Category: News

23 Mar 2020

Researchers Find Captivating New Details In Image of Black Hole

Last April, the international coalition of scientists who run the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT), a network of eight telescopes from around the world, revealed the first-ever image of a black hole.

Now, a team of researchers at the Center for Astrophysics at Harvard have revealed calculations, as detailed in a paper published in the journal Science Advances today, that predict an intricate internal structure within black hole images caused by extreme gravitational light bending.

The new research, they say, could lead to much sharper images when compared to the blurry ones we’ve seen so far.

“With the current EHT image, we’ve caught just a glimpse of the full complexity that should emerge in the image of any black hole,” said Michael Johnson a lecturer at the Center for Astrophysics, in a statement.

The EHT image was able to catch the black hole’s “photon sphere” or “photon ring,” a region around a black hole where gravity is so overpowering, it forces photons to travel in orbits.

But as it turns out, there’s even more to the image.

“The image of a black hole actually contains a nested series of rings,” Johnson said. “Each successive ring has about the same diameter but becomes increasingly sharper because its light orbited the black hole more times before reaching the observer.”

Until last year, that internal structure of black holes remained shrouded in mystery.“As a theorist, I am delighted to finally glean real data about these objects that we’ve been abstractly thinking about for so long,” Alex Lupsasca from the Harvard Society of Fellows said in the statement.

These newly discovered substructures could allow for even sharper images in the future. “What really surprised us was that while the nested subrings are almost imperceptible to the naked eye on images — even perfect images — they are strong and clear signals for arrays of telescopes called interferometers,” Johnson added.

“While capturing black hole images normally requires many distributed telescopes, the subrings are perfect to study using only two telescopes that are very far apart,” Johnson said. “Adding one space telescope to the EHT would be enough.”

There might be other ways as well. In November, a team of Dutch astronomers suggested sending two to three satellites equipped with radio imaging technology to observe black holes at five times the sharpness of the last attempt.

Source: https://futurism.com/researchers-take-sharper-black-hole-images

15 Mar 2020

Scientists Discover “Peculiar” Teardrop-Shaped Star

“I’ve been looking for a star like this for nearly 40 years and now we have finally found one.”

A team of astronomers have discovered a strange star that oscillates in a rhythmic pattern — but only on one side, causing gravitational forces to distort it into a teardrop shape.

“We’ve known theoretically that stars like this should exist since the 1980s,” said professor Don Kurtz from the University of Central Lancashire and co-author of the paper published in Nature Astronomy on Monday, in a statement. “I’ve been looking for a star like this for nearly 40 years and now we have finally found one.”

The star, known as HD74423, is about 1.7 times the mass of the Sun and was spotted around 1,500 light years from Earth — still within the confines of the Milky Way — using public data from NASA’s planet-hunting TESS satellite.

“What first caught my attention was the fact it was a chemically peculiar star,” said co-author Simon Murphy from the Sydney Institute for Astronomy at the University of Sydney in the statement. “Stars like this are usually fairly rich with metals – but this is metal poor, making it a rare type of hot star.”

Stars have been found to oscillate at different rhythms and to different degrees — including our own Sun. Astronomers suspect they’re caused by convection and magnetic field forces inside the star.

While the exact causes of these pulsations vary, these oscillations have usually been observed on all sides of the star. HD74423, however, was found to pulsate on only one side because of its red dwarf companion with which it makes up a binary star system.

They were found to do such a close dance — an orbital period of just two days — that the larger star is being distorted into a teardrop shape.

The astronomers suspect it won’t be the last of its kind to be discovered.

“We expect to find many more hidden in the TESS data,” said co-author Saul Rappaport, a professor at MIT.

Source: https://futurism.com/scientists-peculiar-teardrop-shaped-star

25 Feb 2019
Why Sheikh Mohammed's vision, leadership style should be taught in schools

Why Sheikh Mohammed’s vision, leadership style should be taught in schools

Dubai’s creative leadership paving the road for emirate to light and shine

Think of leadership and vision and the first name that comes to mind is His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai. Hence, academia, researchers and business executives have suggested that the vision and style of leadership of Sheikh Mohammed should be taught in the schools and be made a part of the curriculum.

“Dubai’s creative leadership is paving the road for this emirate to light and shine. The unique style of leadership of Sheikh Mohammed is inspiring all of us. The environment that Dubai created paved ways for individuals like us and this is the reason for being here and what I am now. I am indebted to His Highness,” said Dr Manahel Thabet, president of the Economic Forum for Sustainable Development.

“Being a resident of Dubai, I believe his leadership style should be taught in schools. Sheikh Mohammed has taken critical, crucial and quick decision to tame the complicated financial issues that Dubai faced in the past 10-15 years. His vision is distinguishing him from the rest of the world.”

Dr Thabet has been ranked among the 30 smartest people alive worldwide by SuperScholar and is a Guinness World Record holder in mind ability.

She highlighted different styles of his leadership such as Dubai’s march towards being a knowledge-based economy, as well as the creation of incubators and accelerators, which she suggested they should be followed by emerging economies.

Dr Raed Safadi, chief economic advisor at Dubai’s Department of Economic Development, pointed out that the critical element of Sheikh Mohammed’s vision is flexibility, which helps seize an opportunity that arises and also foresee future challenges.

“This emirate has embraced technological changes before they were common currency. There was fear that technology is going to take away jobs, but we are embracing it – not fearing it,” he said during a panel discussion on leadership organised by Accounting, Audit & Advisory Services Focus Group (AAA), a unit of the Indian Business & Professional Council, in Dubai.

Sanjay Manchanda, CEO of Nakheel Properties, said Sheikh Mohammed is a great inspiration.

“Thanks to the vision of His Highness, they realised that there is somebody capable of [handling Nakheel] and that is how I took my seat as CEO,” Manchanda said during the panel discussion on leadership.

He strongly recommended public to read Sheikh Mohammed’s latest book, Qissati, which reveals a strong message of how Sheikh Mohammed shaped the business and the emirate with his vision. Citing an example, he said: “Dubai started the Government Summit and that has taken his entire vision to global platform of bringing global audience to the UAE.”

Naweed Lalani, head of audit and credit rating agencies supervision at the Dubai Financial Services Authority, also recommended reading 50th chapter of Sheikh Mohammed’s latest book, which talks about leadership.

“His Highness said either innovate or leave – you cannot sit without innovating. The leaders need not necessarily be creative but catalyst for the change.”

Naveen Sharma, convener at AAA Focus Group, said creativity will be an essential talent that people will be judged on by 2020.

“IBM had conducted a global CEO study and the results surprised the world. Creativity was selected as the most crucial factor for future success – way ahead of integrity, openness and even fairness.”

Other keynote panelists, speakers and attendees were Mishal Kanoo, chairman of Kaaf Investments; Abbas Ali Mirza, past president of the IBPC and ICAI Dubai Chapter; Dr Mohammed Abu Ali, dean of the school of business administration and professor of economics at American University; Rahul Mahajan, vice-president fpr digital transformation at Nagarro; and Mahmood Bangara, chairman of ICAI – Dubai Chapter.

Source: https://www.khaleejtimes.com/business/local/why-sheikh-mohammeds-vision-leadership-style-should-be-taught-in-schools

28 Feb 2018
Manahel Thabet

Long Term Depression Permanently Changes the Brain

IN BRIEF

Is clinical depression a degenerative illness? One new study shows that inflammation in the brain linked to depression increases over time.

DEPRESSION INFLAMMATION

New research from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) in Toronto has revealed something remarkable about mental illness: years of persistent depression-caused inflammation permanently and physically alter the brain. This may dramatically affect how we understand mental illness and how it progresses over time.

In a study published in The Lancet Psychiatry, researchers found that those who had untreated depression for over a decade had significantly more inflammation in their brains, when compared to those with untreated clinical depression for less than a decade. This work jumps off of senior author Jeff Meyer’s previous work, in which he found the first concrete evidence that those with clinical depression experience inflammation of the brain.

This study went even further, proving for the first time that long-term depression can cause extensive and permanent changes in the brain. Dr. Meyer thinks that this study could be used to create treatments for different stages in depression. This is important because now it is clear that treating depression immediately after diagnosis should be significantly different than treatment after 10 years with the illness.

IMPROVING UNDERSTANDING

Once a doctor and patient find a treatments for depression that works for the patient, treatment typically remains static throughout the course of the patient’s life. Taking this new study into account, this might not be the most effective method.

A PET image of a slice of human brain, showing areas of blue and red coloring. This method was used to measure depression-caused inflammation in this study.
A PET image of a slice of human brain. Image Credit: Jens Maus

This study examined a total of 25 patients who have had depression for over a decade, 25 who had the illness for less time, and 30 people without clinical depression as a control group. The researchers measured depression-caused inflammation using positron emission tomography (PET), which can pick out the protein markers, called TSPO, that the brain immune cells produce due to inflammation. Those with long-lasting depression had about 30 percent higher levels of TSPO when compared to those with shorter periods of depression, as well as higher levels than the control group.

Many misunderstand mental illness to be entirely separate from physical symptoms, but this study shows just how severe those symptoms can be. These findings could spark similar studies with other mental illnesses.

It is even possible that depression might now be treated as a degenerative disease, as it affects the brain progressively over time: “Greater inflammation in the brain is a common response with degenerative brain diseases as they progress, such as with Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease,” Meyer said in a press release.

Source: Futurism