On today’s date, September 18th, Leon Foucault was born. Well-noted for his demonstration of the Foucault Pendulum, which was conceived as a simple experiment to show the rotation of the Earth, Foucault also devised an early measurement of the speed of light, discovered eddy currents, and is credited with naming the gyroscope.

Happy 195th birthday, Monsieur Foucault!

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The Eta Carinae regions of the Carina Nebula

This panoramic view combines a new image of the field around the Wolf–Rayet star WR 22 in the Carina Nebula with an earlier picture of the region around the unique star Eta Carinae in the heart of the nebula. The picture was created from images taken with the Wide Field Imager on the MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope at ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile.

Credit: ESO/La Silla

From Natural Selection

"While these organised structures might look like the work of an artist, they’re actually just the remnants left behind where a sand bubbler crab’s been snacking. 

During low tide they exit their burrows (as seen in the top pic) to scour the sand for tiny bits of organic debris in a radial motion. While eating, the crabs ball the excess sand on their heads, then discard it when it gets too big for them to see over, leaving behind a remarkable-looking reminder which helps them keep from searching for food in the same sand twice.

Each time High Tide returns, the small structures crumble and are washed away, all while leaving behind more food particles to fuel the tiny crab’s next accidentally artistic pursuits.”

Source: http://tinyurl.com/7vpzwj8
Video of the Sand bubbler crab in action:http://vimeo.com/6449515

745. After graduating, a scientific muggleborn starts to research DNA using magic. They eventually discover the gene which differentiates those able to use magic from those who can’t, and, with the aid of magic, they create a program to alter the gene in Squibs to allow them to use magic. Eventually, this treatment becomes so sophisticated that everyone is able to use magic, including muggles.

Hubble Helps Astronomers Find Smallest Known Galaxy With Supermassive Black Hole

Astronomers using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope have found a monster lurking in a very unlikely place.

New observations of the ultracompact dwarf galaxy M60-UCD1 have revealed a supermassive black hole at its heart, making this tiny galaxy the smallest ever found to host a supermassive black hole.

This suggests that there may be many more supermassive black holes that we have missed, and tells us more about the formation of these incredibly dense galaxies. The results will be published in the journal Nature on 18 September 2014.

Lying about 50 million light-years away, M60-UCD1 is a tiny galaxy with a diameter of 300 light-years — just 1/500th of the diameter of the Milky Way. Despite its size it is pretty crowded, containing some 140 million stars. While this is characteristic of an ultracompact dwarf galaxy (UCD) like M60-UCD1, this particular UCD happens to be the densest ever seen.

Despite their huge numbers of stars, UCDs always seem to be heavier than they should be. Now, an international team of astronomers has made a new discovery that may explain why — at the heart of M60-UCD1 lurks a supermassive black hole with the mass of 20 million Suns.

"We’ve known for some time that many UCDs are a bit overweight. They just appear to be too heavy for the luminosity of their stars," says co-author Steffen Mieske of the European Southern Observatory in Chile. "We had already published a study that suggested this additional weight could come from the presence of supermassive black holes, but it was only a theory. Now, by studying the movement of the stars within M60-UCD1, we have detected the effects of such a black hole at its centre. This is a very exciting result and we want to know how many more UCDs may harbour such extremely massive objects."

The supermassive black hole at the centre of M60-UCD1 makes up a huge 15 percent of the galaxy’s total mass, and weighs five times that of the black hole at the centre of the Milky Way. “That is pretty amazing, given that the Milky Way is 500 times larger and more than 1000 times heavier than M60-UCD1,” explains Anil Seth of the University of Utah, USA, lead author of the international study. “In fact, even though the black hole at the centre of our Milky Way galaxy has the mass of 4 million Suns it is still less than 0.01 percent of the Milky Way’s total mass, which makes you realise how significant M60-UCD1’s black hole really is.”

Reflections in the Orion Nebula - M78

This image of the reflection nebula Messier 78 was captured using the Wide Field Imager camera on the MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope at the La Silla Observatory, Chile. This colour picture was created from many monochrome exposures taken through blue, yellow/green and red filters, supplemented by exposures through a filter that isolates light from glowing hydrogen gas.

Credit: ESO

This infrared image shows a kilometer-high volcanic vortex swirling over the Bardarbunga eruption. The bright red at the bottom is lava escaping the fissure, whereas the yellow and white regions show rising hot gases. Although the vortex looks similar to a tornado, it is actually more like a dust devil or a so-called fire tornado. All three of these vortices are driven by a heat source near the ground that generates buoyant updrafts of air. As the hot gases rise, cooler air flows in to replace them. Any small vorticity in that ambient air gets amplified as it’s drawn to the center, the same way an ice skater spins faster when she pulls her arms in. With the right conditions, a vortex can form. Unlike a harmless dust devil, though, this vortex is likely filled with sulphur dioxide and volcanic ash and would pose a serious hazard to aviation.  (Image credit: Nicarnica Aviation; source video; via io9)

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Celebrating Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument’s Golden Birthday! 

The vast and austere landscape of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument (GSENM) offers a spectacular array of scientific and historic resources. Encompassing 1.9 million acres, the Monument was created on September 18, 1996 by presidential proclamation – the first monument entrusted to BLM management. World-class dinosaur excavations have yielded more information about ecosystem change at the end of the dinosaur era than almost any other place in the world. Among the fossil finds, paleontologists have identified dinosaurs not previously known to have inhabited this region, as well as several new species.

The vast landscapes of GSENM offers visitors a variety of recreational opportunities for a wide range of users. From the solitude of lonesome canyons to the excitement of winding rugged backways, the Monument is truly a treasure.

Plan your visit and learn more: http://on.doi.gov/1fJIy7a

Photos by Bob Wick, BLM 

Diversity is not only about bringing different perspectives to the table. Simply adding social diversity to a group makes people believe that differences of perspective might exist among them and that belief makes people change their behavior. Members of a homogeneous group rest somewhat assured that they will agree with one another; that they will understand one another’s perspectives and beliefs; that they will be able to easily come to a consensus. But when members of a group notice that they are socially different from one another, they change their expectations. They anticipate differences of opinion and perspective. They assume they will need to work harder to come to a consensus. This logic helps to explain both the upside and the downside of social diversity: people work harder in diverse environments both cognitively and socially. They might not like it, but the hard work can lead to better outcomes.
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