▼ Delhi is in Zone IV regarding seismicity: Bureau of Indian Standards [07-29-16]
According to Bureau of Indian Standards, based on past seismic history, Delhi lies in Zone IV which has fairly high seismicity wherein the general occurrence of earthquakes is of 5-6 magnitude and slightly higher magnitude.
- Delhi is in the high risk area and an advanced 15 station Seismic Telemetry System is already working under NCS to detect and locate earthquakes around Delhi.
- NCS also completed seismic micro-zonation of Delhi-NCR on a 1:10,000 scale providing additional inputs regarding underlying soil in the assessment of damage potential.
▼ Jupiter’s Great Red Spot the mysterious heat source behind the upper atmospheric temperatures: NASA [07-29-16]
Jupiter’s Great Red Spot with its swirl of reddish hues could be the mysterious heat source behind the upper atmospheric temperature according to new NASA funded research.
- GRS was discovered in the 17th century.
- It is 2-3 times as wide as earth and seen as a hurricane with winds peaking at 400 miles/hour.
- Sunlight heats the earth atmosphere at altitudes well above the surface; scientists were unsure regarding the temperature in Jupiter’s upper atmosphere with the giant planet being located 5 times the distance from the Sun.
- Researchers from NASA analysed data from the SpeX spectrometer at NASA Infrared Telescope Facility in Mauna Kea, Hawaii.
- Through the observation of the non visible infrared light miles above the gas giant, scientists have found temperature to be higher in certain latitudes and longitudes in the southern hemisphere where the spot of Jupiter is located.
- The study found that a storm in the Great Red Spot produced 2 kinds of turbulent energy waves colliding and heating the upper atmosphere.
- Heating in the upper atmosphere 500 miles above the Great Red Spot is caused by a combination of waves crashing like ocean waves on a beach.
▼ Scientists identify new species of beaked whales [07-28-16]
Scientists have identified a rare new species of beaked whales measuring up to 7 metres that range from northern Japan across the Pacific Ocean to Aleutian Islands in Alaska.
- The enigmatic black whale has been called karasu, the Japanese word for raven.
- The new species are darker in colour and 2/3 the size of the common Baird Beaked whale.
- DNA analysis of 178 beaked whales from around the Pacific Rim found 8 known examples of the new species.
- An earlier Japanese study had suggested black whales might represent a new species.
▼ Nikon launched world’s first autofocus lens with 105 mm focal length and f/1.4 aperture [07-28-16]
Nikon has launched the new AF-S NIKKOR 105 mm f/1.4E ED mid telephoto fixed focal length aimed at professional photographers.
- This is held to be the world’s first camera with autofocus lens with 105mm focal length and f/1.4 aperture.
- Lens has a combination of innovation and considerably optimal optical performance.
- Creation of shallow depth of field is now easy thanks to this camera; gradual alteration in the focus position results in the creation of natural reproduction of the subject’s depth.
▼ US researchers find antibodies for Zika virus [07-28-16]
US researchers have located antibodies in lab mice to prevent infection with the mosquito borne Zika virus in what is a crucial step towards vaccine development.
- Research shows 6 antibodies interact with the virus and they are specific enough to Zika virus.
- Some of the antibodies have been able to neutralise Asian, African and American strains of Zika Virus to some degree.
- Further research should focus on finding ways to vaccinate pregnant women.
- Antibodies will have to be adapted and vaccine trials conducted on primates before they can be tested on people.
▼ Milky Way’s halo is spinning in the same direction and at comparable speed as the galaxy’s disk [07-27-16]
In a first move of its kind, a team of astronomers have discovered that the Milky Way’s halo is spinning in the same direction and at comparable speed as the disk of the galaxy providing potential explanation for the galaxy’s missing mass.
- People just assumed that the disk of the Milky Way spins while this enormous reservoir of hot has is stationary, but this is incorrect.
- This hot gas reservoir is rotating as well, not quite as fast as the disk.
- New knowledge reveals how individual atoms have assembled into stars, planets and galaxies like our own and what the future has in store for these galaxies.
- Researchers used the archival data obtained by XMM Newton- an ESA telescope.
- As per the team, the galaxy’s hot gaseous halo is several times larger than the Milky Way disk and composed of ionised plasma.
- As the motion produces a shift in the wavelength of light, researchers measured such shifts around the sky using lines of very hot oxygen.
- Line shifts measured by the researchers displayed that the halo pains of the galaxy in the same direction as the disk of the Milky Way and at similar speed- 643737.6 mph for the halo versus 869045.76 kmph for the disk.
▼ NASA to launch spacecraft to near earth asteroid known as Bennu [07-27-16]
US space agency NASA will launch a spacecraft in September to a near earth asteroid called Bennu to harvest a sample of surface material and return it to the earth to scan for life signs.
- NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft will measure the spectral signature of the Bennu’s mineralogical and molecular components.
- Known as OVIRS (OSIRIS REx Visible and Infrared Spectrometer), the instrument on board measures visible and near infrared light reflected and emitted from the asteroid and split the light into its component wavelengths like a prism splitting the sunlight into a rainbow.
- OVIRS is a key to search for organics on Bennu.
- OVIRS will work with another OSIRIS-REx instrument- the Thermal Emission Spectrometer.
- OVIRS maps the asteroid in visible and near infrared, OTES picks up in thermal infrared.
- Science team will map the entire asteroid over a range of wavelengths interesting to scientists searching for organics and water.
- In visible and infrared spectrum, materials such as minerals have unique signatures like fingerprints allowing scientists to identify various organic materials as well as carbonates, silicates and absorbed water on the asteroid’s surface.
▼ Viking’s Mars Mission data revealed by NASA [07-26-16]
40 years ago, NASA’s Viking Mission became the first to successfully land a completely operational spacecraft on Mars.
- Rolls of microfilm containing the data were stored away for potential use.
- NASA is now going through the microfilm and scanning every frame into the computer database so anyone can access it online.
- Spacecraft dubbed Viking 1 landed on the surface of the Red Planet in July 1976.
- Counterpart Viking 2 landed on the Martian surface in September 1976.
▼ Scientists discover two small worlds outside Neptune’s orbit [07-25-16]
Scientists have discovered two small worlds far outside the orbit of Neptune in the most comprehensive survey conducted on distant solar system objects.
- The two objects are located beyond the Kuiper belt which is a region of small icy objects beyond Neptune.
- Pluto is a part of this belt.
- They also have the third and fourth most distant perihelia which means when the object has its closest approach distance to the sun of any known solar system objects.
- Orbital motions of these objects are in resonance with Neptune’s orbit making it somewhat unexpected.
- Orbital paths imply worlds have interacted with Neptune in the past or continue to do so despite massive distance from the ice giant planet.
- This latest discovery is based on observations made with the Subaru Telescope in Hawai'i and Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO) telescope in Chile.
- The new objects are all under Neptune Mean Motion Resonances i.e the location of their orbits have specific period ratios with respect to that of Neptune.
- One of the new objects foes around the sun once every time Neptune foes around four times while the other new objects go around once every time Neptune goes around three times.
▼ Solar Power Tree launched by Union Minister for Science & Technology & Earth Sciences [07-25-16]
Union Minister for Science & Technology and Earth Sciences, Dr. Harsh Vardhan launched the Solar Power Tree in New Delhi
- It was developed by the CSIR Central Mechanical Engineering Research Institute a constituent lab of CSIR.
- Solar Power Tree harnesses solar energy for producing electricity with an innovative vertical arrangement of solar cells.
- This reduces the requirement of land as compared to conventional Solar Photovoltaic Layout while keeping the land character intact on the other.
- Cultivable land can be utilised for solar energy harnessing along with farming at the same time.
- Innovation will find viability in rural as well as urban areas.
- This tree takes only 4 square feet of land for 5KW whereas in a conventional layout, it requires 400 square feet of land.
- Holding the photovoltaic panels at a higher height on an average it gets more sunrise for one hour in a single day.
- It is possible to harness 10-15 percent more power as compared to conventional layout on ground.
- This has a battery back up of 2 hours on full load giving light even after the sunset.
▼ India’s DST & CONACyT from Mexico approve 14 joint projects in 4 focus areas of cooperation [07-25-16]
- India’s Department of Science and Technology and Mexico’s National Council of Science and Technology has approved 14 joint projects in 4 focus areas of cooperation- water, solar energy, biotechnology and seismology.
- Delegations also discussed proposals to enhance scientific and technological linkages between Indian and Mexican experts.
▼ Geneticists extract and decode DNA of the oldest beans in the history of mankind [07-22-16]
Geneticists were able to extract and decode the DNA of the oldest beans in the history of mankind fossil barley placed more than 6000 years ago within a cave near the Dead Sea in Israel.
- This suggests domestication of barley in the fertile crescent was a long time before the advent of Bible
- All the artifacts including stems and seeds of the plants buried in the soil at the bottom well preserved and existed 6200-5800 thousand years ago i the beginning of the copper age or in terms of biblical myths even prior to the floods.
- The gene antediluvian barley was earlier believed to be akin to the DNA of wild species of cereals.
▼ FB Connectivity Lab researchers develop new technology to pave the way for light based wireless communication [07-22-16]
Researchers from Facebook Connectivity Lab have developed a new technology that can make light based wireless communication a reality in the years ahead.
- This new technology can pave the way for fast optical wireless networks that can deliver internet service to isolated places.
- Light based wireless communication is also known as free space optical communications.
- It offers a promising way to bring internet to areas where optical fibres and cell towers can be challenging to deploy in a cost effective manner.
▼ NASA and ISRO join hands to develop NISAR [07-22-16]
Indian space agency ISRO and USA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory of the NASA are working jointly on the development of Dual Frequency (L and S Band) Synthetic Aperture Radar Imaging Satellite.
- It can be used for numerous applications including natural resources, monitoring and mapping.
- Joint mission is expected to yield results by 2021.
- Called NISAR or NASA ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar, the satellite will also be used for estimation of agricultural biomass across the crop cycle, assessment of soil moisture, monitoring of floods and oil slicks as well as coastal erosion and variation of winds in coastal waters as well as assessment of mangroves and surface deformation studies.
▼ Haryana Government to establish state of the art cyber forensic lab in Gurgaon [07-22-16]
Haryana Government has taken the decision to establish a hi-tech cyber forensic lab equipped with high end tools in the premises of Haryana Police, Gurgaon.
- It has also taken the decision to establish a hi-tech training facility in these premises for advanced level training of police officers from state police forces.
- The government wants to monitor social media through the lab.
- MoU in this regard would soon be signed between National Technical Research Organisation, New Delhi and Haryana Police.
▼ IVF and frozen embryo successfully used to establish pregnancy for livestock in India [07-21-16]
For the first time, in-vitro fertilisation technique and frozen embryo have been successfully used to establish pregnancy in livestock in India.
- This is a major breakthrough for genetically improving, conserving and propagating indigenous cow breeds.
- JK BovaGenix will focus on producing IVF embryos on a large scale from indigenous cattle breeds.
- Establishment of pregnancies through frozen embryo for the first time in India and the centre’s 28 cows with 14 pregnancies through UVF and 14 through frozen IVF embryos in the three months since inception has also been a success.
- In IVF technique, ova is aspirated manually from the donor mother’s ovary and them combined with the semen to develop an ova into an embryo which can be frozen and preserved.
- Embryos can be transplanted into recipient mothers to produce live calves.
▼ Scientists identify Integrin protein as boosting the growth of damaged muscle tissues [07-21-16]
Scientists have identified a key protein that can boost the growth of damaged muscle tissues, leading to treatments for muscle degeneration caused by old age and disorders like muscular dystrophy
- Researchers from Johns Hopkins University found the protein called integrin.
- It is present on the stem cell surface and is used by stem cells to interact with or sense their surroundings.
- Stem cells sense their surroundings known as niche affecting how they live and last for regeneration
- Presence of the protein beta one integrin was show to promote the transformation of undifferentiated stem cells into muscle after the tissue had degraded and improve regenerated muscle fibre growth as much as 50 percent
- The presence of beta one integrin in adult stem cells is apparent
- Beta-one intern is one of 28 types of intern maintaining a link between the stem cell and the environment and interacts biochemically with a growth factor called fibroblast growth factor to promote stem cell growth and restoration after muscle tissue injury.
- This shows that beta one-integrin restores aged stem cell’s ability to respond to FGF to grow and improve muscle regeneration.
- Through tracking an array of proteins within stem cells, researchers have tested the impact of removing beta one-integrin from the stem cell.
- The experiment showed that without beta one-integrin, stem cells do not sustain growth after muscle tissue injury.
▼ North Korea fires three ballistic missiles [07-20-16]
North Korea fired three ballistic missiles on July 19 which flew between 500 and 600 kms (around 300 and 360 miles) into the sea off its east coast.
- South Korea’s military indicated this in a latest series of moves by the isolated country.
- US military has detected lunches of what are two Scud missiles and one homegrown Rodong missile based on Soviet era Scud technology as well.
- North Korea has meant this to be a show of force.
- Launches came after South Korea and the US took the final decision to deploy Terminal High Altitude Area Defence/THAAD anti-missile system in the South to counter threats from the North prompting Pyongyang to sound an offensive.
- Ballistic missiles flight was from 500 to 600 km which is enough to strike Busan in South Korea.
▼ Government has approved the project to launch SWAYAM Prabha [07-19-16]
Government has approved a project to launch SWAYAM Prabha for operationalising 32 DTH TV channels for providing high quality educational content to teachers, students and citizens across the nation. New content of 4 hours each day will be telecast 6 times in a day permitting students to view the information as per their convenience.
- SWAYAM Prabha will feature curriculum based content covering diverse disciplines.
- Covers all education levels.
- Channels to be launched before September 2016.
▼ Satellite 4F2 moves over India [07-19-16]
Satellite belonging to London based mobile satellite communication company recently moved over India, above the Equator in the space travelling close to 4000 km over previous months.
- 4F2 is one of the 12 satellites owned by Inmarsat fired from satellite control centre in London for the spacecraft to move from one slot to another.
- Satellite weighing close to 6000 kg was built at a cost of USD 250 million and launched in 2005.
- It was placed over Africa providing coverage to Africa and EU.
- The decision to be moved was at the cost of USD 10 million and Inmarsat 4F2 joined a group of more than 80 satellites belonging to countries in the eastern longitude in the geostationary orbit.
- Orbital slots are allotted to companies and nations by International Telecommunications Union, part of the UN headquartered in Switzerland.
▼ SpaceX to create a critical docking port needed by crew capsules [07-18-16]
SpaceX launched another load of space station supplies for NASA including a critical docking port required by new US crew capsules to debut next year.
- Unmanned Falcon rocket is scheduled to lift off on 18th July.
- Aboard the rocket is a replica of the docking port destroyed in a SpaceX launch accident in the previous summer.
- This is the second port NASA needing two of the three ports for crew capsules under development by SpaceX and Boeing.
▼ WHO declares India as Maternal and Neonatal Tetanus free [07-18-16]
WHO on 14th July 2016 declared India as Maternal and neonatal tetanus free.
- They also presented certificates to the Union Health and Family ministry.
- WHO has also certified India as Yaws free after a team of experts verified interruption of disease transmission in the country.
- India is the first country under the 2012 WHO neglected tropical disease roadmap to eliminate yaws.
▼ Kate Rubins to carry out DNA sequencer tests for first time in space station [07-18-16]
Astronaut Kate Rubins will carry out carefully controlled experiments with bacteria, virus and mouse cells repeatedly testing for in a space station’s closed loop environment.
- Rubins is a trained microbiologist who will be using samples to put together Oxford Nanopore’s MiniION sequencer- a pocket sized DNA sequencer through its paces.
- Tests are intended to prove if technology can be used to understand microbes in the space station to scan fellow astronauts for genetic changes to diagnose illness and future missions to test samples from Mars and other planets for DNA based life.
- Scientists will need to check if the machine can operate in microgravity.
- The MinION sequencer which is about half the size of a smartphone operates fundamentally different from current DNA sequencers.
- With most sequencers, scientists put on a sample which runs for 24 to 48 hours and stops.
- The station’s sequencers displays its analysis as it works.
- The MinION DNA sequencer is among the 4900 pounds of cargo scheduled to be launched to the station on 18th July 2014 abroad a SpaceX Dragon capsule.
- This is the first time the machine will be used in space.
▼ Scientists find new method of creating human stem cells [07-18-16]
Scientists have found a new way to create human stem cells solving big issues of large scale production needed to realise the potential of the cells for coping with disease.
- Discovery was made by scientists from Britain’s University of Nottingham and Uppsala University and GE Healthcare in Sweden.
- Using a protein derived from human blood cells called Inter-Alpha inhibitor, human pluripotent stem cells in a minimal medium without the need for pricey and time consuming biological substrates were created.
- Inter-alpha inhibitor was found in human blood in high concentrations and is a by-product of standard drug purification schemes.
- Protein can make stem cells attach on unmodified tissue culture plastic and improve survival of stem cells in harsh conditions.
- This is the first stem cell culture method that does not need a pre-treated biological substrate for attachment and is a more easy way to initiate large scale production.
- Human pluripotent stem cells are undifferentiated cells that have a unique potential to develop into different body cells.
- Applications of this innovation include disease modelling, drug screening and tissue reengineering.
▼ HAL and Safran Helicopter Engines announce joint MRO centre [07-14-16]
Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd and France’s Safran Helicopter Engines announced the setting up of a helicopter engines maintenance, repair and overhaul centre to service Indian and foreign customers using the aero engines of the French company
- Centre will provide MRO services for Safran TM333 and co developed Shakti engines used in HAL choppers
▼ Federal biologist discovers 14 new species of snailfish [07-14-16]
Trawl nets were used by a team of researchers from NOAA to discover important fish species such as cod in waters off Alaska.
- The researchers have discovered 14 kinds of new snailfish. which can be found in both pools and oceans.
- Additional species are likely to be found as scientists expand their time investigating areas such as Bering Sea Slope in waters 800 to 5200 feet deep or the 25.663 feet deep Aleutian Trench.
- Abundance of rock fish, flatfish and other “bottom” fish found in the floor of the ocean were studied by the researchers.
▼ NASA camera aboard Deep Space Climate Observatory captures moon’s images [07-13-16]
In what is the second time in the year, a NASA camera aboard the Deep Space Climate Observatory satellite captured an amazing view of the moon as it moved in front of the sun lit side of the earth.
- The images were captured by NASA’s EPIC or Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera, a four megapixel CCD Camera and telescope of the DSCOVR satellite orbiting 1 million miles from earth.
- EPIC maintains a constant view of the fully illuminated Earth as it rotates, providing scientific observations of ozone, vegetation, cloud height and aerosols in the atmosphere.
- The EPIC camera is providing a series of Earth images allowing study of daily variations over the entire globe.
▼ Pomegranates are good for health, serve as anti ageing trigger: Scientists [07-13-16]
Pomegranates are said to be good for health and now scientists have discovered that it has a substance transformed by microbes in the gut into an effective anti-ageing trigger.
- Pomegranates have a precursor to the molecule called urolithin A.
- While this precursor on reaching the digestive system, has an ability to transform into urolithin A which prevents the breakdown of mitochondria in the cells.
- It is the only known molecule that can relaunch the mitochondrial clean up process known as mitophagy.
▼ Scientists uncover a bizarre Frankenstein galaxy 250 million light years away [07-13-16]
Scientists have uncovered a bizarre Frankenstein galaxy formed from parts of other galaxies some 250 million light years away.
- The new study showcases the secret of UGC 1382, a galaxy once thought to be old, small and typical.
- Scientists using data from NASA telescopes and other observatories have discovered the galaxy is 10 times bigger than earlier thought.
- Unlike most galaxies, its insides are younger than its outsides.
- The rare galaxy formed is able to survive as it has been located in a small neighbourhood of the universe which is relatively isolated.
▼ Clouds alter climate change: Scientists [07-12-16]
Clouds act as thermal regulators for Earth altering the character and global distribution due to climate change and could make warming worse.
- Trawl of satellite images have revealed cloudiness in the temperate mid latitude zones between the poles and subtropics in both hemispheres accompanied by poleward expansion of subtropical dry zones.
- Tops of clouds everywhere rose higher, according to data stretched over more than two decades from early 1980s
- Cloud changes enhance the absorption of solar radiation by the earth and reduce emission of thermal radiation to space.
- This increases global warming by increasing GHG concentration.
- Clouds regulate earth’s temperature by reflecting some solar radiation back into space before it can hit the ground
▼ DRDO signs MoU with IIT-B and IIT-M for CoPT [07-11-16]
Defence Research and Development Organisation has signed an MoU with IIT-B and M to establish a bi nodal Centre of Propulsion Technology.
- MoA was signed to achieve synergy between DRDO and IITs for channeling research efforts and advanced collaborative research in areas of critical defence technologies.
- CoPT will facilitate and undertake multidisciplinary directed research in the following areas:
- futuristic aero engines,
- hypersonic propulsion for long duration flights,
- solid propellant combustion modelling
- morphing aircraft technologies.
▼ USFDA accepts dissolving heart stents in the list of valuable medical devices [07-11-16]
USFDA has officially accepted the Dissolving heart stent in the list of valuable medical devices that can be used to save lives from heart disease.
- BVS or Bioresorbable Vascular Scaffolds also known as dissolving stents are better than other legally available stents for the same use.
- Close to 99 percent of Indian interventional cardiologists who trained in angiography and angioplasty have value examination from USFDA as an important source of assessment.
- No medical device can be used in America without USFDA approval
▼ Researchers create world’s smallest microwave detector [07-11-16]
Researchers have created the world’s smallest and most sensitive microwave detector, beating previous records by 14 fold marking advances to help ultra sensitive cameras and accessories for emerging quantum computers
- Detector is smaller than a human blood cell and has a simple design of a superconducting alumnium and a single golden nanowire
▼ Scientists explain why stars are stopped being created by galaxies [07-11-16]
Scientists may finally have an explanation for why some galaxies stop creating stars after astrophysicists analysed 70,000 galaxies to understand the forces influencing star formation activity in them.
- International research team led by University of California researchers sifted through available data from the COSMOS UltraVISTA survey providing accurate distance estimate for galaxies over past 11 billion years and focused on effects of external and internal processes influencing star creation in galaxies.
- Processes that cause the galaxies to quench or cease star formation are not well understood and create an outstanding problem in studying the evolution of galaxies
▼ Recurring slope lines, dark streaks changing seasonally indicate presence of flowing water in Mars [07-11-16]
The recurring slope lineae (Latin for line), dark streaks that change seasonally, on Martian slopes indicate presence of flowing water, as per a new study detailing thousands of such features in the red planet’s largest canyon system.
- Study investigated these warm season features in the Valles Marineris region near Mars equator.
- Some sites displayed seasonal flows including isolated peaks and canyon ridges, ground shapes that make it hard to explain the streaks resulting from underground water directly reaching the surface.
- It is unlikely that shallow ground ice would be present as a source for seasonal melting given the warm temperature in the equatorial canyons, according to researchers.
- Water pulled from the atmosphere by salts or mechanisms with no flowing water involved remain possible explanations for the features at these sites.
- These features are called recurring slope lines and since they were discovered in 2011, Martian RSL has become one of the hottest topics in planetary exploration, the strongest proof of liquid water on the Martian surface, even if it is transient.
- Occurrence of these slope lines in these canyons is much more widespread than previously recognised.
- They appear as dark lines extending downslope during the warm season, then fading away during the colder part of the year, then repeating the progression
▼ West Bengal government to set up three biotechnology hubs across the state [07-11-16]
West Bengal has taken up a project to set up three biotechnology hubs across the state to get in more biotechnology innovations to the state.
- The biotechnology hubs will come up in Bardhaman, Kalimpong and Medinipur districts.
- They will assist in the coordination of various departments with the Biotechnology department in a better way.
- Biotechnology Department of the State has taken up an elaborate scheme to tie up with other departments with the Biotechnology department in a better way.
- It will also provide germ free food to common people.
- Biotechnology was first used in 1919 by Karoly Ereky.
- As new practices in biotechnology grow, additional subfields of the science have been created including gene therapy, genomics and immunology.
- Pharmaceuticals such as insulin, antibiotics and vaccines should be considered biotechnology uses, innovations like gene therapy and gene suppression also being part of this
▼ International team of astronomers discover planet with three suns [07-8-16]
International group of researchers have announced the discovery of a strange planet in the faraway solar system containing not one but three suns
- The world is unusual because though binary solar systems are relatively common in the universe, experts indicated systems involving three or more stars are rare
- A planet like this could have constant daylight or enjoy triple sunrises and sunsets every day
- The planet has been named HD 131399Ab and is situated 340 light years from earth in constellation Centaurus
- The cosmic body is believed to be relatively young, close to 16 million years old making it one of the youngest planets discovered outside the solar system to date
- The mass was believed to be 4 times that of gas giant Jupiter, the largest planet in the Milky Way
- The planet orbits the brightest of the three stars on a long and wide path
- The astronomy team spotted the planet through the SPHERE instrument (Spectro-Polarmetric High Contrast Exoplanet Research)on the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope in Chile
- The instrument senses infrared light, making it capable of detecting heat signatures
▼ Astronomers have found clouds of water or water ice for the first time outside the solar system [07-8-16]
Astronomers have found clouds of water or water ice for the first time outside the solar system using the Gemini North telescope in Hawaii
- Clouds on a brown dwarf located 7.2 light years from earth were discovered
- Since its detection, this draw which is 7.2 light years from earth, is the coldest known object outside of the solar system
- This brown dwarf is known as WISE 0855
- A brown dwarf is a failed star.
- WISE 0855 has a temperature of around -23 degrees C making it as cold
▼ Scientists discover first record of fossil facial tumour in dinosaur [07-7-16]
Scientists have discovered the first record of the fossil facial tumour in the jaw of a 69 million year old dwarf duck billed dinosaur called Telmatosaurus transsylvanicus.
- This marks the first ever tumour described in fossil record and the first to be documented in a dwarf dinosaur
- The hadrosaur fossil said to be 69 million years old was discovered in Romania in the Valley of Dinosaurs in Transylvania
▼ NASA’s unmanned Juno spacecraft arrives at Jupiter [07-6-16]
NASA’s unmanned Juno spacecraft on 3rd July 2016 has begun orbiting Jupiter, a key victory for the USD 1.1 billion mission to uncover the origins of the biggest planet in the solar system
- NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California also issued a welcome message from the mission control
- Solar observatory which has travelled 1.7 billion miles (2.7 billion km) since it launched 5 years ago from Cape Canaveral, Florida entered the aimed for orbit around Jupiter at 11:53 pm
- Juno should circle the planet 37 times before making a death plunge in 2018 to prevent the spacecraft from damaging icy moons of Jupiter
- Juno will not be the first spacecraft to circle Jupiter as NASA indicates the orbit will bring it closer than predecessor Galileo launched in 1989.
- Galileo found evidence of subsurface saltwater on Jupiter’s moons Europa, Ganymede and Callisto before taking the final plunge into Jupiter in 2003
▼ New species of spider mimicking ants have been discovered [07-5-16]
A new species of spider Tetraponera rufonigra has been found which mimics the characteristics of ants and was discovered in the moist deciduous forest of the Wayanad wildlife sanctuary.
- Lean male spider looks like a slender ant and uses Batesian mimicry to escape from predators.
- In case of disturbance, it hid itself in the crevices of tree bark
- Spider belongs to the Aetius genus of the ant mimicking spider family Corinidae.
- The mating process of the spider is also interesting and the unique spider has been jointly discovered by the Centre for Animal Taxonomy and Ecology of Christ College and Oxford Museum of Natural History, London.
▼ Scientists improve upon new camera technology for imaging speeds at 100 times faster [07-5-16]
Scientists have improved upon a new camera technology that can image at speeds at 100 times faster than today’s commercial cameras and enable imaging of ultra- fast processes involve neutrons, stars and combustion.
- New technology opens up fresh possibility for studying extremely fast processes such as chemical reactions, neuron firing, chemical reactions, fuel burning or chemicals exploding.
- Researchers led by Lihong V Wang from Washington University previously developed a single shot compressed ultrafast photography camera capturing images at speeds of 100 billion frames per second in the single camera exposure fast enough to capture travelling light pulses.
- This is the world’s fastest receive only camera indicating that it can use available light for imaging and does not require additional illumination from the laser or other light source.
- New method improves the resolution and quality of images captured with CUP.
- New method demonstrates that CUP upgrades through capture of a movie of picosecond laser pulse travelling through the air and also by pointing laser light onto a printout of a toy car to create a movie of the light reaching different portions of the car at different times
- Researchers are interested in understanding how the brain’s neural networks operate.
- Using a new camera with a microscope could allow scientists to watch neurons fire by capturing extremely fast chemical processes called action potentials that travel through an axon at speeds reaching more than 100m per second
▼ New facility to enable online tracking of containers inaugurated at JNPT [07-4-16]
A new facility to enable online tracking of containers has been introduced at the JNPT to help track movement of containers on a real time basis becoming the first Indian port to install such a technology.
- The facility was introduced by DMICDC Logistics Data Services Ltd, a joint venture of the Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor Trust and NEC Corporation of Japan
- It aims to bring transparency in the container movement and cut down logistics costs for trade and industry
- A JNPT top official has indicated that tags can be issued to all containers as soon after they are off-loaded
- Called Logistics Data Services, the technology will integrate the information available with numerous agencies across the supply chain to provide detailed real time data through a single window
- Containers can be tracked along the western corridor of India starting from the port and covering their movements through rail or road until they get to the Inland Container Depots and Container Freight Stations
- As far as delays are concerned, LDS will provide alerts enabling users to choose the optimal supply chain
- LDS is a game changing solution as 20 percent of the entire EXIM of India is generally locked up
- in the inventory adding to the cost of manufacturers
▼ Hole in the ozone layer over Antarctic shrinks [07-4-16]
Hole in the ozone layer over the Antarctic has started to shrink indicating good news for the environment several decades after the global accord was in place to phase out pollutants.
- September ozone hole shrunk by 1.5 million square miles or 4 million square kilometres since 2000, this equals the area about the size of India.
- The ozone hole was first discovered in the 1950s
▼ 445 species new to science identified in 2015 [07-4-16]
445 species new to science identified in India in 2015 includes 2626 animal species and 183 plant species. Four species of reptiles, six species of amphibians and 26 species of fishes as well as three species of wild ginger and three of figs were discovered.
- The most discoveries are in the Eastern Himalayan region accounting for 19 percent of the total discoveries
- Notable additions to the list of animals include rock gecko, new frog species from the Western Ghats and a new species of fish here as well.
- Among the plants, a new species of ginger was found in South Garo hills of Meghalaya and a species of mushroom has been collected from North Sikkim at the altitude of 2829m.
- Scientists at BSI and ZSI discovered species across the country; for the ZSI scientists, another important fact was that 15 percent of the new species are higher vertebrates
- ZSI director Kailash Chandra said that new discoveries reflect the faunal diversity potential of ecosystems in the nation.
- India is home to 97,514 species of animals
▼ ZSI project studies impact of climate change on animal species [07-1-16]
ZSI on 29th June 2016 started the project to monitor animal species and impact on climate change.
- The project is funded by the Union Ministry for climate change, forest and environment
- As per the project, ZSI will monitor indicators in species like fish, butterflies, bees and other insects to see how climate change has funded distribution of species
- Currently there are 94515 species in the country
▼ Second Shijian-16 series satellite launched [07-1-16]
China on 29th June 2016 launched the second Shijian 16 series satellite carried by Long March-4B rocket from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China.
- The Shijian-16 satellite will be used for space environment measurements, radiations and technology testing
- The first in the series of satellites was launched in October 2013
▼ India on 30th June 2016 test fired a MR SAM from a mobile launcher in ITR at Chandipur off Odisha coast [07-1-16]
India on June 30, 2016 test-fired a medium range surface-to-air missile (MR-SAM) from a mobile launcher in the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur off the Odisha coast.
- The MR-SAM was co-developed by the Defence Research Development Laboratory (DRDL) of DRDO in partnership with Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI).
- Apart from the missile, the system includes a Multi Functional Surveillance and Threat Alert Radar (MF STAR) for detection, tracking and guidance of the missile.
- The missile, along with MF—STAR, will provide the users with the capability to neutralise any aerial threats.
- The missile will be produced at the Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) in Hyderabad.
▼ Android N gets a name from Google [07-1-16]
Google officially announced the nickname of the latest version of Android, namely Android N or Nougat.
- Malayali netizens have been campaigning to have the Android N’s name Neyappam
- Other names in the competition included in nachos, nori, nougat, nectar, nectarine and navy bean
▼ NASSCOM partners 3D design technology firm Autodesk [07-1-16]
For bridging the employability gaps across the industry, NASSCOM has partnered with 3D Design Technology firm Autodesk to make new standardised courseware for product design engineers for enhancing skilling in the field.
- Courseware will also empower students in India to develop more skill sets and larger competency levels
▼ Online grievance redressal system launched [07-1-16]
The Railway Ministry launched the Nevadan portal which is an online system for redressal of service related grievances of serving and former Rail employees.
- The new system will also be launched in multiple regional languages
- With a 1.3 million workforce, Railways is the largest employer in the nation.
- New system will facilitate employees to lodge grievances and monitor progress on mitigation