Nov 21, 2020
Researchers discover fossil galaxies within the Milky Way
This news has been received from: New York Post
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Ten billion years ago, another galaxy slammed into the Milky Way.
But it has taken until now for astronomers to discover the massive, “fossil galaxy” still in our midst, according to a report in the Independent.
Researchers at the Apache Point Observatory Galactic Evolution Experiment project (APOGEE) announced the discovery on Friday, the Independent reports.
They’ve dubbed the fossil galaxy “Hercules,” and they say that its stars were discovered within the Milky Way’s “Halo,” the cloud of stars furthest from our galaxy’s brighter center.
“It is really small in the cosmological context – only 100 million stars,” Dr. Ricardo Schiavon said of the remnants of Hercules.
“But it accounts for almost half the mass of the entire Milky Way halo,” added Schiavon, a scientist with the Liverpool John Moores University’s Astrophysics Research Institute.
Dr.Schiavon and his team could tell the stars of the Milky Way and Hercules apart due to their different chemical composition and velocity.
“APOGEE lets us pierce through that dust and see deeper into the heart of the Milky Way than ever before,” Dr. Schiavon said.
Based on the scientific data, the researchers have concluded that the collision of both galaxies “must have been a major event in the history of our galaxy,” Schiavon said.
The researchers also stated that this incident makes the Milky Way unusual because other “spiral galaxies had much calmer early lives.”
As our cosmic home, the Milky Way is already special to us, but this ancient galaxy buried within makes it even more special,” Dr.Schiavon said.Filed under england , liverpool , milky way , space , 11/21/20
News Source: New York Post
Brief Buzz: Danish Mayfly Named 2021 Insect of the Year
BERLIN (AP) — The Danish Mayfly was selected Friday by an international group of entomologists and others as the Insect of the Year for 2021, but it won't have long to celebrate its 15 minutes of fame.
The insect, whose scientific name is Ephemera danica, only has a few days to fly, mate and lay new eggs.
"What makes the mayfly unique is its life cycle: from the egg laid in the water to the insect capable of flight and mating, which dies after a few days,” said Thomas Schmitt, chairman of the commission of scientists and representatives from research institutions and conservation organizations from Germany, Austria and Switzerland that made the choice.
Mayflies have existed for about 355 million years and today some 140 species live in Central Europe, the commission said.
Despite their fleeting time on earth in their final form, their developmental cycle is quite long.
Female mayflies zigzag over water between May and September, laying thousands of eggs that then sink.
Larvae hatch within a few days, and eventually develop gills. Buried in riverbeds, they take between one to three years to develop.
“Shortly before the transition from aquatic to terrestrial life, a layer of air forms between the old and new skin of the adult larvae," said Schmitt, who is also director of the Senckenberg German Entomological Institute in Muencheberg, east of Berlin. ”By reducing its specific weight, the larva rises to the water surface. Once there, the larval skin bursts and within a few seconds a flyable mayfly hatches.”
With no mouth parts nor a functioning intestine, the fully developed mayfly has only a few days then to mate and lay new eggs before it dies.
The commission has been selecting one unique insect each year since 1999 to “bring an exemplary species closer to people.”
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