The Swirling Core of the Crab Nebula : At the core of the Crab Nebula lies a city-sized, magnetized neutron star spinning 30 times a second. Known as the Crab Pulsar, its actually the rightmost of two bright stars, just below a central swirl in this stunning Hubble snapshot of the nebulas core. Some three light-years across, the spectacular picture frames the glowing gas, cavities and swirling filaments bathed in an eerie blue light. The blue glow is visible radiation given off by electrons spiraling in a strong magnetic field at nearly the speed of light. Like a cosmic dynamo the pulsar powers the emission from the nebula, driving a shock wave through surrounding material and accelerating the spiraling electrons. With more mass than the Sun and the density of an atomic nucleus, the spinning pulsar is the collapsed core of a massive star that exploded. The Crab Nebula is the expanding remnant of the stars outer layers. The supernova explosion was witnessed on planet Earth in the year 1054. via NASA

The Extreme World of Deep Sea Cephalopods

Although it is the home of approximately 98% of the ocean’s species, the deep sea is a frontier yet to be explored by natural scientists. Of the estimated 500.000 to 10 million species living on or above the seafloor, new species are discovered and described by marine biologists every year. Being one of the biggest and most extreme environments on Earth, the deep sea’s biodiversity is enormous in both species of prey and predators. From demonic red octopi to gigantic squid wrestling with sperm whales, the most interesting group of marine predators would be the deep sea’s cephalopods.

The biggest problem living as a squid at 5000 meters depth is the pitch black environment you have to hunt in. A great variety of cephalopods have adapted to their surroundings in the most extreme ways. One of the easiest feeding strategies is what we call “passive hunting”, and one of the more scary-looking squid known to science – the genus Magnapinna – uses this technique in the most bizarre way. Known commonly as Bigfin squid, or Long-armed squid, this group is known for its irregular big fin-size and extremely long arms. Although previously only known from caught juveniles, in 2007 an eerie video was made by a research facility in the Gulf of Mexico. What they saw was a 8 meters-long adult squid, floating around in the abyss.

Magnapinna sp.

Another more obvious feeding strategy is active hunting: squid are known to chase and ambush their prey using their intelligence and extremely complicated eyes. While we know that the eyes of squid are highly adapted and look similar to those of a mammal, there’s one species that takes it a step further. The so-called strawberry squid (Histioteuthis heteropsis) gets its name from the strawberry-like appearance of its skin. The light-producing speckles, or photophores, are supposed to confuse predators. What’s more interesting however, is the fact that it has one “normal” eye and one big green eye. It is believed that the smaller eye detects bioluminescence generated from potential prey, while the other eye watches the sky and filters faint light from above.

Histioteuthis heteropsis

While the strawberry squid tries to confuse its own predators, sometimes the best defense is simply being bigger than the predator. Some squid have evolved to be gigantic, take for example the Humboldt squid (Dosidicus gigas) from the gulf of Mexico. The human sized squid are known to be hostile towards divers and even hunt in packs – sometimes referred to as “a squad of squid”. An even bigger squid can be found in the deep: the Giant and Colossal squid (genus Architeuthis and Mesonychoteuthis) are known to reach sizes over 10 meters. There is only one animal capable of fighting a gigantic squid: the 16-meter long Sperm whale. Although never observed by biologists, evidence of squid-whale battles can be found on stranded whales. Circular marks, believed to be caused by the suckers of the squid, cover the hide of several found Sperm whales.

Lastly, there’s one group of cephalopods often overlooked by the general public. Having the creepiest name from the deep sea, the Vampire squid is one of the most interesting organisms on Earth. Its Latin name Vampyroteuthis infernalis literally means “vampiric squid from hell”, but its name is scarier than the animal itself. The Vampire squid feeds on the so-called deep sea snow: flakes of waste material that slowly falls to the ocean floor. It uses a long thread-like appendage to collect the snow and brings it to its mouth.

Thought to be the common ancestor of both squid and octopi, the bright red molluscs share a lot of characters with the other cephalopods. There are however some differences. When threatened, Vampire squids cannot simply swim away. Instead, they use an unique arsenal of defensive strategies. The filaments between their tentacles can be used to protect their soft bodies, exposing spiny structures on the inside of the tentacles. In addition, Vampire squid have no ink-sacs like other lineages, but can emit fluorescent fluids to scare predators away.

Vampyroteuthis infernalis

There’s a lot we still don’t know about the deep sea and its inhabitants, but every day new species are being discovered by marine biologists. We don’t have to look for other planets to find aliens, the weirdest organisms can be found below the waves, waiting for us.

Hi I’m Werner, master student and invertebrate enthusiast. Most information was found through the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute: if you’re interested in deep sea stuff like me, check out their site.

Lads here I know this is completely unrelated to the blog but this is a plea because I’ve noticed a lot of people asking about it in work.

PLEASE DON’T USE THOSE BLACK CHARCOAL FACE MASKS. The peely-off ones all over Facebook. Please.

Charcoal is not bad for your face (unless you’re sensitive maybe). The problem comes about when you have charcoal and peel-off in the same room, especially when the ingredients to make the peel off mask aren’t clearly stated (or a bit cryptic). From what I’m seeing there are even DIY black charcoal masks which include glue as an ingredient. nO
The masks are unreasonably harsh on the skin, and while your skin might feel great and smooth for a while after using them, it’s seriously damaging your skin’s natural moisture barrier and it’s probably pulling out a lot of the very fine hair on your face. That’s not a good thing. 

While the results and after photos of the peeled mask look impressive, most of what comes off on those “miracle masks” aren’t blackheads, but sebaceous filaments which are completely natural and healthy. You don’t need to pull them out. Everyone has them. There’s nothing wrong with them. They’re actually responsible for controlling the release of oil onto your skin. 

We’ve had people as young as 13 coming in to work asking if we make them. I’ve seen videos of adults crying trying to take them off, imagine how much they’re going to affect considerably younger, possibly sensitive skin?

Please, this isn’t even a plug for my work like honestly I’d rather if you got a fist of muck from the garden and put it on your face than use the black masks.

Simeis 147: Supernova Remnant : Its easy to get lost following the intricate strands of the Spaghetti Nebula. A supernova remnant cataloged as Simeis 147 and Sh2-240, the glowing gas filaments cover nearly 3 degrees 6 full moons on the sky. Thats about 150 light-years at the stellar debris clouds estimated distance of 3,000 light-years. This sharp composite includes image data taken through a narrow-band filter to highlight emission from hydrogen atoms tracing the shocked, glowing gas. The supernova remnant has an estimated age of about 40,000 years, meaning light from the massive stellar explosion first reached Earth about 40,000 years ago. But the expanding remnant is not the only aftermath. The cosmic catastrophe also left behind a spinning neutron star or pulsar, all that remains of the original stars core. via NASA

Skin Care Don’ts 🙅
  • Please don’t put lemon (or any citrus fruit) juice on your face! 🍋Lemon juice increases photosensitivity and can lead to chemical burns. There are safer alternatives, such as regulated AHAs for exfoliation or vitamin c serums for brightening.
  • BAKING SODA IS BAD FOR THE SKIN. I’m sorry, but it’s a fact. Your skin is acidic at a pH level of about 4.5. Baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, is very alkaline at a pH of 9. Throwing off your skin pH like that is not good for you. Toothpaste has the same problem; plus toothpaste has a bunch of skin irritants in it’s formula.
  • Don’t use nose pore strips. They’re a huge gimmick. Those black dots on your nose are sebaceous filaments, not blackheads. Look it up. They’re natural and can be minimized through proper cleansing and BHAs. Pore strips can make your pores LARGER and also cause broken capillaries. I’d personally like to tell Biore to fuck off with their shame-based marketing.
  • Avoid hot showers/baths. 🛀  I know, it feels great! Unfortunately, the hot water strips your skin of its natural oils, leaving your skin dry and unhealthy. Also, if you feel lightheaded after a hot shower/bath, that means you’re dropping your blood pressure with the heat. Again, not good for you.
  • If a product burns your skin, DON’T USE IT. The burning does not mean it’s “working”. You can have a tingling effect from exfoliating products, but they should never burn.
  • Don’t over-exfoliate. I want to cry when people say they use scrubs every day! You should exfoliate physically 1-3x a week, depending on your skin. You can chemically exfoliate more frequently, but you still need to be careful. Raw, red, and flaky skin is not cute. 😡
  • Don’t use a bunch of new products at once. Patch test; it’s always worth it. It sucks when you wake up in the morning with a bunch of zits and irritation and you don’t know which one of the 5 new products you tried was the culprit.
  • STOP TANNING! ☀️️ Sun exposure is THE worst thing for your skin. Sun exposure accelerates aging and puts you at risk for skin cancer. Avoid excessive sunlight and wear sunscreen every day. 
  • Be wary of essential oils. Sensitive skin can be easily irritated by these seemingly natural ingredients. Natural is not always full-proof.
  • Don’t be aggressive towards your acne! BHAs and tea tree oil are great PREVENTATIVE ingredients. Once you have active acne, time (and AHAs) are the only thing that will make it go away. You can’t scrub it off, sorry.
  • Don’t pay a premium on anti-aging skin care.💰 Anti-aging is all in prevention. Stay hydrated, limit stress, don’t drink (to excess) or smoke, and use sunscreen. No cream will undo years of damage, even if it costs hundreds of dollars.

Originally posted by teachingfeelslike

Black Sun and Inverted Starfield 

Does this strange dark ball look somehow familiar? If so, that might be because it is our Sun. In the featured image from 2012, a detailed solar view was captured originally in a very specific color of red light, then rendered in black and white, and then color inverted. Once complete, the resulting image was added to a starfield, then also color inverted. Visible in the image of the Sun are long light filaments, dark active regions, prominences peeking around the edge, and a moving carpet of hot gas. The surface of our Sun can be a busy place, in particular during Solar Maximum, the time when its surface magnetic field is wound up the most. Besides an active Sun being so picturesque, the plasma expelled can also become picturesque when it impacts the Earth’s magnetosphere and creates auroras.

Credit: Jim Lafferty

A Supernova through Galaxy Dust : Telescopes around the world are tracking a bright supernova that occurred in a nearby dusty galaxy. The powerful stellar explosion was first noted earlier this month. The nearby galaxy is the photogenic Centaurus A, visible with binoculars and known for impressive filaments of light-absorbing dust that cross its center. Cen A is featured here in a high-resolution archival Hubble Space Telescope image, with an inset image featuring the supernova taken from the ground only two days after discovery. Designated SN2016adj, the supernova is highlighted with crosshairs in the inset, appearing just to the left of a bright foreground star in our Milky Way Galaxy. This supernova is currently thought to be of Type IIb, a stellar-core-collapse supernova, and is of high interest because it occurred so nearby and because it is being seen through a known dust filament. Current and future observations of this supernova may give us new clues about the fates of massive stars and how some elements found on our Earth were formed. via NASA

First 'image' of a dark matter web that connects galaxies

Researchers at the University of Waterloo have been able to capture the first composite image of a dark matter bridge that connects galaxies together. The scientists publish their work in a new paper in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

The composite image, which combines a number of individual images, confirms predictions that galaxies across the universe are tied together through a cosmic web connected by dark matter that has until now remained unobservable.

Keep reading

M1: The Crab Nebula: The Crab Nebula is cataloged as M1, the first object on Charles Messiers famous 18th century list of things which are not comets. In fact, the Crab is now known to be a supernova remnant, debris from the death explosion of a massive star, witnessed by astronomers in the year 1054. This sharp, ground-based telescopic view uses narrowband data to track emission from ionized oxygen and hydrogen atoms and explore the tangled filaments within the still expanding cloud. One of the most exotic objects known to modern astronomers, the Crab Pulsar, a neutron star spinning 30 times a second, is visible as a bright spot near the nebulas center. Like a cosmic dynamo, this collapsed remnant of the stellar core powers the Crabs emission across the electromagnetic spectrum. Spanning about 12 light-years, the Crab Nebula is a mere 6,500 light-years away in the constellation Taurus. via NASA

Deadly spider's unique spinning technique could inspire tougher materials

Brown recluse spiders use a unique micro looping technique to make their threads stronger than that of any other spider, a newly published UK-US collaboration has discovered.

One of the most feared and venomous arachnids in the world, the American brown recluse spider has long been known for its signature necro-toxic venom, as well as its unusual silk. Now, new research offers an explanation for how the spider is able to make its silk uncommonly strong.

Researchers suggest that if applied to synthetic materials, the technique could inspire scientific developments and improve impact absorbing structures used in space travel.

Keep reading

Deep Magellanic Clouds Image Indicates Collisions : Did the two most famous satellite galaxies of our Milky Way Galaxy once collide? No one knows for sure, but a detailed inspection of deep images like that featured here give an indication that they have. Pictured, the Large Magellanic Cloud is on the bottom right. The surrounding field is monochrome color-inverted to highlight faint filaments, shown in gray. Perhaps surprisingly, the featured research-grade image was compiled with small telescopes to cover the large angular field nearly 40 degrees across. Much of the faint nebulosity is Galactic Cirrus clouds of thin dust in our own Galaxy, but a faint stream of stars does appear to be extending from the SMC toward the LMC. Also, stars surrounding the LMC appear asymmetrically distributed, indicating in simulations that they could well have been pulled off gravitationally in one or more collisions. Both the LMC and the SMC are visible to the unaided eye in southern skies. Future telescopic observations and computer simulations are sure to continue in a continuing effort to better understand the history of our Milky Way and its surroundings. via NASA