Top Science Stories This Week

Posted: Jun 18 2016, 2:03pm CDT | by , Updated: Jun 19 2016, 11:08pm CDT, in News | Latest Science News


Top Science Stories This Week
Credits: Lynette Cook

Giant Planet that Orbits Two Suns Discovered

Scientists have recently confirmed the existence of the largest ever planet with a double star system. The planet, named Kepler-1647b, is 3700 light years away from the Earth and almost 4 billion years old. The giant planet has a mass and radius comparable to Jupiter while its stars are more or less similar to our sun.

Planets that orbit around two suns are known as circumbinary planets or sometimes “Tatooine” planets after the planet of Luke Skywalker in Star Wars. Finding circumbinary planets outside the solar system is a difficult task since their orbital period is much longer than planets with single stars. Nevertheless, the newly discovered planet is an import object to understand the population of larger circumbinary planets.

Birds have More Neurons in their Brain than Mammals

Calling someone birdbrain used to be an insult. But it should be taken as a compliment from now on. 

Researchers have found that bird brains have more neurons compared to mammals and this may explain why they are so brilliant and outthink humans in intelligence tests. They can make tools, use them to get food and solve many problems.

For the study, researchers used a device called an isotropic fractionator to determine the number of neurons in the brains of birds and involved more than two dozens of bird species ranging from tiny zebra finch to six feet tall emu. They were surprised to found that birds generally more neurons than some mammals while parrots and songbirds have twice as many densely packed neurons than primates.

Australian Rodent is the First Mammal to Go Extinct Due to Climate Change

Climate change is having a devastating impact on our ecosystems. And unfortunately a small rat-like animal called Bramble Cay melomys has failed to adapt to the changes triggered by man-made activities. 

A latest report suggests that researchers have not been able to find even a single specimen from its only habitat in far northern Australian island and it appears that tiny mammal has been wiped out from the Earth’s surface. The main driver of its demise is likely rising sea levels and increased occurrence of extreme weather events. 

Research Suggests Cats Understand Physics and Use it to Detect Hiding Prey

A new Japanese research suggests that cats do understand physics and combine it with their amazing natural instincts to locate hiding prey. 

Researchers wanted to know whether cats can anticipate the presence of an invisible object on the basis of the sounds produced by container when it is shaken. They also curious to know whether they expect an object to fall once the container is turned out.

In the experiment, researchers shook containers in front of the cats and flipped those containers over. Researchers found that cats generally looked longer at the container which produced rattling sounds, suggesting they were anticipating the presence of an object based on the rattle they heard. It is the basic cause and effect law of physics. They also stared longer when rattling sound is followed by a no object drop out or no sound led to a falling object. Both those conditions did not fit into their grasp of causal logic and defy the law of physics. 

Astronomers Detect Most Distant Oxygen Ever

An international team of researchers was observing one of the most distant known galaxies and searching for heavy elements present in it when they realized that they could also see the evidence of ionized oxygen in it.

Using ALMA observations, researchers have found the deposits of ionized oxygen in the galaxy SXDF-NB1006-2, making it the most distant detection of oxygen ever obtained. The finding also reflects that oxygen was present in early universe almost 700 million years after the Big Bang.

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Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.




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