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Posts Tagged ‘Million Years’

NASA discovered the oldest galaxy

An international team of astronomers appointed to do research on the space has found the oldest galaxy which seems to exist before 13.2 billion years ago. They discovered this galaxy with the help of Hubble Space Telescope. They marked the existed galaxy and enlarged it to obtain a clear view. Astronomers found that the galaxy […]

High-resolution images of dying giant star captured

An international team of astronomers has made the most high-resolution images of a dying giant star to date. 

Led by Keiichi Ohnaka at the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy (MPIfR) in Bonn, the astronomers, for the first time showed how the gas is moving in different areas over the surface of a distant star known as Betelgeuse. 

This was made possible by combining three 1.8 metre telescopes as an interferometer, giving the astronomers the resolving power of a virtual, gigantic 48-metre telescope. 

Using the ESO VLT Interferometer in Chile, they discovered that the gas in the dying star’s atmosphere is vigorously moving up and down, but the size of such “convection cell or bubble” is as large as the star itself. 

These colossal bubbles are a key for pushing material out of the star’s atmosphere into space, before the star explodes as a supernova. 

Betelgeuse is a so-called red supergiant and approaching the end of its short life of several million years. 

Red supergiants shed a large amount of material made of various molecules and dust, which are recycled for the next generation of stars and planets possibly like the Earth. 

Betelgeuse is losing material equivalent to the Earth’s mass every year. 

“Our AMBER observations mark the sharpest images ever made of Betelgeuse”, said Keiichi Ohnaka at the MPIfR. 

“And for the first time, we have spatially resolved the gas motion in the atmosphere of a star other than the Sun. Thus, we could observe how the gas is moving in different areas over the star’s surface,” he added. 

The AMBER observations have revealed that the gas in Betelgeuse’s atmosphere is moving vigorously up and down. 

The size of these “bubbles” is also gigantic, as large as the supergiant star itself. 

While the origin of these bubbles is not yet entirely clear, the AMBER observations have shed new light on the question about how red supergiant stars lose mass: such colossal bubbles can expel the material from the surface of the star into space. 

It also means that the material is not spilling out in a quiet, ordered fashion, but is flung out more violently in arcs or clumps. 

The death of the gigantic star, which is expected in the next few thousand to hundred thousand years, will be accompanied by cosmic fireworks known as a supernova like the famous SN1987A.

Our technology… a million years from now

Christopher Locke opened his Modern Fossils Shop with many more peculiar specimens. 

The modern Fossils are made from actual archaic technology that was once cutting–edge. Most of these examples were discovered in the United States, although the various species are represented all over the world. 

In a special process, these items are reproduced in a proprietary blend of concrete and other secret ingredients, giving them the look and feel of real stone fossils. 

It is sad, but most of these units lived very short lives. Most people attribute the shortened lifespan to aggressive predators or accelerated evolution, but this is not necessarily true 

Each fossil is made one at a time, by hand, in an individual mold. Because of the hand-made nature of the item, there will be variations in pigmentation, and small imperfections in the surface. While you can choose a general color range, please keep in mind that each fossil is unique, and color variations are inevitable.”

Carbon Dioxide Drop And Global Cooling Caused Antarctic Glacier To Form

Projection of the what the first Antarctic ice sheet might have looked like as the global climate cooled about 33.5 million years ago. Antarctica is in gray, with the ice sheet shown in meters of ice thickness. The ice sheet is continental in scale, but somewhat smaller than today. The estimate is based on prior modeling work of DeConto and Pollard and is supported by this new data study. (Credit: DeConto & Pollard / Nature)

From Science Daily:

ScienceDaily (Feb. 27, 2009) — Global climate rapidly shifted from a relatively ice-free world to one with massive ice sheets on Antarctica about 34 million years ago. What happened? What changed? A team of scientists led by Yale geologists offers a new perspective on the nature of changing climatic conditions across this greenhouse-to-icehouse transition — one that refutes earlier theories and has important implications for predicting future climate changes.

Detailed in the February 27 issue of Science, their data disproves a long-held idea that massive ice growth in the Antarctic was accompanied by little to no global temperature change.


Ice Ages and Sea Level

Figure 1: Orbital Parameters: Eccentricity, Precession and Obliquity- click for larger image
(Image from Watts Up With That)

From Watts Up With That?

The Earth is currently in an interglacial period of an ice age that started about two and a half million years ago. The Earth’s current ice age is primarily caused by Antarctica drifting over the South Pole 30 million years ago. This meant that a large area of the Earth’s surface changed from being very low-albedo ocean to highly reflective ice and snow. The first small glaciers were formed in Antarctica perhaps as long ago as 40 million years. They expanded gradually until, about 20 million years ago, a permanent ice sheet covered the whole Antarctic continent. About 10 million years later, glaciers appeared on the high mountains of Alaska, and about 3 million years ago, ice sheets developed on lower ground in high northerly latitudes.


Single-celled Algae Took The Leap To Multicellularity 200 Million Years Ago

Pleodorina starrii has an incomplete division of labor. Although the 12 small cells near the top of this colony only swim, the 20 larger cells both swim and reproduce. (Credit: Copyright 2008 Matthew Herron)

From Science Daily:

ScienceDaily (Feb. 22, 2009) — Some algae have been hanging together rather than going it alone much longer than previously thought, according to new research.

Ancestors of Volvox algae made the transition from being a single-celled organism to becoming a multicellular colony at least 200 million years ago, during the Triassic Period.

At that time, Earth was a hot-house world whose inhabitants included tree ferns, dinosaurs and early mammals. Previous estimates had suggested Volvox’s ancestors arose only 50 million years ago.

Read more..

Oldest Fossil Evidence for Animals Found

From Live Science:

The oldest fossilized evidence of animals has been unearthed in Oman and reveals that tiny sea sponges were abundant 635 million years ago, long before most of the planet’s other major animal groups evolved, according to a new analysis.

This early life hardly looked like us, but some of the so-called demosponges can be sizable today. Demosponges still make up 90 percent of all sponges on Earth and 100 percent of Earth’s largest sponges, including barrel sponges, which can be larger than an old-style phone booth.

The ancient demosponges — probably measuring across no more than the width of a fork tine — were pinned down via fossilized steroids, called steranes, which are characteristic of the cell membranes of the sponges, rather than via direct fossils of the sponges themselves.


Top 5 Incredible Science Discoveries of 2008

Science is mostly an incremental process, a slow peeling of the onion to offer small glimpses of understanding. But over time, scientists remove enough layers to expose stunning truths about nature. 

This year offered some intriguing revelations along these lines. Below are the top 5.

5. Stronger link between birds and dinosaurs 

Paleontologists have long known that modern birds are the closest living relatives of the long-gone dinosaurs. But just how the transition between dino and Big Bird happened has not been fully understood. 

This year, scientists uncovered more fascinating new links between ancient dinosaurs and their living feathered friends, which emerged some 150 million years ago during the Jurassic Period. 

In November, scientists announced the discovery of a fossilized dinosaur nest that proves dinosaurs were forming bird-like nests and laying eggs long before birds evolved. 

Another link was established in October, when paleontologists announced the discovery of a fossilized dinosaur that apparently sported tail feathers thought to have helped the creature balance on tree branches.Though the creature couldn’t fly, it may represent a step in the direction of feathers for flight. 

And a third analysis of fossils revealed that a huge carnivorous dinosaur called Aerosteon had a breathing system much like that of today’s birds, with hollow bones that filled with air and possible air sacs that would have pumped air through its lungs. 

4. Memory’s limit found 

Common knowledge — and phone number conventions — have held that people can fit about seven things in short-term memory. But research announced this April found that the true fundamental limit, when all memory aids are taken out of the equation, is actually about three or four. 

Psychologists presented subjects with an array of colored squares, then showed a single colored square and asked people to recall if it was the same color as the original square in its position. The scientists used a mathematical model that assumed people could only remember three or four squares, and found that it accurately predicted the spread of results on the test. 

The research doesn’t mean we should reduce phone numbers to four digits, though. In most real-life situations, we can use memory tricks, such as grouping items together (i.e. breaking phone numbers into a chunk of three digits plus a group of four) to improve on our brain’s minimal capacity. 

3. Huge new population of gorillas discovered 

The critically endangered western lowland gorilla has been nearing extinction due to disease, hunting and deforestation. Until recently, scientists had put the number living in the wild at about 50,000. 

But this August, the Wildlife Conservation Society announced its scientists had uncovered a previously unknown population of about 125,000 gorillas living in the Republic of Congo. The discovery was a welcome bit of good news for the beleaguered apes, and conservationists say it means their efforts have been working. 

But gorillas aren’t out of the woods yet. They still face imminent threats, especially from the deadly Ebola virus, which has decimated many gorilla populations. 

2. Electron filmed for the first time 

In a motion-picture first, scientists caught the movement of a single electron on film. 

The discovery, announced in February, was made possible with a new technology that generates extremely short pulses of intense laser light to illuminate the particle. The resulting movie shows an electron leaving an atom after being excited by ultraviolet light. Since this actually happened in much less time than a second, the sequence was slowed down for human eyes to last a full three seconds. 

The groundbreaking achievement should open up doors for new study into the workings of atoms, not to mention a new genre of film: subatomic cinema. 

1. The Arctic melts 

A piece of the year’s most sobering news is also some of its most significant. In September, Arctic sea ice reached the second-lowest level recorded since the beginning of the satellite era, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center at the University of Colorado. When stacked next to 2007’s ultimate record low, the picture is grim: Global warming’s effects are before us. 

The news also spelled disaster for polar bears, whose primary habitat is sea ice. In May the Interior Department officially listed the polar bear as a threatened species. Officials said the decline of Arctic sea ice off Alaska and Canada could result in two-thirds of polar bears disappearing by 2050.

Dino Extinction May Have Been Caused By ‘Magnetic Chaos’

From Zeenews.com:

Washington, Dec 13: A new theory has suggested that the mass extinction event that killed the dinosaurs 250 million years ago, was caused by the Earth’s magnetic field going into complete disarray, exposing the planet to a shower of cosmic radiation.

According to a report in Discovery News, the theory has been put forward by Yukio Isozaki of the University of Tokyo.

The Permian-Triassic mass extinction event happened 250 million years ago, snuffing out 90 percent of life on the planet.

Now, the new theory by Isozaki suggests that the catastrophe was set in motion 15 million years earlier, deep in the Earth.


Tiny Clues To Collision In Space

From BBC:

Evidence that a massive meteorite shower had an impact on Earth on a global scale 470 million years ago have been found on a Highlands beach.

Researchers from the University of Aberdeen uncovered tiny remnants of meteorites, smaller than a grain of sand, within rocks in Sutherland.

The find is linked to others made in China, the US and Australia.

The scientists think the meteorites – a result of a collision in space – triggered earthquakes and tsunami.

The university said the find near Durness confirmed previous scientific speculation that the meteorite shower – which followed a “catastrophic event” in an asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter – was so vast in size that it affected locations across the globe.