Tag Archive: Johns Hopkins University


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Scientists get first glimpse of black hole eating star, ejecting high-speed flare

Date:
November 27, 2015
Source:
Johns Hopkins University
Summary:
An international team of astrophysicists has for the first time witnessed a star being swallowed by a black hole and ejecting a flare of matter moving at nearly the speed of light.

This artists impression shows a black hole consuming a star that has been torn apart by the black hole’s strong gravity. As a result of this massive “meal” the black hole begins to launch a powerful jet that we can detect with radio telescopes.
Credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center/Swift

An international team of astrophysicists led by a Johns Hopkins University scientist has for the first time witnessed a star being swallowed by a black hole and ejecting a flare of matter moving at nearly the speed of light.

The finding reported in the journal Science tracks the star — about the size of our sun — as it shifts from its customary path, slips into the gravitational pull of a supermassive black hole and is sucked in, said Sjoert van Velzen, a Hubble fellow at Johns Hopkins.

“These events are extremely rare,” van Velzen said. “It’s the first time we see everything from the stellar destruction followed by the launch of a conical outflow, also called a jet, and we watched it unfold over several months.”

Black holes are areas of space so dense that irresistible gravitational force stops the escape of matter, gas and even light, rendering them invisible and creating the effect of a void in the fabric of space. Astrophysicists had predicted that when a black hole is force-fed a large amount of gas, in this case a whole star, then a fast-moving jet of plasma — elementary particles in a magnetic field — can escape from near the black hole rim, or “event horizon.” This study suggests this prediction was correct, the scientists said.

“Previous efforts to find evidence for these jets, including my own, were late to the game,” said van Velzen, who led the analysis and coordinated the efforts of 13 other scientists in the United States, the Netherlands, Great Britain and Australia.

Supermassive black holes, the largest of black holes, are believed to exist at the center of most massive galaxies. This particular one lies at the lighter end of the supermassive black hole spectrum, at only about a million times the mass of our sun, but still packing the force to gobble a star.

The first observation of the star being destroyed was made by a team at the Ohio State University, using an optical telescope in Hawaii. That team announced its discovery on Twitter in early December 2014.

After reading about the event, van Velzen contacted an astrophysics team led by Rob Fender at the University of Oxford in Great Britain. That group used radio telescopes to follow up as fast as possible. They were just in time to catch the action.

By the time it was done, the international team had data from satellites and ground-based telescopes that gathered X-ray, radio and optical signals, providing a stunning “multi-wavelength” portrait of this event.

It helped that the galaxy in question is closer to Earth than those studied previously in hopes of tracking a jet emerging after the destruction of a star. This galaxy is about 300 million light years away, while the others were at least three times farther away. One light year is 5.88 trillion miles.

The first step for the international team was to rule out the possibility that the light was from a pre-existing expansive swirling mass called an “accretion disk” that forms when a black hole is sucking in matter from space. That helped to confirm that the sudden increase of light from the galaxy was due to a newly trapped star.

“The destruction of a star by a black hole is beautifully complicated, and far from understood,” van Velzen said. “From our observations, we learn the streams of stellar debris can organize and make a jet rather quickly, which is valuable input for constructing a complete theory of these events.”

Van Velzen last year completed his doctoral dissertation at Radboud University in the Netherlands, where he studied jets from supermassive black holes. In the last line of the dissertation, he expressed his hope to discover these events within four years. It turned out to take only a few months after the ceremony for his dissertation defense.

Van Velzen and his team were not the only ones to hunt for radio signals from this particular unlucky star. A group at Harvard observed the same source with radio telescopes in New Mexico and announced its results online. Both teams presented results at a workshop in Jerusalem in early November. It was the first time the two competing teams had met face to face.

“The meeting was an intense, yet very productive exchange of ideas about this source,” van Velzen said. “We still get along very well; I actually went for a long hike near the Dead Sea with the leader of the competing group.”


Story Source:

The above post is reprinted from materials provided by Johns Hopkins University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. S. van Velzen, G. E. Anderson, N. C. Stone, M. Fraser, T. Wevers, B. D. Metzger, P. G. Jonker, A. J. van der Horst, T. D. Staley, A. J. Mendez, J. C. A. Miller-Jones, S. T. Hodgkin, H. C. Campbell, R. P. Fender. A radio jet from the optical and X-ray bright stellar tidal disruption flare ASASSN-14li. Science, 2015; DOI: 10.1126/science.aad1182

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Nov 9, 2015

 

Burning Frankincense in the form of incense has been a big part of religious and other cultural ceremonies for a millennium.  The resin from the Boswellia tree also known as Frankincense or olibanum is believed to be an aroma that will help your soul reach spiritual exaltation.

Frankincense resin is mentioned in many different ancient texts including the old and new testament and is said to have mystical capabilities, a belief that has been carried forward to the spiritual practices of today.

Recently a team of researchers from Johns Hopkins University and the Hebrew University in Jerusalem did a study to see what the effects were of this age-old practice.  They studied Frankincense to determine why it has psychoactive effects.

In order to conduct the study and observe the effects of Frankincense on the mind, the researchers administered a primary Boswellia resin incensole acetate to some mice.  The team found that the ‘incensole acetate’ influences the areas of the brain which regulate emotions.

Specifically the insense activated the protein TRPV3 which is common in all mammal brains.  This protein is already known to help play a role in our skins perception of warmth.  The effect on the mind, however,  has a strong anti-depressant and anxiolytic effect which can leave you feeling open and relaxed.  Frankincense helps your mind to rest and simply perceive the world around it.

 

 

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Health Impact News

Broccoli Sprouts Macro

by Paul Fassa
Health Impact News

It’s well known among health conscious consumers and holistic health practitioners that broccoli and other related cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower, cabbage, garden cress, bok choy, and brussels sprouts offer antioxidant protection against developing cancer.

Micro-nutrients that protect against cancer, known as isothiocyanates, are high in broccoli. The most powerful isothiocyanate tumor stifling ingredient recently isolated from broccoli is known as sulforaphane. But the amount of broccoli needed to protect against cancer is beyond the comfort zone of most modern folks.

And the fact that so few are raw vegans puts broccoli into various types of cookware. Cooking destroys many enzymes in veggies that are needed to metabolize whatever macro and micro nutrients are available with raw vegetables.

However a powerful solution exists with broccoli sprouts. The sprouts are more nutrient dense and contain up to 50 times or more of the amount of sulforaphane than normal broccoli.

More importantly, sprouts are eaten raw with other foods, which keeps their vital enzymes intact. [1]

Sandwiches of all types, scrambled eggs, soups, and salads are enjoyed even more by adding crunchy broccoli sprouts, which are as tasty as popular alfalfa sprouts. It doesn’t get any easier or tastier than that to increase one’s cancer fighting food intake.

The Research and Legal Saga of Broccoli Sprouts

There have been several studies that confirm not only broccoli sprouts’ ability to resist cancer tumors from forming, but also to resist heart failure, high blood pressure (hypertension), stomach ulcers, asthma, and inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.

Perhaps the most profoundly famous and notoriously infamous study was conducted by researchers at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. It was profound because they isolated previously unknown powerful anti-cancer properties of broccoli sprouts.

It was notoriously infamous because they tried to patent broccoli sprout seeds for monetary gain. The problem was they didn’t genetically modify the seed or even create a hybrid.

After the Johns Hopkins broccoli sprout studies, which had started around 1992, one of the researchers, Dr. Paul Talalay, formed the corporation Brassica Protection Products (BPP) to “…exploit the financial benefits of my findings.” [2]

 Crossroads News : Changes In The World Around Us And Our Place In It

 

Science  :  Archaeology

 

Stephanie Pappas, LiveScience Senior Writer
NASA Goddard dinosaur tracks.
The 12-inch-wide footprint belonged to an armored, tank-like plant-eater.
CREDIT: NASA/GSFC/Rebecca Roth

At NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, some of the most brilliant minds in the world work to build the spacecraft that humans use to explore their universe. But where space scientists now roam, dinosaurs used to call home, according to dino-hunter Ray Stanford.

Stanford has discovered the footprint of a lumbering, spiny dinosaur called a nodosaur in NASA’s own backyard on the Goddard Space Flight Center campus. NASA officials aren’t disclosing the precise location of the print, fearing that someone might damage or try to remove the fossilized track.

The dinner-plate-sized footprint bears the mark of four dino toes. It belongs to a nodosaur, a tank-like, armored beast studded with bony protuberances that roamed the area about 110 million years ago during the Cretaceous period, which lasted from about 125 million to 65 million years ago. Nodosaurs were plant-eaters, and this one appeared to be moving quickly across the Cretaceous mud, as its heel did not sink deeply into the ground. [See Images of the Ancient Dino-Print]

NASA Goddard dinosaur tracks.
Dinosaur hunter Ray Stanford cleans the nodosaur track. The location of the print is being kept secret to protect it.
CREDIT: NASA/GSFC/Rebecca Roth

Stanford, an amateur paleontologist who has had several papers published, confirmed his find with Johns Hopkins University dinosaur expert David Weishampel. On Aug. 17, Stanford shared the location of the find with Goddard officials and with Washington Post reporter Brian Vastag, who made the discovery public the same day.

Stanford also found several smaller dinosaur footprints in the area, likely from meat-eating theropods. He called the location “poetic.”

“Space scientists may walk along here, and they’re walking exactly where this big, bungling heavy-armored dinosaur walked, maybe 110 to 112-million years ago,” Stanford told Goddard officials.

Maryland is no spring chicken when it comes to dinosaur fossils; in fact, the corridor between Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, Md., is known as “Dinosaur Alley,” because so many of the beasts’ fossils were discovered during iron mining in the 18th and 19th centuries, according to Weishampel. “Today, Maryland remains the only source of Early Cretaceous dinosaur fossils on the East Coast,” he wrote in a 1996 article for Johns Hopkins University magazine.