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Accessed on 11 October 2020, 1419 UTC.



Astronomers Detect Vaporized Metals in Atmosphere of Hot Jupiter

The top of WASP-121b’s atmosphere is heated to a blazing 4,600 degrees Fahrenheit. Image credit: NASA / ESA / G. Bacon, STSci.Astronomers using the HARPS (High Accuracy Radial velocity Planet Searcher) spectrograph at ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile have detected gaseous magnesium (Mg), sodium (Na), calcium (Ca), chromium (Cr), iron (Fe), nickel (Ni) and vanadium (V) in the atmosphere of WASP-121b, a hot-Jupiter exoplanet approximately 881 light-years away in the constellation of Puppis. The top of WASP-121b’s atmosphere…


New Studies Detail Complex History of Near-Earth Asteroid Bennu

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft at asteroid Bennu. Image credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.NASA’s OSIRIS-REx (Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security, Regolith Explorer) mission to the near-Earth asteroid Bennu is designed to return a carbon-rich sample of the asteroid to Earth. This 500-m-diameter body was chosen as the mission target due to its spectral similarity to primitive and organic-rich carbonaceous chondrite meteorites. In a series of six papers…


Archaeologists Unearth 6,500-Year-Old Copper-Smelting Workshop in Israel

Copper slag from Horvat Beter, Beer Sheva, southern Israel. Image credit: Anat Rasiuk, Israel Antiquities Authority.Archaeologists from Tel Aviv University, the Israel Antiquities Authority and the Geological Survey of Israel have excavated a Chalcolithic-period (5th millennium BCE) copper-smelting workshop at the site of Horvat Beter in Beer Sheva, southern Israel. Copper slag from Horvat Beter, Beer Sheva, southern Israel. Image credit: Anat Rasiuk, Israel Antiquities Authority. “The excavation revealed evidence…


Fossils of 6.4-Million-Year-Old Monkey Found in China

Life reconstruction of Mesopithecus pentelicus. Image credit: Mauricio Antón.Paleontologists have found the remains of Mesopithecus pentelicus — an extinct species of Old World monkey that lived in Europe and Asia between 7 and 5 million years ago — in the Shuitangba lignite mine in northeastern Yunnan Province, China. The discovery indicates that this monkey species existed in Asia at the same time as apes, and is probably the ancestor of some of the modern monkeys…


Black Imported Fire Ants Adapt Tool Use to Avoid Drowning

When faced with the risk of drowning, black imported fire ants (Solenopsis richteri) used sand to siphon liquid food out of containers. Image credit: Zhou et al.Black imported fire ants (Solenopsis richteri) have the remarkable ability to adapt its tool use: when provided with small containers of sugar water, they were able to float and feed on the surface, but when researchers reduced the surface tension, the ants started depositing sand grains on the inside of the container leading out of it. When faced with the risk of drowning, black imported fire ants…


New Research Sheds Light on Neutrino-Nucleus Interactions

An artist’s impression of a blazar. Image credit: DESY / Science Communication Lab.A team of physicists from the United States and Italy has developed an accurate model to explain how neutrinos interact with atomic nuclei, complicated systems made of protons and neutrons (nucleons) bound together by the strong force. This knowledge is essential to unravel an even bigger mystery — why during their journey through space or matter neutrinos magically morph from one into another…


Scientists Confirm Long-Suspected Link between Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Alzheimer’s Disease

MPS is a novel neuroprotective molecule that is more than two orders of magnitude more potent than the related molecule, ethosuximide. The discovery may enable novel treatments for human neurodegenerative diseases to be developed in the future. Image credit: National Institute on Aging / National Institutes of Health.While the cause of Alzheimer’s disease remains a mystery, amyloid plaques that are toxic to brain cells are known indicators of the disease. A team of researchers from Australia and Iceland has found that these plaques start in the same place and spread in the same way in the brains of people with obstructive sleep apnea, as in those with Alzheimer’s. Owen et al. confirm links between obstructive…


Researchers Sequence Y Chromosomes of Bonobos and Orangutans

Cechova et al. reconstructed the ancestral sequence of the great ape Y chromosome by comparing three existing (gorilla, human, and chimpanzee) and two newly-generated (orangutan and bonobo) Y chromosome assemblies. Image credit: Dani Zemba and Monika Cechova, Penn State University.The male-specific Y chromosome plays a critical role in sex determination and male fertility. However, because of its repetitive nature, it is frequently absent from genome assemblies and remains enigmatic. In new research, a team of scientists at Penn State University has sequenced and assembled the Y chromosome of the bonobo (Pan paniscus) and the Sumatran orangutan (Pongo abelii). They’ve also…


Study Sheds New Light on Growth of Mysterious Stone Forests

Stone forest in Yunnan province, China. Image credit: Zhang Yuan.A new study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, reveals a mechanism that may contribute to the formation of sharply pointed rock spires in striking landforms called stone forests. Stone forest in Yunnan province, China. Image credit: Zhang Yuan. Stone forests are pointed rock formations resembling trees that populate regions of China, Madagascar, and many other locations…


Neanderthals’ Deep and Short Ribcage was Already Present at Birth

Reconstruction of a Neanderthal. Image credit: Neanderthal Museum.An international team of researchers has virtually reconstructed the ribcages of four Neanderthal individuals from birth to around 3 years old and found that most of the skeletal differences between the Neanderthal and modern human ribcage are already largely established at birth, the Neanderthal ribcage being deeper and shorter than that of modern humans. Reconstruction of a Neanderthal. Image credit:…

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