First Discovery of an Earth-Sized Planet in the Habitable Zone

Main Points:

For the first time, an Earth-sized planet has been found in the habitable zone of its star.  This discovery not only proves the existence of worlds that might be similar to our own, but will undoubtedly shape future investigations of exoplanets that could have terrestrial surface environments.

Study Further:

The new-found body, orbiting the red dwarf star Kepler-186 and designated Kepler-186f, is the fifth — and outermost — world to be discovered in this system.  The results are described in an article appearing in Science.

“This is the first definitive Earth-sized planet found in the habitable zone around another star,” says lead author Elisa Quintana of the SETI Institute at NASA Ames Research Center.  “Finding such planets is a primary goal of the Kepler space telescope.  The star is a main-sequence M-dwarf, a very common type.  More than 70 percent of the hundreds of billions of stars in our galaxy are M-dwarfs.”

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Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by saypeople - April 17, 2014 at 11:00 pm

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A Cross-Section of the Universe

Hubble’s cross-section of the cosmos (Credit: NASA/ESA)

Hubble’s cross-section of the cosmos (Credit: NASA/ESA)

Main Points:

An image of a galaxy cluster taken by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope gives a remarkable cross-section of the Universe, showing objects at different distances and stages in cosmic history. They range from cosmic near neighbours to objects seen in the early years of the Universe. The 14-hour exposure shows objects around a billion times fainter than can be seen with the naked eye.

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Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by saypeople - at 7:00 pm

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Kepler Astronomers Discover New Rocky Planet that may have Liquid Water

Main Point:

San Francisco State University astronomer Stephen Kane and an international team of researchers have announced the discovery of a new rocky planet that could potentially have liquid water on its surface.

Published in:

Science

Study Further:

The new planet, dubbed Kepler-186f, was discovered using NASA’s Kepler telescope, launched in March 2009 to search for habitable zone, Earth-sized planets in our corner of the Milky Way Galaxy. A habitable zone planet orbits its star at a distance where any water on the planet’s surface is likely to stay liquid. Since liquid water is critical to life on Earth, many astronomers believe the search for extraterrestrial life should focus on planets where liquid water occurs.

“Some people call these habitable planets, which of course we have no idea if they are,” said Kane, an assistant professor of physics and astronomy. “We simply know that they are in the habitable zone, and that is the best place to start looking for habitable planets.”

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Changing where a baby is held immediately after birth could lead to improved uptake of procedure that reduces infant iron deficiency

Main Points:

Changing where a newborn baby is held before its umbilical cord is clamped could lead to improved uptake in hospitals of delayed cord clamping, leading to a decreased risk of iron deficiency in infancy, according to new results published in The Lancet.

Published in:

The Lancet

Study Further:

Delaying clamping of the umbilical cord until around two minutes after birth allows for blood to pass from the mother’s placenta to the baby, and has previously been shown to reduce the risk of iron deficiency in infancy.

However, current recommendations – based on studies conducted 35 years ago – suggest that for effective placental transfusion to occur, the baby needs to be held at the level of the placenta (introitus position), which is cumbersome, uncomfortable for the person holding the baby, and interferes with immediate contact between mother and baby.

Since these issues could be contributing to low compliance with this procedure in hospitals, ultimately resulting in higher than necessary levels of iron deficiency in babies and children, a group of researchers in Argentina tested whether the transfer of blood in delayed cord clamping procedures is affected by the position in which the baby is held immediately after birth.

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Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by saypeople - at 5:01 am

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Chimpanzees prefer firm, stable beds

Main Point:

Chimps select tree branches for stable, comfortable, and safe beds.

Published in:

PLOS ONE

Study Further:

Chimpanzees may select a certain type of wood, Ugandan Ironwood, over other options for its firm, stable, and resilient properties to make their bed, according to a study published April 16, 2014 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by David Samson from the University of Nevada and Kevin Hunt from Indiana University.

Chimpanzees use tree branches to build beds or nests in trees. They select certain tree species to sleep in more frequently than other, but the reason for selecting a particular tree is unclear. To determine whether the physical properties of trees influenced nesting site selection, scientists measured the physical characteristics of wood from common tree species at the Toro-Semliki Wildlife Reserve, Uganda. They measured the stiffness and bending strength of 326 branches from the seven tree species most commonly used by the chimps. Additionally, they measured leaf surface area and determined the structure or architecture of each of the seven species.

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Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by saypeople - at 2:00 am

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