Hexbyte Glen Cove Launch postponed for Soyuz rocket with UK telecom satellites thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove Launch postponed for Soyuz rocket with UK telecom satellites

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Credit: Pixabay/CC0 Public Domain

The launch of a Soyuz rocket carrying 36 UK telecommunication and internet satellites has been postponed until Friday, the Russian space agency Roscosmos said.

OneWeb, a London-headquartered company, is working to complete the construction of a constellation of low earth orbit satellites providing enhanced broadband and other services to countries around the world.

The launch of the operated by European company Arianespace was scheduled for 1743 GMT on Thursday from the Vostochny cosmodrome in Russia’s Far East.

“For technical reasons, the launch…has been postponed to the reserve date,” Roscosmos said in a statement on Thursday.

The agency added that the postponed launch will take place on Friday, May 28 at 1738 GMT.

The launch was postponed “due to the replacement of one item of electrical equipment,” launch operator Arianespace said on Twitter.

It added that the Soyuz rocket and the satellites are in “stable and safe condition”.

So far two batches of 36 OneWeb satellites have been placed into orbit from Russia this year.

The UK company plans for its global commercial internet service to be operational by next year, supported by some 650 satellites.

The Vostochny launch site is one of Russia’s most important space projects, designed to reduce reliance on the Baikonur space centre Moscow currently rents from Kazakhstan.

The project has been consistently behind schedule, with its construction marred for years by multiple controversies including corruption.



© 2021 AFP

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Launch postponed for Soyuz rocket with UK telecom satellites (2021, May 27)
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Hexbyte Glen Cove Partners in crime: Agricultural pest relies on bacteria to overcome plant defenses thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove Partners in crime: Agricultural pest relies on bacteria to overcome plant defenses

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A recent study shows that insect larvae may rely on microscopic partners to help them eat plant leaves. Credit: Egor Kamelev from Pexels

Although insect larvae may seem harmless to humans, they can be extremely dangerous to the plant species that many of them feed on, and some of those plant species are important as agricultural crops. Although plants cannot simply flee from danger like animals typically would, many have nonetheless evolved ingenious strategies to defend themselves from herbivores. Herbivorous insect larvae will commonly use their mouths to smear various digestive proteins onto plants that they want to eat, and when plants detect chemicals commonly found in these oral secretions, they can respond to the injury by producing defensive molecules, including proteins and specialized metabolites of their own that inactivate the insect’s digestive proteins and thus prevent the insect from obtaining nutrients from the plant.

Of course, the existence of such chemical defense mechanisms in is a problem that herbivorous insects must counter. One way that insects have evolved to overcome these problems is by forming partnerships with . For example, the digestive oral secretions of the Colorado potato beetle (Leptinotarsa decemlineata) include bacteria that can suppress the defense mechanisms of the tomato plants that the beetle commonly feeds on. The beetle and the bacteria have thus achieved “symbiosis,” which is a term that biologists use to describe a mutually beneficial partnership: The beetle provides the bacteria with a comfortable environment inside its mouth and other secretory organs, and the bacteria help the beetle consume nutrients from tomato plants.

To Prof. Gen-ichiro Arimura of Tokyo University of Science, this is a fascinating result: “Although it is well known that symbiotic microorganisms in animals (especially bacteria in the intestines of herbivores such as pandas and cows) affect biological activities such as digestion and reproduction, the fact that they affect the prey (i.e., the plants) is not so well known.” In other words, the fact that the insect’s bacterial partners work to alter biochemical processes within the living plant before it is eaten is a matter of considerable interest to scientists.

Levels of damage to A. thaliana leaves after exposure to S. litura larvae raised under conditions that did or did not sterilize their oral secretions. The asterisk indicates a statistically significant difference between the damage levels under the different conditions. Credit: Professor Gen-ichiro Arimura, Tokyo University of Science

Prof. Arimura and his research team, in collaboration with Okayama University, wondered whether such partnerships with bacteria may apply in the case of the insect Spodoptera litura, the larvae of which are major pests that commonly damage crops in Asia. In an article recently published in the journal New Phytologist, Prof. Arimura’s research team experimented with applying the oral secretions of S. litura larvae to mechanically damaged leaves of the thale cress plant (Arabidopsis thaliana). When the researchers sterilized the oral secretions to kill or remove any bacteria that might be present in them, they found that applying these secretions to the plant leaves stimulated the expression of defense-related genes and the production of oxylipins that play important roles in defending A. thaliana cells from digestion. However, when the researchers applied oral secretions that had not been sterilized, the bacteria present within the oral secretions acted to prevent the expression of defense-related genes and the production of oxylipins. In contrast, the bacteria stimulated the production of salicylic acid and abscisic acid, two chemicals that act to suppress the production of oxylipins.

These findings are compelling evidence that bacteria in the oral secretions of S. litura assist the larvae in overcoming plant defense mechanisms, and the researchers wanted to identify the bacteria responsible. Tests of the larvae’s oral secretions revealed the presence of a bacterium called Staphylococcus epidermidis, and further experiments confirmed the S. epidermidis acted to suppress plant defense mechanisms.

These results provide important insights into how S. litura counteracts the defense mechanisms of the plants that it feeds on, and Prof. Arimura hopes that knowing more about the relationship between the larvae and the bacteria will help crop scientists develop techniques to protect important crop species from S. litura. Such techniques may help farmers reduce their use of environmentally harmful pesticides, and Prof. Arimura expresses optimism that his research will thus “contribute to the creation of a safe and secure food supply and a rich environment.”



More information:
Yukiyo Yamasaki et al, Phytohormone‐dependent plant defense signaling orchestrated by oral bacteria of the herbivore Spodoptera litura, New Phytologist (2021). DOI: 10.1111/nph.17444

Citation:
Partners in crime: Agricultural pest relies on bacteria to overcome plant defenses (2021, May 27)
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Hexbyte Glen Cove People prefer 'natural' strategies to reduce atmospheric carbon thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove People prefer ‘natural’ strategies to reduce atmospheric carbon

Hexbyte Glen Cove

Credit: Pixabay/CC0 Public Domain

Soil carbon storage, carbon capture and storage, biochar—mention these terms to most people, and a blank stare might be the response.

But frame these change mitigation strategies as being clean and green approaches to reversing the dangerous warming of our planet, and people might be more inclined to at least listen—and even to back these efforts.

A cross-disciplinary collaboration led by Jonathon Schuldt, associate professor of communication at Cornell University, found that a majority of the U.S. public is supportive of soil as a climate change mitigation strategy, particularly when that and similar approaches are seen as “natural” strategies.

“To me, that psychology part—that’s really interesting,” Schuldt said. “What would lead people, especially if they’re unfamiliar with these different strategies, to support one more than the other? Our study and others suggest that a big part of it is whether people see it as natural.”

The group’s paper, “Perceptions of Naturalness Predict U.S. Public Support for Soil Carbon Storage as a Climate Solution,” published May 26 in the journal Climatic Change. Co-authors include Johannes Lehmann, the Liberty Hyde Bailey Professor in the School of Integrative Plant Science (SIPS), Soil and Crop Sciences Section (CALS); Dominic Woolf, senior research associate in SIPS; Shannan Sweet, postdoctoral associate in the Lehmann Lab; and Deborah Bossio of the Nature Conservancy.

Schuldt’s team analyzed results from a survey of 1,222 U.S. adults who reported believing in climate change at least “somewhat,” to estimate for soil carbon storage and how it compares to other leading carbon dioxide removal strategies.

Mitigation strategies—solar and , electric vehicles and sustainable land use and biodiversity, to name a few—are already capturing much attention as the world grapples with rising temperatures, melting ice caps and increasingly violent weather events.

Survey data came from an online poll conducted Sept. 19 to Oct. 4, 2019, by NORC at the University of Chicago, a leading survey research firm. The team solicited respondents’ perceptions of naturalness and policy support for five CO2 removal strategies: afforestation and reforestation; bioenergy plus and storage; direct air capture; soil carbon storage; and soil carbon storage with biochar. Each respondent viewed a randomized group of three options and was asked to estimate the likelihood that they’d support that strategy.

They were also asked to rate their level of agreement with each of five statements related to humans’ tampering with nature.

In the final analysis, perceived naturalness was a strong indicator of support for soil carbon storage as a climate change mitigation strategy. Of the five CO2 removal strategies, support was highest (73%) for afforestation and reforestation; carbon storage ranked second, supported by 62% of those polled.

And in this politically divided time, Schuldt said, support for crossed the aisle. A total of 72% who identified as Democrats supported the ; among Republicans, 52% were in support.

“We expected, and found, that Democrats support all kinds of climate strategies more than Republicans do,” Schuldt said. “But the error I think we sometimes make is that we categorize all Democrats as being for it, and all Republicans as being against it. That’s not true.”

Ultimately, Schuldt said, the goal is to allow policymakers to present the public with palatable options for addressing climate change.

“There is a whole range of solutions out there,” he said. “Then the question politically becomes, where do you start? Which one has the most buy-in? I think our data help speak to that.”



More information:
Shannan K. Sweet et al, Perceptions of naturalness predict US public support for Soil Carbon Storage as a climate solution, Climatic Change (2021). DOI: 10.1007/s10584-021-03121-0

Citation:
People prefer ‘natural’ strategies to reduce atmospheric carbon (2021, May 26)
retrieved 27 May 2021
from https://phys.org/news/2021-05-people-natural-strategies-atmospheric-carbon.html

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Hexbyte Glen Cove Widespread coral-algae symbioses endured historical climate changes thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove Widespread coral-algae symbioses endured historical climate changes

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Credit: Pixabay/CC0 Public Domain

One of the most important and widespread reef-building corals, known as cauliflower coral, exhibits strong partnerships with certain species of symbiotic algae, and these relationships have persisted through periods of intense climate fluctuations over the last 1.5 million years, according to a new study led by researchers at Penn State. The findings suggest that these corals and their symbiotic algae may have the capacity to adjust to modern-day increases in ocean warming, at least over the coming decades.

Cauliflower corals—which are in the genus Pocillopora—are branching corals that provide critical habitat for one-quarter of the world’s fish and many kinds of invertebrates, such as lobsters, sea urchins and giant clams. They are common throughout the Indo-Pacific—the region extending from eastern Africa north to India and Southeast Asia, across Australia and encompassing Hawaii—and are capable of long-range dispersal and rapid growth, making them among the first to repopulate reefs damaged by typhoons and events of mass coral bleaching and mortality.

“We found that Pocillopora has maintained a close relationship with certain species of algae in the genus Cladocopium over repeated oscillations in Earth’s climate,” said Todd LaJeunesse, professor of biology, Penn State. “Our findings reinforce how stable and resilient these relationships are over deep time.”

LaJeunesse explained that corals comprise hundreds to hundreds of thousands of individual animals, called polyps. Tiny, single-celled algae, known as dinoflagellates, live inside these polyps’ tissues, giving the corals their color and providing the animals with up to 90% of their energy needs through the products of photosynthesis. These dinoflagellates significantly influence the capacity of corals to deal with environmental stressors.

For two decades, LaJeunesse and his colleagues have been collecting coral samples from around the world, using molecular-genetic techniques to identify the coral and algal species, documenting the specificity of the partnerships (some species of algae are highly specific to certain species of coral, whereas others are generalists and can associate with many different types of coral) and determining how these partnerships have changed through evolutionary history.

“Important biological discoveries are more likely when working with accurate species resolution—in this case, for both coral and dinoflagellate,” said LaJeunesse. “Research on the biology of photosynthetic corals has been hampered by a lack of good taxonomic resolution. Our work on resolving these species is highly detailed and currently among the most sophisticated.”

The team used a combination of genetic, ecological and morphological—the outward appearance of an organism—techniques to examine Cladocopium that associate with Pocillopora. Specifically, they relied on a variety of genetic markers—or DNA sequences with known locations on chromosomes—to determine the genetic identities of the species. They also used a microscope to visualize and image the Cladocopium cells. The findings published on May 20 in the ISME Journal, the official journal of the International Society for Microbial Ecology.

“With this research, we now know that Cladocopium, the most common genus of coral symbionts, comprises hundreds of species,” said Kira Turnham, graduate student in biology, Penn State. “We were able to identify and describe two species, which we named Cladocopium latusorum and Cladocopium pacificum, and with this resolution, were able to deduce the age of their partnerships and unique importance to specific host corals.”

Next, the team investigated whether Cladocopium from geographically dispersed populations of Pocillopora were reproductively isolated or displayed connectivity. They found that populations of both species, like their Pocillopora hosts, are genetically well-connected across the tropical and sub-tropical Pacific Ocean, indicating a capacity for long-range dispersal.

For instance, Turnham said, “Cladocopium latusorum spans the Indian and Pacific Oceans—from the eastern shores of Tanzania to the Coral Triangle, Great Barrier Reef in Australia and Panama. This connectivity between populations in different locations may contribute to the resiliency of these species to endangerment or extinction threats.”

To determine how old the partnerships are, the researchers used a “molecular clock”—an analysis that assesses DNA sequence divergence over time—to estimate when the two Cladocopium species diverged from their common ancestor. They found that the species arose during the late Pliocene to early Pleistocene epochs, at a time when their coral host was also forming new species.

“There has been considerable talk about corals’ ability to shuffle their dinoflagellate species to improve their ability to withstand global warming,” said LaJeunesse. “While some of this may be true, most corals have a very limited assortment of species with which they are able to associate. We have shown that with this limited number of compatible symbionts, Pocillopora have been able to deal with major changes in climate every 100,000 years for the past 1 to 2 million years.”

Turnham noted that despite their persistence through time, the strict nature of the relationship between Pocillopora and Cladocopium may limit their ability to evolve in response to increased warming compared to corals that can associate with more thermally tolerant dinoflagellates.

“Ultimately,” she said, “the broad geographic distributions and geological age of these and other -algal combinations must be considered in forecasting their response to ocean warming, and guide decisions when planning for their conservation.”



More information:
Kira E. Turnham et al, Mutualistic microalgae co-div

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Hexbyte Glen Cove Grocery taxes put low-income families at risk for food insecurity thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove Grocery taxes put low-income families at risk for food insecurity

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Credit: CC0 Public Domain

Approximately one-third of all U.S. counties do not exempt grocery foods from the general sales tax, which means the lowest-income families living in those areas are most susceptible to food insecurity. New research from Cornell University finds that even a slight grocery tax-rate increase could be problematic for many.

“An increase of 1% to 4% may sound small, but after several trips to the , the extra costs can create serious burdens for the lowest-income families,” said co-author Harry Kaiser, professor of applied economics and management in the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management. “We found that even the slightest increase in tax rate correlated to an increased likelihood of food insecurity. Grocery taxes that rose by just one percentage point led to a higher risk of hunger in households.”

The study focused on on foods at such as and convenience stores. Kaiser and his co-authors found that across 14 states, the average grocery tax is just over 4%.

In 2020, grocery food tax policy varied at both state and county levels. A total of 17 states impose grocery taxes, and several states are debating whether to remove or impose taxes. Kaiser’s group looked at data from low-income households in the 48 contiguous states plus Washington, D.C., and excluded households with annual income above $30,000.

This threshold was based on the , a measure that accounts for household income relative to household size. For example, in 2017 the poverty level for a single-person household was $12,060; for a two-person household, it was $16,240.

In Alabama, for example, where the grocery tax rate is as high as 9%, the average annual expense in grocery taxes is $630. For households living at or near the poverty level, this tax expense represents a sizeable portion of their household income.

Kaiser’s team predicts that the average food insecurity for households with income less than $30,000 will decrease by 3.2% due to the tax removal.

“We hope that by sharing our current data and findings on grocery taxes as it relates to ,” Kaiser said, “policymakers will take a much closer look at the tax burden in certain areas which are hit hardest.”



More information:
Yuqing Zheng et al, Putting grocery food taxes on the table: Evidence for food security policy-makers, Food Policy (2021). DOI: 10.1016/j.foodpol.2021.102098

Citation:
Grocery taxes put low-income families at risk for food insecurity (2021, May 26)
retrieved 27 May 2021
from https://phys.org/news/2021-05-grocery-taxes-low-income-families-food.html

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Hexbyte Glen Cove Probing deeper into origins of cosmic rays thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove Probing deeper into origins of cosmic rays

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Schematic representation of cosmic rays propagating through magnetic clouds. Credit: Salvatore Buonocore

Cosmic rays are high-energy atomic particles continually bombarding Earth’s surface at nearly the speed of light. Our planet’s magnetic field shields the surface from most of the radiation generated by these particles. Still, cosmic rays can cause electronic malfunctions and are the leading concern in planning for space missions.

Researchers know cosmic rays originate from the multitude of stars in the Milky Way, including our sun, and other galaxies. The difficulty is tracing the particles to specific sources, because the turbulence of interstellar gas, plasma, and dust causes them to scatter and rescatter in different directions.

In AIP Advances, University of Notre Dame researchers developed a to better understand these and other cosmic ray transport characteristics, with the goal of developing algorithms to enhance existing detection techniques.

Brownian motion theory is generally employed to study cosmic ray trajectories. Much like the random motion of pollen particles in a pond, collisions between cosmic rays within fluctuating magnetic fields cause the particles to propel in different directions.

But this classic diffusion approach does not adequately address the different propagation rates affected by diverse interstellar environments and long spells of cosmic voids. Particles can become trapped for a time in magnetic fields, which slow them down, while others are thrust into higher speeds through star explosions.

To address the complex nature of cosmic ray travel, the researchers use a stochastic scattering model, a collection of random variables that evolve over time. The model is based on geometric Brownian motion, a classic diffusion theory combined with a slight trajectory drift in one direction.

In their first experiment, they simulated cosmic rays moving through interstellar space and interacting with localized magnetized clouds, represented as tubes. The rays travel undisturbed over a long period of time. They are interrupted by chaotic interaction with the magnetized clouds, resulting in some rays reemitting in random directions and others remaining trapped.

Monte Carlo numerical analysis, based on repeated random sampling, revealed ranges of density and reemission strengths of the interstellar magnetic clouds, leading to skewed, or heavy-tailed, distributions of the propagating cosmic rays.

The analysis denotes marked superdiffusive behavior. The model’s predictions agree well with known transport properties in complex interstellar media.

“Our model provides valuable insights on the nature of complex environments crossed by and could help advance current detection techniques,” author Salvatore Buonocore said.



More information:
Salvatore Buonocorea) and Mihir Sen. Anomalous diffusion of cosmic rays: A geometric approach featured. AIP Advances (2021); doi.org/10.1063/5.0049401

Citation:
Probing deeper into origins of cosmic rays (2021, May 25)
retrieved 26 May 2021
from https://phys.org/news/2021-05-probing-deeper-cosmic-rays.html

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Hexbyte Glen Cove PUNCH mission passes important milestone thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove PUNCH mission passes important milestone

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The SwRI-led Polarimeter to UNify the Corona and Heliosphere (PUNCH) mission achieved an important milestone, passing NASA’s Preliminary Design Review (PDR) of its spacecraft and payload experiments. This illustration shows one of PUNCH’s four suitcase-sized satellites that will be launched into a polar orbit formation to study how the Sun’s outer corona transitions into the solar wind. Credit: Southwest Research Institute

On May 20, 2021, the Polarimeter to UNify the Corona and Heliosphere (PUNCH) mission achieved an important milestone, passing NASA’s Preliminary Design Review (PDR) of its spacecraft and payload experiments. Southwest Research Institute is leading PUNCH, a NASA Small Explorer (SMEX) mission that will integrate understanding of the Sun’s corona, the outer atmosphere visible during total solar eclipses, with the “solar wind” that fills the solar system.

“Passing PDR gets us one step closer to launch, verifying the design options, interfaces and verification methods for the mission,” said PUNCH Principal Investigator Dr. Craig DeForest of SwRI’s Space Science and Engineering Division. “In this challenging year, I’m so proud of this team for acing this important design cycle review, from refining the spacecraft design to actually building an engineering model of the Wide-Field Imager (WFI) instrument and other technology we need to image the as it leaves the outermost reaches of the Sun’s corona.”

SwRI’s Ronnie Killough, PUNCH project manager, elaborated on the challenges overcome. “PUNCH has had to conduct the entire preliminary design remotely—this is possibly an unprecedented accomplishment for a NASA mission and a testament to the strength and resiliency of the PUNCH team.”

The solar wind, a supersonic stream of charged particles emitted by the Sun, fills the heliosphere, the bubble-like region of space encompassing our solar system. Its boundary, where the and solar wind pressures balance, ends the sphere of the Sun’s influence.

PUNCH is a constellation of four small suitcase-sized satellites scheduled to launch in 2023 into a polar orbit formation. One satellite carries a coronagraph, the Narrow Field Imager, that images the Sun’s corona continuously. The other three each carry SwRI-developed WFI wide-angle cameras, optimized to image the solar wind. These four instruments work together to form a field of view large enough to capture a quarter of the sky, centered on the Sun.

“Just as in astronomy when a new telescope like Hubble opens a new window on the universe, PUNCH’s four satellites are going to visualize a mysterious process, imaging how the solar corona transitions into the solar wind,” said Dr. James L. Burch, vice president of SwRI’s Space Science and Engineering Division. “As an authority in heliophysics research, SwRI is not only leading the science of this mission but also building the spacecraft and three of the four sensors designed to let us see, for the first time, the birth of the solar .”



Citation:
PUNCH mission passes important milestone (2021, May 25)
retrieved 26 May 2021
from https://phys.org/news/2021-05-mission-important-milestone.html

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Hexbyte Glen Cove Candid cosmos: eROSITA cameras set benchmark for astronomical imaging thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove Candid cosmos: eROSITA cameras set benchmark for astronomical imaging

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A team of scientists from the Max-Planck-Institut für extraterrestrische Physik, Germany, built an x-ray telescope called eROSITA consisting of an array of co-aligned focal plane cameras with one in the center and six surrounding it. Credit: P. Friedrich, doi 10.1117/1.JATIS.7.2.025004

Recently, the eROSITA (extended Roentgen Survey with an Imaging Telescope Array) X-ray telescope, an instrument developed by a team of scientists at Max-Planck-Institut für Extraterrestrische Physik (MPE), has gained attention among astronomers. The instrument performs an all-sky survey in the X-ray energy band of 0.2-8 kilo electron volts aboard the Spectrum-Roentgen-Gamma (SRG) satellite that was launched in 2019 from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

“The eROSITA has been designed to study the large-scale structure of the universe and test , including , by detecting with redshifts greater than 1, corresponding to a cosmological expansion faster than the ,” said Dr. Norbert Meidinger from MPE, a part of the team that developed the instrument. “We expect eROSITA to revolutionize our understanding of the evolution of supermassive black holes.” The details of the developmental work have been published in SPIE’s Journal of Astronomical Telescopes, Instruments, and Systems (JATIS).

eROSITA is not one telescope, but an array of seven identical, co-aligned telescopes, with each one composed of a mirror system and a focal-plane camera. The camera assembly, in turn, consists of the camera head, camera electronics, and filter wheel. The camera head is made up of the detector and its housing, a proton shield, and a heat pipe for detector cooling. The camera electronics include supply, control, and data acquisition electronics for detector operation. The filter wheel is mounted above the head and has four positions including an optical and UV blocking filter to reduce signal noise, a radioactive X-ray source for calibration, and a closed position that allows instrumental background measurements.

First light of the eROSITA X-ray telescope in space. Credit: Norbert Meidinger et al. doi: 10.1117/1.JATIS.7.2.025004

“It’s exciting to read about these X-ray cameras that are in orbit and enabling a broad set of scientific investigations on a major astrophysics mission,” says Megan Eckart of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, USA, who is the deputy editor of JATIS. “Dr. Meidinger and his team provide a clear description of the hardware development and ground testing, and wrap up the paper with a treat: first-light images from eROSITA and an assessment of onboard performance. Astrophysicists around the world will analyze data from these cameras for years to come.”

The eROSITA telescope is well on its way to becoming a game changer for X-ray astronomy.



More information:
Norbert Meidinger et al, eROSITA camera array on the SRG satellite, Journal of Astronomical Telescopes, Instruments, and Systems (2021). DOI: 10.1117/1.JATIS.7.2.025004

Citation:
Candid cosmos: eROSITA cameras set benchmark for astronomical imaging (2021, May 25)
retrieved 26 May 2021
from https://phys.org/news/2021-05-candid-cosmos-erosita-cameras-benchmark.html

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Hexbyte Glen Cove Thirty-six dwarf galaxies had simultaneous 'baby boom' of new stars thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove Thirty-six dwarf galaxies had simultaneous ‘baby boom’ of new stars

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Three dozen dwarf galaxies far from each other had a simultaneous ‘baby boom’ of new stars. Credit: Rutgers University-New Brunswick

Three dozen dwarf galaxies far from each other had a simultaneous ‘baby boom’ of new stars, an unexpected discovery that challenges current theories on how galaxies grow and may enhance our understanding of the universe.

Galaxies more than 1 million light-years apart should have completely independent lives in terms of when they give birth to . But separated by up to 13 million light-years slowed down and then simultaneously accelerated their birth rate of stars, according to a Rutgers-led study published in the Astrophysical Journal.

“It appears that these galaxies are responding to a large-scale change in their environment in the same way a good economy can spur a baby boom,” said lead author Charlotte Olsen, a doctoral student in the Department of Physics and Astronomy in the School of Arts and Sciences at Rutgers University-New Brunswick.

“We found that regardless of whether these galaxies were next-door neighbors or not, they stopped and then started forming new stars at the same time, as if they’d all influenced each other through some extra-galactic social network,” said co-author Eric Gawiser, a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy.

The simultaneous decrease in the stellar birth rate in the 36 dwarf galaxies began 6 billion years ago, and the increase began 3 billion years ago. Understanding how galaxies evolve requires untangling the many processes that affect them over their lifetimes (billions of years). Star formation is one of the most fundamental processes. The stellar birth rate can increase when galaxies collide or interact, and galaxies can stop making new stars if the gas (mostly hydrogen) that makes stars is lost.

Rutgers’ unexpected discovery challenges current theories on how galaxies grow and may enhance our understanding of the universe. Credit: Rutgers University-New Brunswick

Star formation histories can paint a rich record of environmental conditions as a galaxy ‘grew up.’ Dwarf galaxies are the most common but least massive type of galaxies in the universe, and they are especially sensitive to the effects of their surrounding environment.

The 36 included a diverse array of environments at distances as far as 13 million light-years from the Milky Way. The environmental change the galaxies apparently responded to must be something that distributes fuel for galaxies very far apart. That could mean encountering a huge cloud of gas, for example, or a phenomenon in the universe we don’t yet know about, according to Olsen.

The scientists used two methods to compare histories. One uses light from individual within galaxies; the other uses the light of a whole galaxy, including a broad range of colors.

“The full impact of the discovery is not yet known as it remains to be seen how much our current models of galaxy growth need to be modified to understand this surprise,” Gawiser said. “If the result cannot be explained within our current understanding of cosmology, that would be a huge implication, but we have to give the theorists a chance to read our paper and respond with their own research advances.”

“The James Webb Space Telescope, scheduled to be launched by NASA this October, will be the ideal way to add that new data to find out just how far outwards from the Milky Way this ‘baby boom’ extended,” Olsen added.



More information:
Charlotte Olsen et al, Star Formation Histories from Spectral Energy Distributions and Color–magnitude Diagrams Agree: Evidence for Synchronized Star Formation in Local Volume Dwarf Galaxies over the Past 3 Gyr, The Astrophysical Journal (2021). DOI: 10.3847/1538-4357/abf3c2

Citation:
Thirty-six dwarf galaxies had simultaneous ‘baby boom’ of new stars (2021, May 24)
retrieved 24 May 2021
from https://phys.org/news/2021-05-thirty-six-dwarf-galaxies-simultaneous-baby.html

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Hexbyte Glen Cove Is 'Closing the Gap' working? thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove Is ‘Closing the Gap’ working?

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Credit: CC0 Public Domain

Gaping policy shortfalls in the Australian Government’s ‘Closing the Gap’ program have seen it fail to reduce disparities in Indigenous health, income, employment, child removal and incarceration, Flinders University researchers say.

Their five-year study just published in the Australian Journal of Public Administration examined why the targets of Australia’s national Closing the Gap strategy to reduce or eliminate inequalities in health, education and employment outcomes between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other Australians have mostly not been met.

“Despite talk of governments ‘doing things with and not to’ Indigenous Australians, we found that most strategies implemented under Closing the Gap are controlled from the top by , leaving little room for Indigenous communities to have a say,” says lead author Dr. Matthew Fisher, a senior researcher at the Southgate Institute for Health, Society and Equity at Flinders University.

“Indigenous leaders said consistently that Closing the Gap policy will be more successful when it supports greater community control at a local level and puts more focus on strategies to build community resources for health and wellbeing,” said Dr. Fisher.

The study interviewed more than 40 key individuals involved in Closing the Gap policy between 2008 and 2018, from within and outside government. More than half of the interviewees identified as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.

“The Indigenous health program within the national Department of Health provides a model of good practice,” said Dr. Fisher. “It adopts a partnership approach to policy governance and supports a network of over 140 Aboriginal community-controlled health services.”

“However, ‘Closing the Gap’ strategies in education and employment could learn from this good practice,” he says, adding that Closing the Gap adopted a new partnership approach in 2019 aimed at improving outcomes.

‘Closing the Gap’ is a national strategy aiming to reduce or eliminate inequalities in health, education and employment outcomes between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other Australians.

“Strong cultures are central to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing, and this needs to be reflected in Closing the Gap strategies,” says co-author and Waljen woman, Associate Professor Tamara Mackean, from Flinders University.

“In the 10 years studied, we identified policy incoherence between Closing the Gap policies, aiming to improve Indigenous , and other policies in income management, child removal and incarceration, which are having the opposite effect,” she says.

“Our research suggests that beliefs held by some about the superiority of ‘Western’ cultures over Indigenous cultures are a barrier to the policy changes needed to really close the gap in Australia,” the research concludes.

“The new policies adopted in 2019 are a very positive development, but in order to succeed the Closing the Gap program should address the issues identified in this research,” researchers say.



More information:
Matthew Fisher et al, Stakeholder perceptions of policy implementation for Indigenous health and cultural safety: A study of Australia’s ‘Closing the Gap’ policies, Australian Journal of Public Administration (2021). DOI: 10.1111/1467-8500.12482

Citation:
Is ‘Closing the Gap’ working? (2021, May 24)
retrieved 24 May 20

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