Astronomers Observe 2 Neutron Stars Colliding and the Extreme Reaction ‘Defies All Expectations’:
Artists rendition of two neutron stars colliding – CC University of Warwick/ Mark Garlick
Astronomers just finished putting into words the first observation of a “kilonova,” or the merger of two neutron stars. The scientists described it as the “perfect explosion” as it was utterly spherical, and brighter than a billion suns. After the two heavy stars merged, for a few moments they formed a massive neutron star, after which they collapsed into a black hole. In the middle of the merger, there could be fundamental physics that astronomers don’t understand yet. For example, the magnetic field formed around it is the strongest recorded in the universe, and so strong it can distort the structure of atoms. While there are still many mysteries to discover about this event, it still is an amazing sight to see and a testament to the beautiful complexity of the universe.
Anti-dust Tech Paves Way for Self-cleaning Surfaces:
A nanoscale look at how dust aggregates on this spiky surface. Credit: The University of Texas at Austin/Smart Material Solutions\
Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin partnered with North Carolina-based company Smart Material Solutions Inc. to develop a new method to keep dust from sticking to surfaces. The result is the ability to make many types of materials dust resistant, from spacecraft to solar panels to household windows. In tests, the researchers piled lunar dust on top of their engineered surfaces and then turned each surface on its side. The engineered structure was altered structurally to form tightly packed microscopic pyramids, making it harder for dust particles to stick. The result: Only about 2% of the surface remained dusty, compared with more than 35% of a similarly smooth surface.
Fossils Suggest Early Primates Lived in a Once-swampy Arctic:
Ellesmere Island in Canada was once home to warm, temperate swamps — and a small primate or close relative that lived millions of years ago. JOSH FORWOOD/ALAMY STOCK PHOTO
The Arctic today is a hostile place for most primates, but a series of fossils found since the 1970s suggest that wasn’t always the case. Dozens of fossilized early primate teeth and jaw bones were unearthed in northern Canada. These remains are the first primate-like fossils ever discovered in the Arctic and tell of a groundhog-sized animal that may have skittered across trees in a swamp that once existed above the Arctic Circle. The Arctic was significantly warmer during that time, but creatures still had to adapt to extreme conditions such as long winter months without sunlight. Scientists know about this early Arctic climate in part because of decades of paleontological work on Ellesmere Island in northern Canada. These digs revealed that the area was once dominated by swamps not unlike those found in the southeastern United States today. While it is unclear how these primates survived these conditions, further research will attempt to uncover the reasons why.