Digest of sci-fi news for the week, about which we did not write anything
and / or write an article in the “Sandbox” and send me a link.
And today I will again go over the news of the outgoing week, which our editors should have covered in more detail, but it didn’t work out, because we also like to relax.
Astronomers have found a large young star near the black hole at the center of the Milky Way
An international team of researchers led by Dr. Florian Peisker from the Institute for Astrophysics at the University of Cologne discovered a very young star in its formation near the supermassive black hole Sagittarius A* at the center of our Milky Way. The age of the star is only a few tens of thousands of years – that is, it is even younger than humanity. The peculiarity of this baby is that, theoretically, it should not have appeared and existed so close to a supermassive black hole. However, the team of scientists believe that it formed in a dust cloud orbiting a giant black hole and only descended into its current orbit after its formation.
Found another 59 exoplanets located relatively close to us
The goal of the Calar Alto high-Resolution search for M dwarfs with Exoearths with Near-infrared and optical Echelle Spectrographs (CARMENES) project, located at the Calar Alto Observatory in Spain, is to search for potentially habitable “Earth-like” planets around these fainter stars. IN research, published in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics, the CARMENES consortium published data (Data Release 1) of approximately 20,000 observations made between 2016 and 2020. Among the measurements taken from 362 nearby cool stars, DR1 contained data on 59 new planets.
The CARMENES instrument is an optical and near-infrared spectrograph mounted on a 3.5-meter telescope and one of the world’s most sophisticated instruments for finding planets using the radial velocity method. Also known as Doppler spectroscopy, this technique uses spectrometers to measure light from distant stars to look for signs of redshift and blueshift—which show whether the planet is moving back and forth. This movement indicates the presence of gravitational forces acting on the star (ie, on the system of orbiting planets), and can give accurate estimates of the mass of the planets orbiting around it.
The Tor project began moving from infrastructure that was recently sold to the US military
The Tor Project, the organization that maintains the Tor anonymity network and its associated browser, continues to migrate its infrastructure from the facilities previously provided by Team Cymru, an internet monitoring company. The Tor project management expects the migration to be completed in the spring.
The project announced the move in October after Team Cymru sold an internet monitoring tool called “Augury” to several branches of the US military. Augury is based in part on data provided by ISPs. The tool is said to cover 90 percent of the world’s Internet traffic. It was also alleged that NCIS, a civilian law enforcement agency that is part of the Navy, was involved in the use and purchase of this data without court warrants.
Scientists come up with a way to make surfaces that repel dust
Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin, in collaboration with Smart Material Solutions Inc. from North Carolina developed a new method to prevent dust from sticking to surfaces. As a result, many types of materials have been made resistant to dust. The technology is applicable to everything from spacecraft to solar panels and conventional windows.
“What we have demonstrated here is a surface that can clean itself,” said Chi-Hao Chang, Walker Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the Cockrell School of Engineers and lead author of the study. “Particles can’t stick to a surface, so they fly off it under the force of gravity.”
During the tests, the researchers poured lunar dust onto the surface of their designs, and then turned each surface on its side. Result: Only about 2% of the surface remained dusty. An ordinary smooth surface without treatment in such a situation remained covered with dust by 35%.
Scientists blame fructose for Alzheimer’s
Researchers have a new hypothesis about the possible cause of Alzheimer’s disease. It is a type of sugar called fructose.
Previous research has shown that fructose in the brain helped our ancestors get food. But new work suggests that in our modern world, the changes that this sugar causes may be linked to Alzheimer’s disease.
Fructose is found in many foods such as fruits, vegetables and honey. But it can also be produced naturally by the body, such as through a high-salt diet.
Fructose helped our ancestors to survive evolutionarily by inhibiting certain processes of brain metabolism. It blocks out distractions such as recent memories and tracking the passage of time. This “shutdown” of certain brain activities helps us to focus better on survival, and also encourages exploratory and risk-taking behavior, which is important for foraging.
However, in the latest study, scientists claim that this “survival switch” is now constantly on, despite the fact that most of us no longer have to forage in the wild. As a result, we consume more food, produce more fructose, and all this triggers inflammation in the brain.
Astronomers have proposed an unusual way to search for the ninth planet
There is a mystery in our solar system related to the orbits of Kuiper belt objects. The outer Kuiper belt objects move in ellipses, as if they were being pulled in the same direction by something. The leading hypothesis is that they are attracted by an object that has not yet been found, the mass of which is five to ten times the mass of the Earth. The mysterious object was named “Planet 9”.
An unconventional approach to detection was proposed by Man Ho Chan, assistant professor of natural sciences and environmental studies at the Hong Kong Educational University. In his work Chan focused on finding her potential satellites.
While searching for moons around a planet that has yet to be found may seem like a more difficult task than finding the planet itself, Chan shows that if Planet 9 has moons, then those objects will have fluctuating heat signatures – as they orbit, they should experience tidal heat. These fluctuations will be 2.5 times greater than Planet 9 itself, as well as all known Kuiper belt objects. Signatures in this range could theoretically be detected by the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) observatory, which has recently been upgraded.