Astronomers have detected the collision of a pair of dead stars, called a kilonova, that caused a cosmic ripple of gravitational waves around 130 million years ago. It turns out these kinds of massive explosions forged most of the gold, silver, and other heavy elements in our universe. From Nadia Drake's story in National Geographic:
First theorized by Albert Einstein in 1916, gravitational waves are kinks or distortions in the fabric of spacetime caused by extremely violent cosmic events. Until now, all confirmed detections involved a deadly dance between two black holes, which leave no visible signature on the sky.
But with this latest event, teams using about a hundred instruments at roughly 70 observatories were able to track down and watch the cataclysm in multiple wavelengths of light, allowing astronomers to scrutinize the source of these cosmic ripples for the first time.
“We saw a totally new phenomenon that has never before been seen by humans,” says Andy Howell of the University of California, Santa Barbara. “It’s an amazing thing that may not be duplicated in our lifetimes.”
Unlike colliding black holes, shredded neutron stars expel metallic, radioactive debris that can be seen by telescopes—if you know when and where to look.
“We felt the universe shaking from two neutron stars merging together, and that told us where to go and point our telescopes,” says Howell, whose team was among several that chased down the stars tied to the gravitational wave signal.
"In a First, Gravitational Waves Linked to Neutron Star Crash" (Nat Geo)
Anthony Atala, director of Wake Forest University’s Institute for Regenerative Medicine, is developing techniques to 3D print human organs for transplant using an individual’s own cells as the “ink.” That way, the transplanted organ won’t trigger the patient’s immune system to reject it as a foreign body. From National Geographic: (For example,) to create an […]
A Scottish team of animal biotechnologists announced this week they successfully introduced human stem cells into sheep embryos. Perhaps one day we will all have our very own baaing organ donors. The team are currently allowed to let the chimeric embryos develop for 28 days, 21 of which are in the sheep. While that might […]
I can’t believe I have to write this, but maybe jamming other people’s shit up your ass isn’t a great idea. When done by medical professions, under very specific circumstances, a fecal transplant can mean the difference between life and death: implanting feces containing healthy gut microbiome into a patient’s body has been used by […]
Going back to school isn’t necessarily an option for everyone. Between the time commitments and steep tuition rates, there are obstacles aplenty as far as furthering education is concerned. However, that’s not to say it’s impossible to learn new skills. Excel with Business lets users access thousands of hours of online learning in Microsoft, business, technology, […]
More often than not, you won’t see an accident coming, which means it pays to be proactive and ensure you have the right tools on-hand before you need them. Whether you find yourself in the middle of a power outage or having car trouble at night, you can make sure you’re still capable of navigating […]
Trains may not be the most popular means of conveyance nowadays, but chances are you grew up playing with toy trains or building a model set to wrap around the Christmas tree. In either case, it’s safe to say that locomotives have long carried a unique sense of awe and scale, especially when they’re hundreds […]