Hubble Spies Glittering Star Cluster in Nearby Galaxy

NASA – Hubble Space Telescope patch.

Oct. 19, 2018

This glittering ball of stars is the globular cluster NGC 1898, which lies toward the center of the Large Magellanic Cloud — one of our closest cosmic neighbors. The Large Magellanic Cloud is a dwarf galaxy that hosts an extremely rich population of star clusters, making it an ideal laboratory for investigating star formation.

Discovered in November 1834 by British astronomer John Herschel, NGC 1898 has been scrutinized numerous times by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. Today we know that globular clusters are some of the oldest known objects in the universe and that they are relics of the first epochs of galaxy formation. While we already have a pretty good picture on the globular clusters of the Milky Way — still with many unanswered questions — our studies on globular clusters in nearby dwarf galaxies just started. The observations of NGC 1898 will help to determine whether their properties are similar to the ones found in the Milky Way, or if they have different features, due to being in a different cosmic environment.

Hubble Space Telescope (HST)

This image was taken by Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) and Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3).

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Image, Animation, Credits: ESA/Hubble & NASA/Text: European Space Agency (ESA)/NASA/Karl Hille.

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An artificial moon to light up the Earth

China artificial Moon illustration.

Oct. 19, 2018

Beijing would like to reflect sunlight on Earth overnight to achieve lighting savings.

China wants to launch in space by 2020 an “artificial Moon”, which would reflect on Earth the sunlight during the night and would achieve savings in lighting, said Friday a state media.

Russian project “Mayak satellite”

This satellite equipped with a reflective film would be responsible for illuminating the large city of Chengdu (southwest) and should be eight times brighter than the lunar body, reports the China Daily.

A first copy should first be sent to space, followed by the success of three others in 2022, Wu Tengfeng, the head of the Tianfu New Area Science Society, told Xinhua.

“The first Moon will be mainly experimental, but the three sent in 2022 will be the real finished product. They will have great potential in terms of services to the people and from a commercial point of view, “Wu said.

Significant electricity savings

By sending sunlight back to Earth, the satellite, which would evolve at an altitude of 500 km, is supposed to be able to partially replace streetlights. It could save Chengdu about 1.2 billion yuan (about 170 million francs) of electricity a year if it can illuminate an area of ​​50 square kilometers.

The artificial light source could also be used after natural disasters, by deflecting solar rays to terrestrial areas where power was cut off, Wu Chunfeng said. AFP could not contact Mr. Wu or his institution directly.

Russian project “Znamya”

Beijing has for many years been conducting an ambitious space program to catch up with the United States and Russia. The country plans to send a small robot named Chang’e-4 on the far side of the moon by the end of 2018.

China is not the first country to try to reflect the sun’s rays on the Earth. In the 1990s, Russian scientists had developed a similar project called Znamya (“Banner”), stopped after some tests.

Images, Text, Credits: Tianfu New Area Science Society/IEEE Spectrum/AFP/GM Productions/Mike Fisher/ Aerospace/Roland Berga.

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Immune Avengers Assemble There are membranes wrapped around…

Immune Avengers Assemble

There are membranes wrapped around all of our cells, and single-celled organisms like bacteria, too. But they do more than just hold everything in – tiny tunnel-like pores control the flow of important chemicals in and out. Usually this delicate balance helps life along. But here is a pore-making protein that can kill. The complement membrane attack complex (MAC) assembles from a group of proteins in our blood, triggered by our immune system to punch holes in nasty pathogens like bacteria – its long strands piercing the cell surface while precious chemicals burst out. Examining the structure of MAC using cryogenic electron microscopy allows scientists to spot a crucial step in how these avenging proteins come together – slotting together a series of identical protein pieces into a ring shape, before it can begin to penetrate the cell. This insight may help the design of drugs to help MAC tackle infections.

Written by John Ankers

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