4 fascinating things to know about the cool new galaxy Hubble just spotted.

4 fascinating things to know about the cool new galaxy Hubble just spotted.

On April 29, 2016, NASA announced it discovered something incredible “hiding in the night sky.”

Hanging out just over 110 million light-years away is UGC 477 the latest galaxy spotted by Hubble Space Telescope.

Photo by ESA/Hubble & NASA. Acknowledgement: Judy Schmidt.

UGC 477 isn’t just any old galaxy. It could serve as an invaluable learning tool for NASA in the years ahead especially when it comes to solving one of the great mysteries of our universe.

Here are four fascinating tidbits you should know about our new galactic (very distant) neighbor, UGC 477:

1. UGC 477 is in the constellation Pisces.

Are you one of those compassionate, gentle souls born between Feb. 19 and March 20? Well UGC 477 might have a special place in your Pisces heart, seeing as it calls the fish-inspired constellation home.

An artist’s illustration of Pisces, one of the largest constellations in our night sky. Photo via iStock.

The constellation Pisces is big the 14th largest constellation of the 88 in our sky but it can be surprisingly easy to miss. The space objects that comprise Pisces generally aren’t all that bright, so UGC 477 actually fits in perfectly there.

2. It’s amazing we even spotted UGC 477 because galaxies like UGC 477 are very difficult to spot.

Because it’s a low surface brightness galaxy (LSB) a concept first proposed by astrophysicist Mike Disney back in 1976 UGC 477’s matter is diffused over a large area, unlike our own galaxy, the Milky Way.

This epic photo, taken in Afghanistan in 2011, captured the Milky Way in all of its glory. Photo by Dmitry Kostyukov/AFP/Getty Images.

Because of its more diffused state, galaxies like UGC 477 have surface brightness up to 250 times fainter than the night sky. This, of course, makes them “incredibly difficult to detect,” NASA notes.

3. You won’t find too many stars in UGC 477, relatively speaking.

Unlike many other galaxies, the centers of LSBs aren’t filled with stars. Instead, you’ll find lots of hydrogen gas.

This gorgeous shot, taken in 2002, shows a cold, dark hydrogen cloud cradling newly formed stars in the constellation Sagittarius. Photo via NASA/Getty Images.

LSB galaxies typically hang out far away from other galaxy clusters. Because of this, one theory suggests that the matter within these galaxies has had less galactic interactions with other spatial bodies, and those interactions are what cause high rates of star formation.

4. UGC 477 may be a great learning tool for NASA in the years ahead because it appears to hold a ton of mysterious dark matter.

UGC 477 appears “to be dominated by dark matter,” according to NASA. And that means it’s an excellent spatial object for study to get a better understanding of the somewhat spooky-sounding substance.

Nobel Prize winner George F. Smoot strikes a pose in front of the Planck telescope flight model, which studies dark matter and radiation from the Big Bang. Photo by ESA/S. Corvaja via Getty Images.

As NASA explained, we know much more about what dark matter is not than what it actually is. The elusive matter isn’t visible in the form of, say, stars or planets but makes up an estimated 27% of our universe. (Seriously, dark matter is super weird.)

UGC 477 is just the latest feather in Hubble’s huge cap.

The telescope has long been a reliable source for space nerds everywhere, bringing jaw-dropping imagery and game-changing data to our computer screens. But it seems like recently Hubble’s been especially killing it from those mind-boggling images from our galactic neighbor Andromeda to uncovering the truth behind a massive star collision happening 230 million light-years away.

Now, we’ve spotted a hidden gem that may help us unlock some of the biggest mysteries our universe has in store.

Thanks, Hubble (we owe you one).

Photo by AFP/Getty Images.

Read more: http://www.upworthy.com/4-fascinating-things-to-know-about-the-cool-new-galaxy-hubble-just-spotted?c=tpstream

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The Year You Were Born Determines Which Strains Of Flu You’re Vulnerable To

It sounds like astrology, but one of the world’s most prestigious scientific journals has reported that the date of your birth determines which sorts of influenza you are most at risk of catching. The finding resolves a long-standing puzzle about the way flu outbreaks spread, and could help control future epidemics.

Flu infections are usually most dangerous for the elderly, the very young, or people with compromised immune systems. However, some outbreaks don’t obey the rule. The H5N1 strain, for example, mostly affects the young, while H7N9 is a terror in retirement homes. The devastating effects of the 1918to 1919 Spanish flu pandemic reflected the fact that most of those who died were young and middle-aged adults.

Explaining this troubles virologists racing to ready the world for what they see as an inevitable future outbreak. In the journalScience, a team led by Professor James Lloyd-Smith of UCLA have presented a possible answer.

The authors propose that there are similarities between apparently different strains of the virus, and that childhood infection by strain provides partial protection against strains that were previously seen as unrelated. People of a particular generation are likely to have encountered certain strains, and when they are exposed to a different, but somewhat related, virus, they are less likely to get very sick.

This sort of cross-protection is widely accepted, but Lloyd-Smith proposes that it applies to far more flu varieties than previously recognized, with all known versions of the virus being parts of groups where they protect against other members of that group.

The evidence comes in the form of the discovery that some people are immune to certain flu viruses that exist in animals, but have not crossed over to the human population. This immunity could not come from being previously infected by those exact strains, nor from vaccination.

By investigating who has protection against particular strains, Lloyd-Smith and his colleagues were able to group the viruses’ varieties together. They found people born in particular years, who were likely to be caught up with particular flu outbreaks while very young, carry common resistance. They refer to this as childhood imprinting.

“Our findings show clearly that this ‘childhood imprinting’ gives strong protection against severe infection or death from two major strains of avian influenza,” Lloyd-Smith said in a statement. Which strain people are protected against largely depends on when they were born, with 1968 representing the turning point. Americans born before that date more likely to have protection against H7N9 than H5N1, those born after it are relatively immune to H5N1.

This sort of immunity will not always prevent people from getting sick, but will reduce the severity of their symptoms if they do. In 1918 older people who would normally have been the most vulnerable to the epidemic probably carried some protection from a related strain that had disappeared before those in their teens or twenties were born.

The findings should be of use to public health officials in the event of a pandemic, allowing them to work out who is most likely to need protection. It may also assist in the design of a universal flu vaccine.

Read more: http://www.iflscience.com/health-and-medicine/the-year-you-were-born-determines-which-strains-of-flu-youre-vulnerable-to/

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