Month: August 2020

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Galaxies are already pretty huge, billions to trillions of stars whirling around a supermassive black hole. But that’s not where their influence ends. A large, spherical halo of gas surrounds a galaxy, reaching vastly farther than the main population of stars, a bit like a galactic atmosphere. Hubble observations of our nearest galactic neighbour, Andromeda,
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Keeping qubits stable – those quantum equivalents of classic computing bits – will be key to realising the potential of quantum computing. Now scientists have found a new obstacle to this stability: natural radiation. Natural or background radiation comes from all sorts of sources, both natural and artificial. Cosmic rays contribute to natural radiation, for
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Animals have been hibernating for a long, long time, a new study shows. Researchers have analysed 250 million-year-old fossils and found evidence that the pig-sized mammal relation, a genus called Lystrosaurus, hibernated much like bears and bats do today. Finding signs of shifts in metabolism rates in fossils is just about impossible under normal conditions – but
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SpaceX is aiming to launch three rockets on Sunday, including two back-to-back Falcon 9 launches in Florida and a Starship test flight in Texas, if weather permits. The aerospace company said it intends to launch its twelfth Starlink mission at 10:12 am EST from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, sending 60 Starlinks into orbit. The second
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For as long as there has been a Universe, space has been expanding. It winked into existence roughly 13.8 billion years ago, and has been puffing up ever since, like a giant cosmic balloon. The current rate of this expansion is called the Hubble constant, or H0, and it’s one of the fundamental measurements of
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Songbirds in tropical rainforests curtail their reproduction to help them survive droughts, according to a study Monday. Species with longer lifespans were better able to cope with this environmental volatility than previously thought, researchers found. With more record hot spells gripping parts of the planet and biodiversity threatened by human encroachment on habitats, a crucial
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Wormholes are a popular feature in science fiction, the means through which spacecraft can achieve faster-than-light (FTL) travel and instantaneously move from one point in spacetime to another. And while the General Theory of Relativity forbids the existence of “traversable wormholes”, recent research has shown that they are actually possible within the domain of quantum
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Plants have a seemingly effortless skill – turning sunlight into energy – and scientists have been working to artificially emulate this photosynthesis process. The ultimate benefits for renewable energy could be huge – and a new approach based on ‘photosheets’ could be the most promising attempt we’ve seen so far. The new device takes CO2, water, and sunlight
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Where do dreams come from? It’s an age-old question, something people have been wondering and theorising about for millennia. Whereas ancient civilisations may have interpreted dreams as having supernatural or spiritual origins, in modern society, we’re more likely to analyse our dreams in terms of our waking life, looking for meaningful connections linking the content
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Scientists from Leeds and Edinburgh universities and University College London analysed satellite surveys of glaciers, mountains, and ice sheets between 1994 and 2017 to identify the impact of global warming. Their review paper was published in the journal Cryosphere Discussions. Describing the ice loss as “staggering,” the group found that melting glaciers and ice sheets could cause