Most Brilliant Supernova; Protein Hunts/Kills Cancer Cells; ETI in Old Star Clusters?

Posted January 15th, 2016 at 11:37 am (UTC-4)
2 comments

This is an artist's impression of the record-breakingly powerful, superluminous supernova ASASSN-15lh as it would appear from an exoplanet located about 10,000 light years away in the host galaxy of the supernova. (Beijing Planetarium/Jin Ma)

This is an artist’s impression of the record-breakingly powerful, superluminous supernova ASASSN-15lh as it would appear from an exoplanet located about 10,000 light years away in the host galaxy of the supernova. (Beijing Planetarium/Jin Ma)

Supernova: 50 Times Brighter than Milky Way

Astronomers have been observing a fascinating cosmic event taking place some 3.8 billion light years from Earth.

Its the most luminous supernova in the universe.  Scientists say that its to be the most powerful supernova ever seen.

They say the object at the center of this celestial wonder, is pumping out the energy of hundreds of billions of suns and is 50 times as bright as the entire Milky Way.

The astronomers report that the object, now called ASASSN-15lh, might be a magnetar, a very rare type of star. But, even if it is a magnetar they say it is so powerful that it pushes the laws of physics.

The astronomers say that despite all its power and brilliance this central object is only about 16 km across.

The astronomers will look to the Hubble Space Telescope to finally solve this mystery later this year.

Protein That Hunts and Kills Cancer Cells in the Blood Discovered

Researchers at Cornell University have made a finding that could lead to new and improved cancer treatments.

Studying mice with metastatic prostate cancer, the research team discovered some powerful proteins that seek, attack and destroy cancer cells flowing in the bloodstream.

The researchers created microscopic bubbles (liposomes) they filled with a protein called Tumor Necrosis Factor Related Apoptosis-Inducing Ligand or TRAIL for short and administered doses to the cancer ridden mice.

The TRAIL protein filled bubbles, which attach themselves to white blood cells, kill tumor cells as they travel through the bloodstream.

The researchers found that the TRAIL protein prevents the creation and growth of tumors that can spread to other parts of the body.

The treatment not only prevented these secondary tumors from developing, but the research team found that the mice’s primary tumors had also shrunk in size.

One of NOAA's two new supercomputers used for climate and weather forecasts. (NOAA)

One of NOAA’s two new supercomputers used for climate and weather forecasts. (NOAA)

NOAA’s New Supercomputers Provide Faster, More Accurate Forecasts

The ability of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration or NOAA to create faster and more accurate forecasts has greatly improved now that its new supercomputer system is up and running at record speed.

The U.S. agency’s powerful computing system is made up of two Cray XC40 supercomputers.  One, named LUNA, is at a computing center in Reston, Virginia and the other, called Surge is in Orlando, Florida.

Each of the giant computers has the capacity to process and analyze earth observations at quadrillions of calculations per second.

NOAA administrator Kathryn Sullivan says that their newly upgraded computing system will allow the agency to process a huge wave of data gathered by its new observation platforms.

The system will enable the NOAA to introduce a number of much needed weather, climate and water related computer model upgrades this year that will help forecasters make and quickly deliver better weather prognostications.

M80 (NGC 6093), one of the densest of the 147 known globular star clusters in the Milky Way galaxy. Located about 28,000 light-years from Earth, M80 contains hundreds of thousands of stars, all held together by their mutual gravitational attraction. (NASA/ESA)

M80 (NGC 6093), one of the densest of the 147 known globular star clusters in the Milky Way galaxy. attraction. (NASA/ESA)

Planets Circling Old Stars May Contain Extraterrestrial Intelligent Life

A team of astronomers is suggesting that some good places to look for extra-terrestrial intelligent life just might be in tightly bound groupings of hundreds of thousands of stars, known as globular star clusters.

The stars in these clusters are some of the oldest in the universe.

These ancient stars don’t have as much of the heavy elements that are needed to form planets as younger stars such as our sun.

But the researchers say exoplanets have been found orbiting stars with only a tenth of the heavy elements of the sun.

They say any planet capable of supporting life that formed around these old stars would have to orbit it closely.

The close orbit could protect the planet and help it survive for perhaps billions of years. The researchers theorize that any life that did develop, could have had plenty of time to evolve, becoming more complex, and possibly developing intelligence.

Rick Pantaleo
Rick Pantaleo maintains the Science World blog and writes stories for VOA’s web and radio on a variety of science, technology and health topics. He also occasionally appears on various VOA programs to talk about the latest scientific news. Rick joined VOA in 1992 after a 20 year career in commercial broadcasting.

2 responses to “Most Brilliant Supernova; Protein Hunts/Kills Cancer Cells; ETI in Old Star Clusters?”

  1. ali baba says:

    how many researches about cancer and still the leading killer in us . the last research indicate life style is the main causes of cancer. smoking cause lung cancer. drinking causes liver cancer. process food causes colon cancer. we have to change the lifestyle before we are waiting eating in miracle in research lab

  2. parheldkosz says:

    agency’s powerful computing system is made up of two Cray XC40 supercomputers.  One, named LUNA, is at a computing center in Reston, Virginia and the other, called Surge is in Orlando, Florida. Where did you get this information?