Not one galaxy, but two, afforded by the pristine skies of Yosemite National Park. […]
A new line of modular phone cases includes a 4-in-one “EnviroSensor” that measures air quality, which can help you avoid prolonged exposure to unhealthy environments. […]
What are terpenes? Terpenes are naturally occurring volatile compounds responsible for much of the flavors and aromas within plants. Ever pop open a fresh bag only to be hit in the face with a lemony or pine-forward scent? Those aromas are a result of different combinations of terpenes. But terps affect more than just the […]
A telescope in Chile has captured some of the most detailed photos of the Milky Way galaxy from the southern hemisphere. The Atacama Pathfinder EXperiment telescope, known as APEX, just completed a survey of the galaxy during which it mapped the galactic plane that is visible from the southern hemisphere. In its quest, the telescope was able to map an area four times the size of previous surveys and showcases the galaxy’s cold gas. It also includes a bevy of star formations. APEX, which is run in collaboration with the European Southern Observatory, is located 5100 m above sea level on Chiles’s Chajnantor Plateau in Chile’s Atacama region. The Observatory’s Leonardo Testi says the latest survey allowed scientists to have a ” new and transformational look at the dense interstellar medium of our own galaxy, the Milky Way.” “The new release of the full survey opens up the possibility to mine this marvelous dataset for new discoveries, Testi said in a statement. […]
MoreSay Hello to the ‘Club Sandwich’ MoonOn #SpaceDay, the Month’s Most Beautiful Space PhotosThis Is NASA’s Spacesuit of the FutureAstronomers have long known that stars are born, not one at a time in isolation, but in huge litters, all at once. In the Sun’s case, it happened about 4.6 billion years ago: a huge molecular cloud of interstellar gas and dust collapsed under the force of gravity, heating up until the densest, hottest knots of matter burst into thermonuclear flame and began to shine. The Sun has somewhere between 1,000 and 10,000 brothers and sisters, but over the eons they all wandered off into other parts of the galaxy, never to be seen again. MoreThe Best Astronomy Photos of 2014 from the Astronomical LeagueBrilliant Star Clusters in the Flame Nebula Hold the Mysteries of Star FormationBoko Haram Video: We’ll Exchange Nigerian Girls For Prisoners NBC NewsMen Charged With Toppling Ancient Rock Formation Avoid Jail Time Huffington PostComet Outlives Predictions Weather.comOr at least, not until now. A team of astronomers led by Ivan Ramirez of the University of Texas at Austin thinks it has found one of the Sun’s long-lost siblings— a star known HD 162826, which is floating through the Milky Way about 110 light-years from Earth, near the constellation Lyra. “We were really just doing this as an experiment,” says Ramirez, lead author of a paper on the discovery which will appear in the June 1 Astrophysical Journal, “to test our search technique. The fact that we actually found it makes this even cooler.” Popular Among Subscribers Vladimir Putin’s War Subscribe Thomas Piketty: Marx 2.010 Questions with Barry GibbThe idea behind a search for solar siblings is straightforward enough. Each star-forming molecular cloud has a slightly different chemical composition, based on both its age and its location in the galaxy—a sort of cosmic DNA that carries over to the stars that emerge from the cloud. Find a star with that same DNA, and you’ve found a sibling. In practice, though, it’s a bit more complicated. You can’t measure those fingerprints with absolute accuracy; two clouds might be similar enough to fool you. So while Ramirez and his team identified 30 probable candidates from earlier searches done by other astronomers, they went a step further: they took precise measurements of the candidates’ distance from the Sun and their motion, allowing them to reconstruct the stars’ paths through space since they began to wander off. Once they’d done that, only HD 162826 made the cut. It’s not a twin of the Sun: HD 162826 is about 15% more massive than our home star. That’s no surprise, however since a given molecular cloud will give rise to stars of varied sizes. (Ramirez was also on a team that found a near-twin of the Sun in 2007—but that one is about a billion years younger, and was born from a different cloud.) It’s actually surprising that the astronomers found even one solar sibling. The Sun’s brothers and sisters could have wandered thousands of light-years since their birth, nudged here and there by gravitational encounters with gas clouds and with other stars. “Estimates of how many we’d be likely to find here in the solar neighborhood have been quite pessimistic,” says Ramirez—one at the most, and quite possibly zero. Finding just one solar sibling isn’t going to tell astronomers all that much by itself, and since a star’s travels are difficult to reconstruct without knowing precisely where it is today and how it’s moving, it’s currently impossible to search for the Sun’s blood relatives further out than about 300 light-years. “We don’t have accurate distances any further than that,” says Ramirez. But a new European satellite called Gaia, launched last December, will change all that. It’s slated to get precise information on the positions, distances, chemical abundances and more for a billion different stars, reaching to the center of the Milky Way, thousands of light-years away our solar system. Armed with that information, Ramirez and other astronomers will not only be able pinpoint many more of the Sun’s long-lost siblings, but they’ll also figure out the common origin of thousands of other stars. “Grouping stars according to their origins,” he says, “and understanding how they spread out over the past few billion years, is really crucial to understanding how the Milky Way has evolved.” It’s also oddly reassuring to know where the Sun’s family has ended up after so much time. HD 162826 has been under observation for some time, purely by coincidence, to see if it might have planets. Nothing has turned up yet, but the searches aren’t sensitive enough to detect Earthlike planets. It’s not impossible that we’ll someday learn that this first rediscovered Solar sibling has children—and that Earth itself has a first cousin. […]
As “My Cat From Hell” returns to “Animal Planet” for a fifth season, HuffPost TV spoke with Jackson Galaxy for a friendly reminder that basically everything we think we know about cats is wrong. Galaxy, the most (/only) famous cat behaviorist in the world, elaborated on the beauty of pet parenthood and all the kitty I-love-you’s you’ve been missing out on.
When cats blink, they’re basically saying “I love you” …
For cats, communicating love is the equivalent of communicating vulnerability. As a prey animal, a long blink is actually a very important feline gesture, because it surrenders the animal to harm and sends up a message of trust. “When a cat shuts their eyes to you for an extended period, it’s a grand gesture,” Galaxy explained. “It is to say to a potential predator, ‘Go ahead, I trust that you won’t kill me.'”
… and rolling over on their back doesn’t just mean they want a belly rub.
As Galaxy knows all too well, most people think of a cat rolling over as “an invitation to go and pet their tummy,” but it goes back to that idea of being vulnerable — what he considers the “highest compliment” a cat can give you. “What they are showing you, by exposing their midline, is ‘This is my most vulnerable spot, if you were a predator, you could eviscerate me right now. Just like the blink is the cat I-love-you, this is the cat version of a hug,” said Galaxy.
Cats rarely attempt to make statements (read: peeing outside the litter box does not mean Princess Sparkles “hates” you) …
In all the time he’s spent with cats and their pet parents, Galaxy knows that they can function almost as “four-legged tabula rasa … just ripe for projection.” That idea that all of a cat’s behavior can be understood as a “statement” is wrong. The answer usually lies in some issue with their surroundings.
… and when cats are acting out, there is usually a reason.
Cat behavior is not random. Of course, some of any feline’s behavior can be attributed to their inherent disposition, but environment is almost always a factor. Galaxy said, “It’s so much easier for us to treat cat behavior in a vacuum, as opposed to treating it as a reflection of our own social dynamic.”
All cats have different personalities, and it’s silly to assume they all follow the same pattern of behavior.
Understanding your cat’s temperament can be crucial to raising a well-behaved animal. To encourage this, Galaxy sometimes has pet parents create a backstory for their cat. Especially when it comes to rescue cats, owners often don’t know their story. “I really believe that if you put on those glasses and look at their world with stakes involved, as if it matters, then you will start to solve their problems,” he said.
Cats need (and enjoy) our attention …
One of the most common misconceptions about cats is that they want to be left alone. Galaxy disagrees. “We absolutely need to be interactive with cats, they shouldn’t just be on the periphery,” he said. “Your job as a pet parent extends beyond cleaning the litter box and putting out food.”
… in fact, you should actively be making time to play with them.
Again, because cats are prey animals, spending time with them is crucial to letting them expend their natural energy. Even if you’re hyper busy, Galaxy encourages at least 10 minutes of “brushing or loving.” He says that quality time will make a difference, even “if you can just sit next to them or make sure they are happy and stimulated” in your home.
“My Cat From Hell” premieres Saturday, April 26, at 8 p.m. EDT on Animal Planet.