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Posted June 4th, 2014 at 8:02 pm (UTC+0)
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Thorne-Żytkow objects (TŻOs) are thought to resemble a red supergiant such as Betelgeuse - seen here - in the orion constellation. (ESO/VLT)

Thorne-Żytkow objects (TŻOs) resemble red supergiants such as Betelgeuse. (ESO/VLT)

A bizarre hybrid star has been discovered by American, British and Chilean astronomers.

Using the Magellan Clay telescope at the Las Campanas Observatory in Chile, the researchers were able to confirm the existence of what, until now, has only been part of a theoretical class of stars.

Called a Thorne-Zytkow object (TZO), this celestial oddity is a hybrid between red supergiant stars and neutron stars, but it looks like red supergiants.

Located in the Small Magellanic Cloud, the TZO is referred to as HV 2112.

The researchers outline their findings in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society Letters.

 

SpaceShipTwo, christened VSS Enterprise during a glide flight in Mojave, CA, USA. Mark Greenberg/Virgin Galactic)

SpaceShipTwo, christened VSS Enterprise during a glide flight in Mojave, California. (Mark Greenberg/Virgin Galactic)

Sir Richard Branson’s dream of sending paying passengers into suborbital space is  closer to being a reality.

A month ago Branson’s space-flight company, Virgin Galactic, signed an agreement with the Federal Aviation Administration, the US agency that oversees all of non-military aviation, that will allow it to start routine space missions from a spaceport in New Mexico.

On June 3, Virgin Galactic, which has joined forces with NASA, announced the selection of 12 payloads designed and created by groups such as US federal laboratories, universities as well as private Companies. Although a launch date has not been announced, the NASA chartered flight will offer researchers the opportunity to conduct various scientific studies in microgravity offered by the sub-orbital trip into space.

 

A pile of moldy bread - YUCK! (Maestrosync via Wikimedia Commons)

A pile of moldy bread – YUCK! (Maestrosync via Wikimedia Commons)

Are you tired of finding that the loaf of bread you just bought a few days ago is already stale and moldy?  You might be interested to know that a new completely edible film made from oils contained in cloves and oregano preserves bread much longer than any currently available additives.

A study published by the American Chemical Society’s Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry has outlined the development of the more “consumer friendly” method of preserving a key staple in many people’s diet.

 

The planet-hunting Kepler spacecraft is back in action after experiencing mechanical failures that threatened to end it’s mission. The reborn Kepler mission, which is called K2, re-started its observation work on May 30.

 

Erasing a bad memory might be possible in the near future, but if we decide at some point that we need that memory back, it could be regenerated.

Writing in Nature, researchers from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine said that they were able to successfully create a memory in rats, then erase it, only to reactivate that erased memory.

 

A koala keeping cool in a tree (Cody Pop via Wikimedia Commons)

A koala keeping cool in a tree. (Cody Pop via Wikimedia Commons)

Calling an environmentalist a “tree hugger” is usually meant as an insult, but scientists recently found that Australia’s koalas literally hug trees to keep themselves cool during periods of hot weather.

Writing in Biology Letters, the researchers observed the behavior of about 30 koalas and took thermal images of them getting a respite from the scorching temperatures by hugging trees.

The data showed that the trees in question were about 5 degrees, Celsius cooler than the air temperature.

The scientists found that koalas also pant and lick their fur to cool themselves even further.

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