ESA releases stunning fly over video of Korolev crater covered in a thick layer of water ice 


Take a trip to Mars! ESA releases stunning fly over video from the Mars Express of the Korolev crater – which is 51 miles across and covered in a thick layer of water ice

  • Mars is home to the Korolev crater, which is a frozen depression in the north
  • The depression is about 51 miles across and more than one mile deep
  • ESA released a stunning video of a detailed fly over of the frozen crater 

It may be years or even decades before humans step on Mars, but now you can take a trip to the Red Planet without leaving your home.

The European Space Agency (ESA) has created a stunning video showing a detailed fly over of the frozen crater, Korolev.

Located in the northern lowlands, the depression is 51 miles across, more than a mile deep and is coated in a layer of thick water ice.

The visualization starts with a shot of Mars and then skates around Korolev for a spectacular view of the frozen cavern.

Scroll down for video 

It may be years or even decades before humans step on Mars, but now you can take a trip to the Red Planet without leaving your home. The European Space Agency (ESA) has created a stunning video showing a detailed fly over of the frozen crater, Korole

‘This movie was created using an image mosaic made from single orbit observations from the High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) on Mars Express, which was first published in December 2018,’ ESA shared in a statement.

‘The mosaic combines data from the HRSC nadir and color channels; the nadir channel is aligned perpendicular to the surface of Mars, as if looking straight down at the surface. ‘

Just south of a large patch of dune-filled terrain that encircles part of the planet’s northern polar cap (known as Olympia Undae), ESA says it is ‘an especially well-preserved example of a Martian crater.’

It is filled not by snow but ice, with its center hosting a mound of ice some 5,000 feet thick all year round.

It begins with a snapshot of Mars circling in the dark abyss that is space and then we see a white speck in the dust planet, which is Korolev crater

It begins with a snapshot of Mars circling in the dark abyss that is space and then we see a white speck in the dust planet, which is Korolev crater

Located in the northern lowlands, the depression is 51 miles across, more than a mile deep and is coated in a layer of thick water ice. The visualization starts with a shot of Mars and then skates around Korolev for a spectacular view of the frozen cavern.

Located in the northern lowlands, the depression is 51 miles across, more than a mile deep and is coated in a layer of thick water ice. The visualization starts with a shot of Mars and then skates around Korolev for a spectacular view of the frozen cavern.

The very deepest parts of Korolev crater, those containing ice, act as a natural cold trap: the air moving over the deposit of ice cools down and sinks, creating a layer of cold air that sits directly above the ice itself.

Acting as a shield, this layer helps the ice remain stable and stops it from heating up and disappearing.

Air is a poor conductor of heat, exacerbating this effect and keeping Korolev crater permanently icy. 

Just south of a large patch of dune-filled terrain that encircles part of the planet's northern polar cap (known as Olympia Undae), ESA says it is 'an especially well-preserved example of a Martian crater.

Just south of a large patch of dune-filled terrain that encircles part of the planet’s northern polar cap (known as Olympia Undae), ESA says it is ‘an especially well-preserved example of a Martian crater.

The crater is named after chief rocket engineer and spacecraft designer Sergei Korolev, dubbed the father of Soviet space technology

The crater is named after chief rocket engineer and spacecraft designer Sergei Korolev, dubbed the father of Soviet space technology

The video begins with a snapshot of Mars circling in the dark abyss that is space and then we see a white speck in the dust planet, which is Korolev crater.

The movie pulls in deeper and takes us around the cavern to take in every inch of the spectacular view.

The crater is named after chief rocket engineer and spacecraft designer Sergei Korolev, dubbed the father of Soviet space technology.

Korolev worked on a number of well-known missions including the Sputnik program – the first artificial satellites ever sent into orbit around the Earth, in 1957 and the years following, the Vostok and Vokshod programs of human space exploration (Vostok being the spacecraft that carried the first ever human, Yuri Gagarin, into space in 1961) as well as the first interplanetary missions to the Moon, Mars, and Venus.

ESA releases stunning fly over video of Korolev crater covered in a thick layer of water ice 


Take a trip to Mars! ESA releases stunning fly over video of Korolev crater that is 51 miles across and covered in a thick layer of water ice

  • Mars is home to the Korolev crater, which is a frozen depression in the north
  • The depression is about 51 miles across and more than one mile deep
  • ESA released a stunning video of a detailed fly over of the frozen crater 

It may be years or even decades before humans step on Mars, but now you can take a trip to the Red Planet without leaving your home.

The European Space Agency (ESA) has created a stunning video showing a detailed fly over of the frozen crater, Korolev.

Located in the northern lowlands, the depression is 51 miles across, more than a mile deep and is coated in a layer of thick water ice.

The visualization starts with a shot of Mars and then skates around Korolev for a spectacular view of the frozen cavern.

Scroll down for video 

It may be years or even decades before humans step on Mars, but now you can take a trip to the Red Planet without leaving your home. The European Space Agency (ESA) has created a stunning video showing a detailed fly over of the frozen crater, Korole

‘This movie was created using an image mosaic made from single orbit observations from the High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) on Mars Express, which was first published in December 2018,’ ESA shared in a statement.

‘The mosaic combines data from the HRSC nadir and color channels; the nadir channel is aligned perpendicular to the surface of Mars, as if looking straight down at the surface. ‘

Just south of a large patch of dune-filled terrain that encircles part of the planet’s northern polar cap (known as Olympia Undae), ESA says it is ‘an especially well-preserved example of a Martian crater.’

It is filled not by snow but ice, with its center hosting a mound of water ice some 5,000 feet thick all year round.

It begins with a snapshot of Mars circling in the dark abyss that is space and then we see a white speck in the dust planet, which is Korolev crater

It begins with a snapshot of Mars circling in the dark abyss that is space and then we see a white speck in the dust planet, which is Korolev crater

Located in the northern lowlands, the depression is 51 miles across, more than a mile deep and is coated in a layer of thick water ice. The visualization starts with a shot of Mars and then skates around Korolev for a spectacular view of the frozen cavern.

Located in the northern lowlands, the depression is 51 miles across, more than a mile deep and is coated in a layer of thick water ice. The visualization starts with a shot of Mars and then skates around Korolev for a spectacular view of the frozen cavern.

The very deepest parts of Korolev crater, those containing ice, act as a natural cold trap: the air moving over the deposit of ice cools down and sinks, creating a layer of cold air that sits directly above the ice itself.

Acting as a shield, this layer helps the ice remain stable and stops it from heating up and disappearing.

Air is a poor conductor of heat, exacerbating this effect and keeping Korolev crater permanently icy. 

Just south of a large patch of dune-filled terrain that encircles part of the planet's northern polar cap (known as Olympia Undae), ESA says it is 'an especially well-preserved example of a Martian crater.

Just south of a large patch of dune-filled terrain that encircles part of the planet’s northern polar cap (known as Olympia Undae), ESA says it is ‘an especially well-preserved example of a Martian crater.

The crater is named after chief rocket engineer and spacecraft designer Sergei Korolev, dubbed the father of Soviet space technology

The crater is named after chief rocket engineer and spacecraft designer Sergei Korolev, dubbed the father of Soviet space technology

It begins with a snapshot of Mars circling in the dark abyss that is space and then we see a white speck in the dust planet, which is Korolev crater.

The movie pulls in deeper and takes us around the cavern to take in every inch of the spectacular view.

The crater is named after chief rocket engineer and spacecraft designer Sergei Korolev, dubbed the father of Soviet space technology.

Korolev worked on a number of well-known missions including the Sputnik program – the first artificial satellites ever sent into orbit around the Earth, in 1957 and the years following, the Vostok and Vokshod programs of human space exploration (Vostok being the spacecraft that carried the first ever human, Yuri Gagarin, into space in 1961) as well as the first interplanetary missions to the Moon, Mars, and Venus.

Scientists confirm first marine fish extinction of modern times


Scientists have made a depressing discovery – the first marine fish of modern times has been declared extinct.

The smooth handfish has officially been wiped from the south-eastern Australian waters due to habitat decline, pollution and destructive fishing practices.

The bottom-dweller was one of 14 species of handfish, which use highly modified pectoral fins to ‘walk’ along the seabed.

Smooth handfish were first discovered in the early 1800s during a scientific exploration, but the only thing left of the species is a preserved specimen collected during that dive.

Scientists have made a depressing discovery – the first marine fish of modern times has been declared extinct. The smooth handfish has officially been wiped from the south-eastern Australian waters due to habitat decline, pollution and destructive fishing practices

Jessica Meeuwig, a professor at the University of Western Australia and director of the university’s Center for Marine Futures, told Mongabay: ‘Some claim that the ocean is too vast for marine wildlife to go extinct.’

‘But ocean industrialization from fishing, mining, oil and gas exploration, shipping and infrastructure development is catching up with the scale of industrialization on land and with it the risk of extinction for marine wildlife.’

There are still 13 species of handfish living in the Australian waters, all of which range in size, shape and color.

The all have fins along their backs and small eyes on the sides of their point head.

Smooth handfish were first discovered in the early 1800s during a scientific exploration, but the only thing left of the species is a preserved specimen collected during that dive

Smooth handfish were first discovered in the early 1800s during a scientific exploration, but the only thing left of the species is a preserved specimen collected during that dive

But what makes these creatures so unique is their lack of swim bladder that helps them control their buoyancy.

Instead, their front fins are flat, allowing them to use them as feet to walk on the seafloor.

Handfish also have flamboyant antenna-like features growing out of the top of their head to lure prey, since they are unable to swim.

Humans have hunted different marine animals into extinction, including the monk seal that was wiped out in 1952, but this is the first time a marine fish species has disappeared from our planet in modern times.

Researchers at Fauna and Flora International, a non-government conservation group, said:’ ‘The story of the smooth handfish should stop us in our tracks and make us think long and hard about what price we’re willing to pay for our seafood, about what lies behind the notion of ‘sustainable’ fisheries.’

The bottom-dweller was one of 14 species of handfish, which use highly modified pectoral fins to 'walk' along the seabed

The bottom-dweller was one of 14 species of handfish, which use highly modified pectoral fins to ‘walk’ along the seabed

The team believes fishing activities had a large hand in the extinction of the smooth handfish.

The scientists note in their Redlist assessment that ‘this species was probably impacted, through both direct mortality as bycatch and destruction of habitat, by the large historical scallop fishery that was active in the region through the 20th century until the fishery collapsed in 1967.’

However, fishermen were not hunting the smooth handfish specifically, the unlucky creatures were collected in scallop nets.

However, Only four of the 13 handfish species have been spotted in the past 20 years leading experts to believe many more may have been lost to extinction. Pictured is the Ziebell's handfish, which is a critically endangered speices

However, Only four of the 13 handfish species have been spotted in the past 20 years leading experts to believe many more may have been lost to extinction. Pictured is the Ziebell’s handfish, which is a critically endangered speices

The red handfish is one of the handfish species that is still thriving in the Australian waters

The red handfish is one of the handfish species that is still thriving in the Australian waters

Jemina Stuart-Smith, a research fellow at the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, told Mongabay: ‘I think people should be concerned about the extinction of any species, especially ones that humans are likely to have caused.’

‘We don’t know enough about handfish to know what their ecological role is [and if extinction] will impact the ecosystems that they are a part [of], or whether it [the underlying causes] will lead to other extinctions.

‘The Smooth handfish became extinct before we had a chance to study them.’

However, Only four of the 13 handfish species have been spotted in the past 20 years leading experts to believe many more may have been lost to extinction.

Facebook opens investigation into private groups sell and soliciting human remains


Facebook is investigating new charges that people are using private groups to sell and solicit human remains, including skulls, fetal remains, and even a mummified six-year-old child dated to the 1700s.

While Facebook has a policy that explicitly bans the ‘buying or selling of human body parts or fluids,’ some users appear to have gotten around the prohibition by taking advantage of the site’s private groups feature. 

Many of the remains listed are claimed to have come from archeological or historical sites around the world, with one seller saying they looted a human skill from catacombs in Sousse, Tunisia, which was offered for $550.

Facebook users have formed private groups to sell and solicit human remains, including skulls, fetal remains, and a mummified six-year-old child dating to the 1700s

The private groups were discovered by LiveScience, which spent 10 months investigating the listings and cataloging the range of items offered for sale or requested by other users.

Legal experts warn that these practices are also criminal under both US and international law, as well as a threat to governmental and academic efforts to preserve historical artifacts at archeological sites around the world.

‘It is doubtful that any person, even those donating their remains for science, ever wanted to be or expected to be a personal curio for an individual,’ Ryan Seidemann and Christine Halling from the Office of Louisiana’s Attorney General in the Lands & Natural Resources Section Civil Division, jointly told LiveScience in an email.

‘Even more clear are the human remains that derive from tombs or burials. Those people intended for their remains to stay in their burial space.’ 

‘Violation of this intent for the purposes of seeking to privately own or possess the remains is both a legal and an ethical violation.’ 

The investigation documented a wide range of different listings, including one user who was attempting to sell a mummified six-year-old child for around $12,247 (11,000 Euros), claiming they dated back to the 1700s.

Facebook says it has opened an investigation into the groups, which violate the company's terms of service, which bans the 'buying or selling of human body parts or fluids'

Facebook says it has opened an investigation into the groups, which violate the company’s terms of service, which bans the ‘buying or selling of human body parts or fluids’

One seller listed a human skull for $1,300, claiming it had come from a ‘young teen female,’ but offered no other information on its origin.

A separate listing described an elongated skull claimed to have come from Peru, on sale for $10,500.

It appeared potentially similar to elongated skulls discovered in Peru in 2014, believed to have come from a 2,000 year-old group of hunter gatherers that practiced artificial cranial deformation.

Though many listings don't specify the origin source for their listed items, some point to important archeological sites, including a listing for a skull claiming to be from catacombs in Sousse, Tunisia

Though many listings don’t specify the origin source for their listed items, some point to important archeological sites, including a listing for a skull claiming to be from catacombs in Sousse, Tunisia

Several users listed fetal remains preserved in jars, claiming they were 'retired medical specimens'

Several users listed fetal remains preserved in jars, claiming they were ‘retired medical specimens’

The process typically involved tying cloths or wooden bracing devices around a young child’s head to force it to grow into an elongated shape.

Still another user listed fetal remains preserved in a jar for $2,350, which they claimed was a ‘retired medical specimen.’

Another seller listed an ‘almost full-term’ fetus for $6,495, claiming that its mother had ‘wanted this specimen to live on via preservation and to stimulate curiosity and further education about the human body.’

In recent years, similarly illicit markets for human organs and remains have quietly emerged on eBay and Instagram, prompting new fears that social media and online marketplaces might help popularize what was once an exceedingly rare practice.

Facebook hasn’t made any official announcements about its investigation into the private user groups, but three have already been shut down for undisclosed reasons.

Facebook opens investigation into private groups sell and soliciting human remains


Facebook opens investigation into private group to sell and solicit human remains, including skulls, fetal remains, and a mummified corpse dating back to the 1700s

  • People are using private groups on Facebook to sell human remains to collectors
  • A 10-month investigation revealed listings for skulls, fetal remains, and a mummified six-year-old dating to the 18th century
  • Facebook has said they are investigating the listed groups

Facebook is investigating new charges that people are using private groups to sell and solicit human remains, including skulls, fetal remains, and even a mummified six-year-old child dated to the 1700s.

While Facebook has a policy that explicitly bans the ‘buying or selling of human body parts or fluids,’ some users appear to have gotten around the prohibition by taking advantage of the site’s private groups feature. 

Many of the remains listed are claimed to have come from archeological or historical sites around the world, with one seller saying they looted a human skill from catacombs in Sousse, Tunisia, which was offered for $550.

The private groups were discovered by LiveScience, which spent 10 months investigating the listings and cataloging the range of items offered for sale or requested by other users.

Legal experts warn that these practices are also criminal under both US and international law, as well as a threat to governmental and academic efforts to preserve historical artifacts at archeological sites around the world.

‘It is doubtful that any person, even those donating their remains for science, ever wanted to be or expected to be a personal curio for an individual,’ Ryan Seidemann and Christine Halling from the Office of Louisiana’s Attorney General in the Lands & Natural Resources Section Civil Division, jointly told LiveScience in an email.

‘Even more clear are the human remains that derive from tombs or burials. Those people intended for their remains to stay in their burial space.’ 

‘Violation of this intent for the purposes of seeking to privately own or possess the remains is both a legal and an ethical violation.’ 

The investigation documented a wide range of different listings, including one user who was attempting to sell a mummified six-year-old child for around $12,247 (11,000 Euros), claiming they dated back to the 1700s.

One seller listed a human skull for $1,300, claiming it had come from a ‘young teen female,’ but offered no other information on its origin.

A separate listing described an elongated skull claimed to have come from Peru, on sale for $10,500.

It appeared potentially similar to elongated skulls discovered in Peru in 2014, believed to have come from a 2,000 year-old group of hunter gatherers that practiced artificial cranial deformation.

The process typically involved tying cloths or wooden bracing devices around a young child’s head to force it to grow into an elongated shape.

Still another user listed fetal remains preserved in a jar for $2,350, which they claimed was a ‘retired medical specimen.’

Another seller listed an ‘almost full-term’ fetus for $6,495, claiming that its mother had ‘wanted this specimen to live on via preservation and to stimulate curiosity and further education about the human body.’

In recent years, similarly illicit markets for human organs and remains have quietly emerged on eBay and Instagram, prompting new fears that social media and online marketplaces might help popularize what was once an exceedingly rare practice.

Facebook hasn’t made any official announcements about its investigation into the private user groups, but three have already been shut down for undisclosed reasons.

Rare ‘night-shining’ clouds give Dorset church ‘ghostly glow’


Rare ‘night-shining’ clouds give a 12th century church ‘a ghostly glow’ with electric blue and sliver streaks in the night sky over England

  • A photographer snapped a stunning image of ‘night-shining’ in England
  • Formally known as noctilucent clouds, the form in the upper most atmosphere
  • The image was captured around 2am at the  Knowlton Church in Dorset
  • The  The clouds consist of ice crystals that become visible during twilight

A photographer captured a stunning summer phenomenon in the early morning hours that gave a 12th century church a ghostly glow.

Ollie Taylor, an astrophotographer, snapped ‘night-shining’ clouds that lit up the night sky in southwest England with spectacular streaks of blue and silver.

Formally known as noctilucent clouds (NLCs), they form in the mesosphere, which is at altitudes of around 50 miles – making them the highest in Earth’s atmosphere.

The clouds consist of ice crystals that become visible during twilight when the sun is shining from blow the horizon.

A photographer captured a stunning summer phenomenon in the early morning hours that gave a 12th century church a ghostly glow. Ollie Taylor , an astrophotographer, snapped ‘night-shining’ clouds that lit up the night sky in southwest England with spectacular streaks of blue and silver

On June 22, Taylor set out on a mission to capture the nigh-shinning clouds in Dorset, which sits on the south coast of England.

He arrived at the Knowlton Church in the middle of a Neolithic monument and started snapping the scene starting at 2am to 2:50am.

‘It was an excellent night of shooting, arriving at location in the evening already greeted by noctilucent clouds better than I had previously seen in the south of England,’ said Ollie.

‘The electric blue complemented the misty landscape and eerie structure.’

The clouds typically form in late spring and summer when the lower atmosphere becomes warmer. Atmospheric circulation pushes air upwards, which then expands and cools. Water vapor becomes trapped in the clouds, freezes into ice crystals and forms meteoric dust.

The clouds typically form in late spring and summer when the lower atmosphere becomes warmer. Atmospheric circulation pushes air upwards, which then expands and cools. Water vapor becomes trapped in the clouds, freezes into ice crystals and forms meteoric dust.

The clouds appear with electric blue and sliver streaks and are typically spotted at latitudes of 45 and 80 degrees in the northern and southern hemispheres. Pictured are night-shining snapped in 2018 central Russia

The clouds appear with electric blue and sliver streaks and are typically spotted at latitudes of 45 and 80 degrees in the northern and southern hemispheres. Pictured are night-shining snapped in 2018 central Russia

The clouds typically form in late spring and summer when the lower atmosphere becomes warmer.

Atmospheric circulation pushes air upwards, which then expands and cools.

Water vapor becomes trapped in the clouds, freezes into ice crystals and forms meteoric dust.

The clouds appear with electric blue and sliver streaks and are typically spotted at latitudes of 45 and 80 degrees in the northern and southern hemispheres, Newsweek reports.

And the stunning display can even be seen from space, as astronauts aboard the International Space Station have shared pictures of the phenomenon. 

Taylor tracked the clouds using a combination of different sources, including space weather updates, webcam observations and a Facebook group, according to the European Space Agency.

The clouds are typically spotted when the sun is just below the horizon, about 90 minutes to about two hours after sunset or before sunrise. At such times, when the sun is below the ground horizon but visible from the high altitude of NLCs, sunlight lights them up and causes the stunning glow in the night sky

The clouds are typically spotted when the sun is just below the horizon, about 90 minutes to about two hours after sunset or before sunrise. At such times, when the sun is below the ground horizon but visible from the high altitude of NLCs, sunlight lights them up and causes the stunning glow in the night sky

The clouds are typically spotted when the sun is just below the horizon, about 90 minutes to about two hours after sunset or before sunrise.

At such times, when the sun is below the ground horizon but visible from the high altitude of NLCs, sunlight lights them up and causes the stunning glow in the night sky.

Noctilucent clouds were first described in the mid-19th century after the eruption of Krakatau.

Volcanic ash spread through the atmosphere, making for vivid sunsets around the world and provoking the first known observations of NLCs.

At first people thought they were a side-effect of the volcano, but long after Krakatau’s ash settled, the wispy, glowing clouds remained.

Mysterious red glow at the centre of the Milky Way caused by highly energised hydrogen


A red glow at the centre of the Milky Way has been detected for the first time and it could help astronomers discover what powers the centre of our spiral galaxy.

The red light shines out of an area known as the ‘Tilted Disk’ – named for its orientation – that sits in the central bar region of the Milky Way, astronomers said.

A team from the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Florida used the Wisconsin H-Alpha Mapper (WHAM) telescope in Chile to make this dramatic discovery. 

The faint beacon is only just visible from Earth – peaking through a hole in the dust and is a telltale sign of ionised hydrogen gas – coming from newly forming stars. 

Being able to identify and measure this ionised gas allowed the astronomers to compare the centre of the Milky Way to other spiral galaxies more easily.  

The next stage is to find out the source of energy that is powering this newly discovered ionisation at the centre of the galaxy, according to the study authors.

The faint red beacon (highlighted in this artist impression) is only just visible from Earth – peaking through a hole in the dust and is a telltale sign of ionised hydrogen gas – coming from newly forming stars at the centre of the Milky Way

The team say the source of this red beacon of light was found by comparing other colours of visible light coming from ionised nitrogen and oxygen. 

Co author Dr Lawrence Haffner said that without an ongoing source of energy, free electrons usually find each other and recombine to return to a neutral state.

The Embry-Riddle researcher said this happens in a relatively short amount of time.

‘Being able to see ionised gas in new ways should help us discover the kinds of sources that could be responsible for keeping all that gas energised,’ said Haffner.

His colleague Professor Bob Benjamin, of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, was looking at two decades’ worth of WHAM data when he spotted the ‘red flag’.

The peculiar shape poking out of the Milky Way’s dark, dusty centre was ionised hydrogen gas which appears red – and was moving in the direction of Earth.

Optical Milky Way image with an emission line associated with the Tilted Disk showing the location of the 'red light' discovered by the astronomers

Optical Milky Way image with an emission line associated with the Tilted Disk showing the location of the ‘red light’ discovered by the astronomers

The position of the feature couldn’t be explained by known physical phenomena such as galactic rotation, according to the research team.

Dr Haffner said: ‘Being able to make these measurements in optical light allowed us to compare the nucleus of the Milky Way to other galaxies much more easily.

‘Many past studies have measured the quantity and quality of ionised gas from the centres of thousands of spiral galaxies throughout the universe.

‘For the first time, we were able to directly compare measurements from our galaxy to that large population.’

Lead author Dhanesh Krishnarao, a graduate student at University of Wisconsin-Madison, leveraged an existing model to predict how much gas there should be.

Raw data from the WHAM telescope allowed him to refine his calculations until the team had an accurate 3-D picture of the structure.

The study, published in the journal Science Advances, also found that around half of the hydrogen has been ionised by an unknown source.

‘The Milky Way can now be used to better understand its nature,’ Krishnarao said. 

‘Close to the nucleus of the Milky Way gas is ionised by newly forming stars, but as you move further away from the centre, things get more extreme,’ he said.

Further from the centre the gas becomes similar to a class of galaxies called LINERs, or low ionisation (nuclear) emission regions.

The peculiar shape poking out of the Milky Way's dark, dusty centre was ionised hydrogen gas which appears red - and was moving in the direction of Earth. Artists impression

The peculiar shape poking out of the Milky Way’s dark, dusty centre was ionised hydrogen gas which appears red – and was moving in the direction of Earth. Artists impression

The structure appeared to be moving toward Earth because it was on an elliptical orbit interior to the Milky Way’s spiral arms, the researchers found.

LINER-type galaxies such as the Milky Way make up roughly a third of all galaxies. 

They have centres with more radiation than galaxies that are only forming new stars, yet less radiation than those whose supermassive black holes are actively consuming a tremendous amount of material.

‘Before this discovery by WHAM, the Andromeda Galaxy was the closest LINER spiral to us,’ said Dr Haffner, adding that ‘it’s still millions of light-years away.’ 

‘With the nucleus of the Milky Way only tens of thousands of light-years away, we can now study a LINER region in more detail.

This is an optical image of the Milky Way galaxy and to the left of the central bright area is a red spark of light that is made of ionising (highly energetic) hydrogen gas that astronomers hope to be able to use to determine the source of energy that powers our galactic heart

This is an optical image of the Milky Way galaxy and to the left of the central bright area is a red spark of light that is made of ionising (highly energetic) hydrogen gas that astronomers hope to be able to use to determine the source of energy that powers our galactic heart

‘Studying this extended ionized gas should help us learn more about the current and past environment in the center of our Galaxy.’

The researchers now plan to figure out the source of the energy at the centre of the Milky Way that is driving this newly discovered beacon.

Being able to categorise the galaxy based on its level of radiation was an important first step toward that goal, according to Haffner.

‘In the next few years, we hope to build WHAM’s successor, which would give us a sharper view of the gas we study,’ he said.

‘Right now our map `pixels’ are twice the size of the full moon. WHAM has been a great tool for producing the first all-sky survey of this gas, but we’re hungry for more details now.’

The findings have been published in the journal Science Advances. 

HOW OLD IS THE OLDEST STAR IN THE MILKY WAY?

Scientists in Spain have discovered one of the oldest stars in the Milky Way

Scientists in Spain have discovered one of the oldest stars in the Milky Way

A newly discovered star is thought to be one of the oldest in the Milky Way.

Scientists at the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) in Spain believe that it might have formed about 300 million years after the ‘Big Bang’.

IAC researcher Jonay González Hernández said: ‘Theory predicts that these stars could form just after, and using material from, the first supernovae, whose progenitors were the first massive stars in the Galaxy.’

Researchers hope the star, known as J0815+4729, which is in line with the Lynx constellation, will help them learn more about the Big Bang, the popular theory about the galaxy’s evolution.

IAC director Rafael Rebolo said: ‘Detecting lithium gives us crucial information related to Big Bang nucleosynthesis. We are working on a spectrograph of high resolution and wide spectral range in order to be able to measure (among other things) the detailed chemical composition of stars with unique properties such as J0815+4729.’

Miners risked their lives for ochre in Mexican caves 12,000 years ago


Humans living in what is now modern-day Mexico ventured into dangerous caves searching for ochre around 12,000 years ago, a study reveals. 

The red mineral was highly-prized in ancient civilisations as a pigment and it is also believed to have been used as an antiseptic, sunscreen and vermin repellent.  

A series of caves in the Yucatán Peninsula, Quintana Roo, Mexico, which are now underwater, have long been known to divers and they contain remains of Paleoindians, the first people to inhabit the Western hemisphere.  

But the origin of the people entombed here and why they perished in such a treacherous place had long been a mystery.  

Now, archaeologists believe the people who died in the caves were miners searching for the valuable ochre. 

Scroll down for video  

Pictured, a landmark of piled stone and broken speleothems left 10,000-12,000 years ago by the earliest inhabitants of the Western hemisphere to find their way in and out of the oldest ochre mine ever found in the

A diver from Centro Investigador del Sistema Acuífero de Q Roo (CINDAQ A.C.) examines an ochre extraction pit in the oldest ochre mine ever found in the Americas

A diver from Centro Investigador del Sistema Acuífero de Q Roo (CINDAQ A.C.) examines an ochre extraction pit in the oldest ochre mine ever found in the Americas

According to researchers from the University of Missouri who led the study,physical artefacts found inside the caves prove it was mined for ochre. 

Items date back to between 11,400 and 10,700 years ago, the study found.

The caves would have been accessible during the last ice age from around 21,000 years ago, the researchers say. 

However, when the ice age ended and sea levels surged around 8,000 years ago, they dropped below sea level.  

But when they were accessible without SCUBA diving equipment, Paleoindians scoured them for signs of ochre.  

Pictured, a hammer stone made from a piece of speleothem and used by the Paleoindians. The mine holds some the best-preserved evidence of the earliest inhabitants of the hemisphere and was found in a cave that is now underwater in Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula

Pictured, a hammer stone made from a piece of speleothem and used by the Paleoindians. The mine holds some the best-preserved evidence of the earliest inhabitants of the hemisphere and was found in a cave that is now underwater in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula

Ochre was highly-prized in ancient civilisations as a pigment and it is also believed to have been used as an antiseptic, sunscreen and vermin repellent. A series of caves, which are now underwater, have long been known to divers and contain remains of ancient humans

Ochre was highly-prized in ancient civilisations as a pigment and it is also believed to have been used as an antiseptic, sunscreen and vermin repellent. A series of caves, which are now underwater, have long been known to divers and contain remains of ancient humans

Pictured, a diver from Centro Investigador del Sistema Acuífero de Q Roo (CINDAQ A.C.) in the oldest ochre mine ever found in the Americas

Pictured, a diver from Centro Investigador del Sistema Acuífero de Q Roo (CINDAQ A.C.) in the oldest ochre mine ever found in the Americas

Oldest use of bows and arrows outside of Africa found in Sri Lanka

Scientists have discovered evidence of the oldest use of bows and arrows by prehistoric humans outside of Africa, in a cave in Sri Lanka. 

Fragments of arrowheads, made from the bone of boar, deer, primates and other creatures, were used to hunt tree-dwelling animals at least 45,000 years ago. 

The preserved shards, found in the cave of Fa-Hien Lena to the southwest of the Asian island, helped hunters catch speedy rainforest monkeys and squirrels.  

An international team of archaeologists say the arrow fragments are older than any evidence of similar technology found in Europe.   

‘Here, we announce the discovery of the first subterranean ochre mine of Paleoindian age found in the Americas, offering compelling evidence for mining in three cave systems on the eastern Yucatán over a ~2000-year period between ~12 and 10,000 years ago,’ the researchers say in their study. 

Evidence of mining was dated using a combination of radiocarbon dating, calcite formations that form after mining and the documented sea-level rise record.

‘The cave passages exhibit preserved evidence for ochre extraction pits,’ the researchers add. 

‘The sophistication and extent of the activities demonstrate a readiness to venture into the dark zones of the caves to prospect and collect what was evidently a highly valued mineral resource.’

Among the evidence of ancient ochre mining were digging tools, shattered and piled flowstone debris, navigational markers and charcoal made from wood burned by the miners to form torches. 

‘Now that we are alerted to underground ochre mining and its archaeological signatures, additional discoveries are certain to be made in the nearly 2000 km of known cave systems, which will clarify the process and chronology of Paleoindian ochre mining in Quintana Roo,’ the researchers say in their study. 

The full findings are available in the journal Science Advances.  

Artefacts found in the cave date back to between 11,400 and 10,700 years ago. The caves would have been accessible during the last ice age from around 21,000 years ago, the researchers say

Artefacts found in the cave date back to between 11,400 and 10,700 years ago. The caves would have been accessible during the last ice age from around 21,000 years ago, the researchers say

A series of caves, which are now underwater, have long been known to divers and contain remains of ancient humans. But the origin of the people entombed here and why they were in such a treacherous place had long been a mystery

A series of caves, which are now underwater, have long been known to divers and contain remains of ancient humans. But the origin of the people entombed here and why they were in such a treacherous place had long been a mystery

Mysterious red glow at the centre of the Milky Way caused by highly energised hydrogen


A red glow at the centre of the Milky Way has been detected for the first time and it could help astronomers discover what powers the centre of our spiral galaxy.

The red light shines out of an area known as the ‘Tilted Disk’ – named for its orientation – that sits in the central bar region of the Milky Way, astronomers said.

A team from the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Florida used the Wisconsin H-Alpha Mapper (WHAM) telescope in Chile to make this dramatic discovery. 

The faint beacon is only just visible from Earth – peaking through a hole in the dust and is a telltale sign of ionised hydrogen gas – coming from newly forming stars. 

Being able to identify and measure this ionised gas allowed the astronomers to compare the centre of the Milky Way to other spiral galaxies more easily.  

The next stage is to find out the source of energy that is powering this newly discovered ionisation at the centre of the galaxy, according to the study authors.

The faint red beacon (highlighted in this artist impression) is only just visible from Earth – peaking through a hole in the dust and is a telltale sign of ionised hydrogen gas – coming from newly forming stars at the centre of the Milky Way

The team say the source of this red beacon of light was found by comparing other colours of visible light coming from ionised nitrogen and oxygen. 

Co author Dr Lawrence Haffner said that without an ongoing source of energy, free electrons usually find each other and recombine to return to a neutral state.

The Embry-Riddle researcher said this happens in a relatively short amount of time.

‘Being able to see ionised gas in new ways should help us discover the kinds of sources that could be responsible for keeping all that gas energised,’ said Haffner.

His colleague Professor Bob Benjamin, of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, was looking at two decades’ worth of WHAM data when he spotted the ‘red flag’.

The peculiar shape poking out of the Milky Way’s dark, dusty centre was ionised hydrogen gas which appears red – and was moving in the direction of Earth.

Optical Milky Way image with an emission line associated with the Tilted Disk showing the location of the 'red light' discovered by the astronomers

Optical Milky Way image with an emission line associated with the Tilted Disk showing the location of the ‘red light’ discovered by the astronomers

The position of the feature couldn’t be explained by known physical phenomena such as galactic rotation, according to the research team.

Dr Haffner said: ‘Being able to make these measurements in optical light allowed us to compare the nucleus of the Milky Way to other galaxies much more easily.

‘Many past studies have measured the quantity and quality of ionised gas from the centres of thousands of spiral galaxies throughout the universe.

‘For the first time, we were able to directly compare measurements from our galaxy to that large population.’

Lead author Dhanesh Krishnarao, a graduate student at University of Wisconsin-Madison, leveraged an existing model to predict how much gas there should be.

Raw data from the WHAM telescope allowed him to refine his calculations until the team had an accurate 3-D picture of the structure.

The study, published in the journal Science Advances, also found that around half of the hydrogen has been ionised by an unknown source.

‘The Milky Way can now be used to better understand its nature,’ Krishnarao said. 

‘Close to the nucleus of the Milky Way gas is ionised by newly forming stars, but as you move further away from the centre, things get more extreme,’ he said.

Further from the centre the gas becomes similar to a class of galaxies called LINERs, or low ionisation (nuclear) emission regions.

The peculiar shape poking out of the Milky Way's dark, dusty centre was ionised hydrogen gas which appears red - and was moving in the direction of Earth. Artists impression

The peculiar shape poking out of the Milky Way’s dark, dusty centre was ionised hydrogen gas which appears red – and was moving in the direction of Earth. Artists impression

The structure appeared to be moving toward Earth because it was on an elliptical orbit interior to the Milky Way’s spiral arms, the researchers found.

LINER-type galaxies such as the Milky Way make up roughly a third of all galaxies. 

They have centres with more radiation than galaxies that are only forming new stars, yet less radiation than those whose supermassive black holes are actively consuming a tremendous amount of material.

‘Before this discovery by WHAM, the Andromeda Galaxy was the closest LINER spiral to us,’ said Dr Haffner, adding that ‘it’s still millions of light-years away.’ 

‘With the nucleus of the Milky Way only tens of thousands of light-years away, we can now study a LINER region in more detail.

This is an optical image of the Milky Way galaxy and to the left of the central bright area is a red spark of light that is made of ionising (highly energetic) hydrogen gas that astronomers hope to be able to use to determine the source of energy that powers our galactic heart

This is an optical image of the Milky Way galaxy and to the left of the central bright area is a red spark of light that is made of ionising (highly energetic) hydrogen gas that astronomers hope to be able to use to determine the source of energy that powers our galactic heart

‘Studying this extended ionized gas should help us learn more about the current and past environment in the center of our Galaxy.’

The researchers now plan to figure out the source of the energy at the centre of the Milky Way that is driving this newly discovered beacon.

Being able to categorise the galaxy based on its level of radiation was an important first step toward that goal, according to Haffner.

‘In the next few years, we hope to build WHAM’s successor, which would give us a sharper view of the gas we study,’ he said.

‘Right now our map `pixels’ are twice the size of the full moon. WHAM has been a great tool for producing the first all-sky survey of this gas, but we’re hungry for more details now.’

The findings have been published in the journal Science Advances. 

HOW OLD IS THE OLDEST STAR IN THE MILKY WAY?

Scientists in Spain have discovered one of the oldest stars in the Milky Way

Scientists in Spain have discovered one of the oldest stars in the Milky Way

A newly discovered star is thought to be one of the oldest in the Milky Way.

Scientists at the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) in Spain believe that it might have formed about 300 million years after the ‘Big Bang’.

IAC researcher Jonay González Hernández said: ‘Theory predicts that these stars could form just after, and using material from, the first supernovae, whose progenitors were the first massive stars in the Galaxy.’

Researchers hope the star, known as J0815+4729, which is in line with the Lynx constellation, will help them learn more about the Big Bang, the popular theory about the galaxy’s evolution.

IAC director Rafael Rebolo said: ‘Detecting lithium gives us crucial information related to Big Bang nucleosynthesis. We are working on a spectrograph of high resolution and wide spectral range in order to be able to measure (among other things) the detailed chemical composition of stars with unique properties such as J0815+4729.’

Terrifying model of the remote home worker of 2045 revealed 


Experts have created a model depicting what Brits could look like if we were to work from home for the rest of our life. 

The home worker of 2045 is represented by ‘Susan’, a scary rendering created by clinical psychologists and fitness experts.

Susan suffers from hunched shoulders, double chin, obesity and ‘digital eye strain’ – dry, bloodshot eyes as a result of staring at a computer screen all day long.

The model portrays the effects isolated working can have on our bodies if we don’t take the necessary steps to avoid them, according to job experts DirectlyApply.

While many remote workers have enjoyed the extra sleep and comfy work attire during the coronavirus lockdown, future pandemics could mean the benefits are far outweighed by long-term physical effects on our body. 

Meet Susan! Job experts DirectlyApply have created the model depicting what we could look like if we worked from home permanently 

‘With lockdown having forced people across the globe into what has been the world’s largest remote working experiment, our usual interpretation of the perk has been transformed forever,’ said a spokesperson at DirectlyApply.

‘Whilst your bed-to-desk commute may allow for more free time and independence, will the physical repercussions to your mind and body be worth it in the future?

‘From reduced social interaction and lack of proper exercise, to hunched shoulders and digital eye strain – Susan outlines the many physical implications of what spending hours glued to your laptop can unknowingly be doing to your physical and mental well-being.’

Let’s take a look at the various problems faced by Susan and other unfortunate home workers in the world of 2045. 

Computer vision syndrome

Staring at screens all day can also cause digital eye strain or computer vision syndrome, which results from repetitive eye movements.

This results in dry, inflamed and bloodshot eyes, as well as eye irritation, redness and blurred vision.

As well as giving us a frightening red tint to our eyes, over time the conditions can also negatively impact our eyesight.

Eye experts recommend taking breaks from the screen, sitting about two feet away from a computer screen, reducing the glare with softer lighting and making sure prescriptions are up to date if we wear glasses.

Dr Matthew Gardiner, an ophthalmologist with Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, advises taking a break from electronic screens every 15 to 30 minutes, just for a minute.

‘Look away from the screen. Do something else, and refocus on a distant target,’ he said.

Susan was created by a team of clinical psychologists and fitness experts who determined the effects remote working has on both our physical and mental health

Susan was created by a team of clinical psychologists and fitness experts who determined the effects remote working has on both our physical and mental health

Poor posture

Lack of physical exercise and too much time spent with poor posture in front of a screen can result in a hyper-extended neck, rounded shoulders and a hunchback that develops over time.

It will work its way from our neck to your hands and back as the strains slowly creates a bend in the neck.

Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) in New York estimates that we start to slouch after just 15 minutes of sitting or standing in the same place.

It therefore advises that home workers remind themselves regularly of their position on a chair and readjust if we need to.

‘Even if you’re comfortable, you should never sit in one position for more than an hour,’ HSS says.

‘Getting up and moving around every 30 to 40 minutes is recommended. It also reminds you to reset your posture when you go back to work.’ 

The coronavirus lockdown period is a good time to start regular at-home workouts to hold off bad posture and symptoms of frailty.  

The model portrays the effects isolated working can have on your body if we don¿t take the necessary steps to avoid them, such as regular breaks from our computer, drinking lots of water and getting exercise during our lunch break

The model portrays the effects isolated working can have on your body if we don’t take the necessary steps to avoid them, such as regular breaks from our computer, drinking lots of water and getting exercise during our lunch break

Repetitive typing strain

Repetitive typing strain is a general term used to describe the pain felt in muscles, nerves and tendons caused by repetitive movement and overuse. 

In our hands and wrists it manifests itself as hot or tingly feelings, pain, aching or tenderness, weakness or cramp.  

Repetitive strain injury can significantly worsen and result in poor posture in other parts of the body over time.

The NHS recommends maintaining good posture at work, taking regular breaks from long or repetitive tasks and making sure our work seat, keyboard, mouse and screen are positioned so they cause the least amount of strain. 

And computer users can also avoid the effects of typing strain by not bashing away at the keyboard too hard, however important that email is.  

‘Tech neck’

Working from a device such as a phone or laptop can contribute to the modern term ‘tech neck’, also referred to as cervical kyphosis, leading to an abnormal curvature of the cervical spine, or neck. 

It’s caused by stressing muscles while using phones, tablets, and computers, resulting in neck and shoulder pain, stiffness and soreness.

As well as a curved neck, it leads to a rounder shoulder and often counter strain in different parts of the body such as increased lower back pain and shortened hamstrings.

To avoid tech neck, Dr Daniel Riew, Professor of Orthopedic Surgery at Columbia University Medical Center in New York, says we should get up from our chairs and move around as frequently as possible. 

‘If you have a sedentary sitting job, at least every 15 to 30 minutes, you should get up and walk around, even if it’s for a minute,’ he said.

Working from a device such as a phone or laptop can contribute to the modern term ¿tech neck¿, also referred to as cervical kyphosis

Working from a device such as a phone or laptop can contribute to the modern term ‘tech neck’, also referred to as cervical kyphosis 

‘That’ll get blood circulating, and it will get your neck in a different position [and] it’s not only good for your neck, but also the rest of your body. 

‘Studies show that sitting for long periods is dangerous to your heart and that it leads to a shortened life span.’

Home workers should also get a chair that reclines with a good lumbar support, and lean back as much as practical while you’re working, which will take the pressure off of the neck muscles so that they aren’t strained, and, if possible, spend much of the day working standing up.   

Hair loss

Vitamin D is mostly absorbed from sun exposure, so working indoors all day can leave the body deficient.

This can cause hair loss while simultaneously stunting the growth of new hair.

The best way to avoid this is making use of our lunch break to get some sunlight by popping to the shops, running errands or even taking a calming break in the garden or outdoor area if we have access to one. 

Pale, dull and wrinkly skin

Lacking in Vitamin D and B-12 due to reduced sunlight exposure can result in pale, dull and malnourished looking skin.

To avoid this, again, get out and about and enjoy the fresh air during the precious lunch break – and insist on taking it. 

It’s also very important to use skin-protecting products at the height of summer or any other time the sun is out, including sun scream and a bit sun hat. 

While we don’t know Susan’s age, she also shows an abundance of wrinkles. 

While wrinkles are a natural part of ageing, certain habits such as squinting at a screen all day can increase the onset of premature lines forming beneath the surface of the skin, leading to wrinkles such as crows feet or frown lines. 

Drinking plenty of water, avoiding smoking and protecting oneself from the sun’s rays are all good ways to keep our skin smooth and healthy. 

The coronavirus lockdown period is a good time to start regular at-home workouts to hold off symptoms of frailty

The coronavirus lockdown period is a good time to start regular at-home workouts to hold off symptoms of frailty 

Dark circles

Staring at multiple screens while working all day can cause prominent dark circles to form in the skin under your eyes, leaving us looking tired and haggard after prolonged periods.

According to the Mayo Clinic research centre in the US, we can avoid the baggy eye look by cutting down on fluids before bedtime and reducing salt in our diet, avoiding smoking and getting enough sleep – for most adults, seven to nine hours per night.  

Dark circles caused by fluid retention in our lower eyelids usually go away when we get up.   

Obesity

Long periods of being stuck inside, constant snacking and lack of exercise can lead to an excess body fat accumulating over time.

Working from home may also mean it’s tempting to head to the fridge and the cupboards every hour or so, but this can sometimes only be a result of boredom rather than hunger.

So try to avoid snacking between meals – which can be the main culprit for putting on weight – exercise, get out the house and draw up a diet plan to stop piling on the pounds.

Increased stress

Going without human contact and overworking for long periods of time can lead to higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which raises blood pressure and has harmful effects on physical health.

We mustn’t forget to check in with our colleagues and friends through a video chat and try to get out to meet friends and members of the local community when social distancing guidelines deem it safe. 

TIPS ON HOW TO AVOID LOOKING LIKE SUSAN 

The DirectApply study has come up with some ‘top remote leaning tips’ on how to maintain a good level of physical and mental health.  

1. Routine

When working remotely it’s important to maintain a steady routine. 

Chartered counselling psychologist Dr Rachel M Allan says sticking to a routine that suits our lives, productivity levels and our job demands is ‘essential to maintaining emotional health when working remotely’. 

‘Routine empowers us to manage our time, and optimise our focus. 

‘Think about how you want to manage your time and what would work best in the broader context of your life.’

2. Nurture social connections

One of the main challenges we face with remote working is the lack of face to face human contact. 

Clinical psychologist Dr Kate Brierton says that going without human contact for long periods of time can lead to higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which raises blood pressure and has harmful effects on physical health. 

Positive working relationships are good for morale, productivity and boosting emotional health at work. 

According to Dr Allan, some of our most important professional relationships have their origins in ‘informal chats and unstructured moments that occur organically in the physical workplace’. 

‘Remote working may require us to consciously build in opportunities to connect informally with colleagues.’

3. Exercise 

Being stuck sitting in front of a screen all day can mean we’re significantly lacking in physical activity. It’s important to take time to exercise and get some fresh air after a long day of remote working. 

Joe Mitton, Personal Trainer at Mittfit recommends Yoga as ‘the perfect remedy for stiffness and ‘tech neck’. 

4. Work-life balance 

It’s easy to lose track of work-life balance when remote working. 

Dr Brierton advises to ‘remind yourself that you need down-time so you can stay healthy and be the best version of yourself both at work and home’. 

‘Try to have a delineated home-working space if you can, ideally a separate room, but if that’s not possible, delineate the space with the way you lay out the furniture, use some house plants or pictures to mark your working space, or divide the floor space with a rug. 

‘Set a reminder up on your phone or screen to take regular breaks, getting up and moving around, eating and drinking properly and getting outside for some physical exercise if possible.’

5. Use your free time wisely 

One of the great benefits of remote working is the fact that you don’t have to commute, with all the stress of driving at rush hour or using busy public transport.

Dr Brierton reveals that remote working is a great time-saver and opportunity ‘to support your physical and emotional health. 

‘You could spend that time socialising with friends and family, taking a walk in nature, or doing a fitness activity you enjoy. 

‘All of these activities are good for us and will improve your overall performance at work more than simply having a longer working day.’

6. More collaboration 

Working remotely doesn’t have to mean working alone and is actually the perfect opportunity to improve teamwork and improve collaboration. 

Physiotherapist Emma James recommends setting up ‘team meetings and encouraging movement within the meeting – perhaps as part of team building initiative, 10 o ’clock meeting is “sip and stretch”.’

This will also encourage better organisation and structure between co-workers.