and public services popularize Soviet space achievements more readily than ours.
I use materials on Apollo and other programs in my work on my book on the Apollo program and the popular questions that many people have on the Internet. I think this collection of links will be interesting to many. If you know any other useful official or unofficial resources on the Lunar program – share in the comments.
A press conference convened in Tokyo on March 7 by the International Committee on Future Accelerators (ICFA) to clarify the situation around the ILC project.
The future of the International Linear Collider ILC, one of the main hopesto a new breakthrough in particle accelerator physics is still foggy. In technical terms, the collider project has long been ready, the technologies have been developed and demonstrated, and the question of starting construction has moved from the scientific and technical plane to the economic one. The main obstacle to the implementation of ILC for several years now remains the uncertain position of the Japanese government, caused by the high cost of the project. On the one hand, Japan understands the importance of ILC both for all particle physics and for the development of science and technology within the country. But the government is not ready to take on all the multibillion-dollar costs of building a collider without guaranteed significant financial contribution from Europe, the United States and other countries. The international community, in turn, strongly expresses its readiness to share difficulties and costs, if Japan starts to implement ILC. However, neither side has yet submitted an official document binding on actions and expenses. Despite years of intensive negotiations, there is still no clear statement from the Government of Japan about its readiness to take on the bulk of the costs.
In 2018, negotiations seemed to be on the home stretch, and the scientific community was awaiting a final decision by mid-December (see the review of the situation in the news on Elementary Particle Physics in 2018 ). However, no clear statement was made by Japan then, although it was once again emphasized that the Japanese government understands the importance of the project and continues to conduct intensive negotiations. It was expected that the decision will be announced on March 7-8, 2019, when the next, 83rd meeting of the International Committee on Future Accelerators ( ICFA ) will be held in Tokyo .
On March 7, as part of the ICFA meeting, a press conference was held on the current situation around the ILC. Initially, Jeffrey Taylor, chairman of the ICFA, made public the message that the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology ( MEXT ) transmitted to the ICFA just a day before. It can be reduced to two points: 1) Japan is interested in the implementation of ILC, but is currently not ready to give the green light for the construction of a collider in a selected location. 2) Japan begins formal negotiations with international partners (countries and laboratories) on the allocation of costs and consideration of alternative locations for the collider.
Then, for an hour, Jeffrey Taylor, as well as Tatsuya Nakada, Chairman of the Linear Collider Board Committee, and Masanori Yamauchi, head of KEK’s largest Japanese laboratory, answered questions from the press and clarified the positions of the parties. So, “not ready” does not mean yet “refuses”; Japan continues to consider all possibilities. Also, for the first time, a clarification “in a chosen place” was made, but this may mean both a preference to build an ILC in another place in Japan and a willingness to invest money only if another country takes over the construction.
It should be clarified that when the ILC construction site was discussed in the early 2010s, there were several proposals (including from Russia), and the Japanese was chosen as the most “safe” in technical, scientific and economic terms. Alternative proposals have not disappeared, they, in principle, can be reanimated. However, over the past time, the general situation in accelerating particle physics has changed. Literally in the last year or two , several projects have gained clear contours at once.electron-positron colliders, capable of working as a Higgs factory and getting about the same scientific results as ILC. Of course, ILC is still the most elaborate project, and if Japan undertakes its construction, ILC will enter service earlier than its competitors. In addition, unlike cyclic accelerators, a linear collider always has the opportunity to increase energy by lengthening the acceleration path. However, ILC has already lost its exclusivity status, and if the question of transferring ILC to another place is raised by the edge, the scientific community can already find a replacement for it. However, a reservation immediately followed that the ICFA would make every effort to implement ILC elsewhere.
As for the ongoing negotiations with international partners, there is also a nuance. So far, all visits and negotiations have been informal. Now Japan has opened the way to official negotiations with the United States, European countries and major international organizations. Details of the planned negotiations are not yet known. In addition, MEXT wants to make sure at the official level that there is complete consensus in the scientific community within Japan regarding the construction of ILC.
Overall, the ICFA and the international community took the message from MEXT with some disappointment. No specific new deadline has been appointed, although the ICFA chairman expressed the hope that Japan will finally be determined within a few months. Japan understands the changed situation in collider physics and the danger that if the decision is delayed for another couple of years, the chances of full support from international partners will decrease.
Further details regarding the press conference and the whole situation can be found, for example, in the LCNewsLine and Iwate & the ILC twitter accounts .
DxOMark experts have already reached the new Samsung and appreciated the capabilities of the cameras (both at once) of the top model – Galaxy Note 10+ 5G.
The main camera of the smartphone has four modules: 12 megapixel sensor (aperture from f / 1.5 to f / 2.4), 12 MP telephoto lens (f / 2.1), 16 MP wide-angle module (f / 2.2) with a viewing angle of up to 123 degrees and an additional ToF camera.
For the photo she was given 118 points. This is a point less than the Huawei P30 Pro, but a point more than the Galaxy S10 5G.
The camera received 101 points for the possibility of shooting video, and this is the highest rating.
As a result, the Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ has an average score of 113, and the smartphone becomes the new leader in the DxOMark rating, ahead of the Huawei P30 Pro and Galaxy S10 5G .
Experts rated the front-end at 99 points – and this is also the best result.
It turns out that both cameras in the smartphone are the best of all that is currently on the market.
Tomorrow, June 24 (of course, if the weather permits), Elon Musk SpaceX company will launch its third rocket Falcon Heavy. At this time it is quite extraordinary space mission.
As part of the Space Test Program-2 mission, the launch vehicle should launch 24 satellites, an atomic clock for deep space, and the ashes of 152 deceased people into space .
A special unit on the spaceship was rented by Celestis Memorial Spaceflights. She will place there a container with small capsules in which will be the ashes of the deceased. These are children, astronauts, scientists and people who dreamed about space.
Relatives and friends left touching engravings on their capsules : “ Reach for the stars! ” And ” In outer space – forever . ”
The weight of each capsule with ashes is from 1 to 7 grams. The ashes of the deceased will be scattered in space. The delivery cost of one such capsule is from 5 to 12.5 thousand dollars, depending on the weight and flight range.
The unusual flight will be launched from the cosmodrome in Florida.