Top Science Stories This Week

Posted: Dec 18 2016, 3:41am CST | by , Updated: Dec 18 2016, 3:48am CST, in News | Latest Science News

 
Top Science Stories This Week
Supermassive black hole that is ripping apart a star. Credit: ESO, ESA/Hubble, M. Kornmesser

A Mysterious Lake is Buried in Antarctic Ice

Many view East Antarctica as a frozen region that is not affected by climate change. But it turns out there is a lake buried inside its ice shelf Roi Baudouin and it is causing the ice shelf to collapse down the surface.

A huge, 2-kilometer-wide circle was spotted over Antarctic ice shelf in 2014 and it was suspected a work of meteorite that slammed the Earth in 2014. However, new analysis suggests that the circle is actually a result of ice melt and it stemmed from a deep, ice lake bed. It is an indication that East Antarctica is melting faster than thought and is feeling the effects of climate change like its western part.

Reindeer are Shrinking Because of Climate Change

One of the famous Christmas symbols reindeer are shrinking in size.The average weight of an adult Svalbard reindeer living in Norwegian Arctic has dropped by 12 percent - from 55 kilograms from those born in 1994 to 48 kg for those born in 2010.

As temperatures goes up, winters are getting warmer in Norwegian Arctic. Warming temperatures cause rain to fall on existing snow cover and freeze it solid as well as locked the vegetation under it, making it difficult for Svalbard reindeer to get their food. The result could be either no calf or the birth of a light weight young.

Universe’s Brightest Supernova Turns out to be a Black Hole Ripping Apart a Star

In 2015, astronomers detected an intense burst of light in a distant galaxy some 4 billion light years away from Earth. The outburst was so luminous that at one point it was 20 times brighter all the stars in the Milky Way combined and was thought to be the most powerful and brightest supernova ever seen.

A new analysis, however, suggests that the event may not be a supernova but was something much more rare than that. Researchers proposed the outburst may be the result of a supermassive black hole ripping apart a huge star that came too close and eventually being swallowed by the black hole.

The gravitational field by the black hole pulled apart the wandering star and caused an intense burst of light. This gave the event the appearance of an extremely bright supernova explosion, even though the star did not have enough mass to become a supernova on its own.

Curiosity Rover Finds New Clues about Life on Mars

NASA’s Curiosity rover has found new evidences of how ancient lakes and wet underground environments changed considerably over time but in a way that prevented life from forming and thriving.

Whether life has ever existed on Mars is still unknown but Curiosity's observations suggest that parts of Mars were capable for supporting life billions of years ago. When Curiosity rover climbed a layered Martian mountain and drilled into rocks, it found that many minerals like boron found to be more abundant in layers farther uphill, compared with lower, indicating the potential for long-term habitable groundwater in the ancient past.

Researchers Sequence the Genome of Seahorse for the First Time

Seahorses are weird ocean creatures, from their snake like tail to swimming vertically to having no teeth. Perhaps their most unusual trait: It’s the males that give birth.

To investigate the genetic basis of their evolutionary oddities, researchers have sequenced the genome of a tiger tail seahorse for the first time and explain why these bony fish are so unique. Researchers found that duplication of genes as well as the loss of regulatory elements in its genome have both contributed to the rapid evolution of the seahorse and led to unusual genetic changes in them.

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Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.

 

 

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