Top Science Stories This Week

Posted: Aug 6 2016, 2:22pm CDT | by , Updated: Aug 6 2016, 2:26pm CDT, in News | Latest Science News


Top Science Stories This Week
Credit: WEIBO

Jupiter’s Moon Io Loses its Atmosphere Ever Day

It has been long thought that Jupiter’s volcanically active moon Io loses its atmosphere every time giant planet casts its shadow over it. But this phenomenon has not been observed directly – until now.

Using a combination of telescopes, researchers have found a direct evidence of the collapsing atmosphere of Io. They have found that Io’s atmosphere which is primarily made of sulfur dioxide freezes when Jupiter passes between the moon and the sun. But when the eclipse is over, sulfur heats up and begins to send plumes hundreds of miles high in the area.

Eclipse lasts 2 hours every day which is about 1.7 earth days and temperature drops from -235 degrees Fahrenheit in sunlight to -270 degrees Fahrenheit during an eclipse.

Young Stars are Missing from Milky Way Center

Our galaxy Milky Way contains billions of stars. But researchers have found that a huge region around the center of Milky Way is devoid of young stars. This has been a baffling discovery for scientists since they were expecting young stars in this region too like rest of the space fabric.

The findings were made possible by monitoring Cepheid stars. Cepheids are stars that can brighten and dim periodically and they are ideal for being used as a cosmic yardstick to measure the objects in distant universe. When researchers peered through the dust and looked for Cepheids in the region around Milky Way’s center, they were surprised to find that there is virtually no Cepheid in a huge region stretching across thousands of light years from the core of the galaxy.

Lack of Water Likely Caused Woolly Mammoth’s Extinction

Woolly Mammoths living on remote Alaskan island liked died of thirst. Researchers have recently analyzed the sediment core from a lake on St. Paul Island and estimated that woolly mammoths went extinct roughly 5,000 years ago and a deadly combination of rising sea levels and a lack of access to fresh water has likely pushed them towards the extinction. 

Study further suggests that rising sea levels caused mammoths to trap inside the island but they survived 5,000 years longer than isolated mainland populations. 

China’s Jade Rabbit Rover Ends Mission After Record 31 Months on Moon

China’s Jade Rabbit lunar rover ceases its operation after spending 31 months on Moon’s surface.

The rover’s more than two-year long journey was troublesome yet fascinating. Jade Rabbit, also known as Yutu, touched onto moon’s surface in 2013 and was only meant to last for three months.  But it survived more than two years on moon’s surface and set the record for the longest operational period for any rover on moon with 972 operational days, breaking the previous record of 322 days held by Soviet Union’s Lunokhod 1 rover.

NASA Captures a Bright Comet Making Suicide Run at the Sun

NASA has just captured a comet hurtling towards the sun at a jaw dropping speed of 1.3 million miles per hour and this comet will likely crash into the Sun and disappear.

The comet belongs to Kreutz family of comets which are believed to be the fragments of a large comet broken up several centuries ago. These comets are characterized by their highly elliptical orbits that take them extremely close to the sun before being ripped apart by it.

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Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.




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