January 22, 2013
Gamma Ray Burst Blast From The Past – The Daily Orbit
What cosmic blast from the past is making science headlines?
What’s wrong with a little white lie, right Mom?
What’s good for your heart might not be good for your eyes.
And we’re lighting up the sky on today’s Daily Orbit!
Hello and welcome to the Daily Orbit. I’m Emerald Robinson.
Now here’s a blast from the past…a cosmic blast! New evidence suggests that Earth was blasted with a gamma ray burst during the 8th century. What gave it away? Evidence of a carbon-14 surge in the rings of ancient cedar trees that date back to either 774 or 775 AD. These isotopes are created when intense radiation hits the atoms in the upper atmosphere. And they believe that black holes colliding may have been the culprit. They said the event could have only taken place at least 3,000 lights years away from here or Earth would have fried like a marshmallow in a bonfire. A similar event today could wreak havoc on our technology dependent world. But don’t fear for your cell service, astronomers say it ain’t gonna happen anytime soon! Thank God! Whew! I can’t make it without my phone.
Liar, liar parents on fire! Yep parents lie! That’s what new research says about American and Chinese parents. Oh it’s just little white lies to get the little ones to behave. While the percentage of parents who reported lying to their children was slightly higher in China, both countries parents believe in telling lies to get kids to eat their food or to stop them from begging for toys in the store. And in both countries, parents felt okay lying to their kids to promote positive feelings and about fantasy characters like the Tooth Fairy. Wait the Tooth Fairy doesn’t exist? You mean my mama lied to me?
And we will soon be celebrating 10 years of Opportunity…that’s the Mars’ rover Opportunity. Before there was Curiosity, there were the two twin rovers Opportunity and Sprit, which landed on Mars back in 2004. Although Spirit is stuck in the mud, literally, Opportunity is still kicking it and providing NASA with Mars’ data. Having logged 22 miles in its near 10 years on Mars, the little rover is showing its age with a messed up joint in its robotic arm and a faulty front wheel that makes it drive backwards—poor little rover, it sounds like my grandpa. Opportunity will complete some tasks in its current spot and then head south where the terrain looks ripe for discovery. Well, we at the Daily Orbit still have lots of Opportunity love!
So here’s the choice: you want your ticker to keep going or you wanna go blind? Okay, maybe that’s being a little dramatic but new research does suggests that there could be a relationship between regular aspirin use and an elevated risk of age-related macular degeneration, or AMD. Aspirin is commonly taken to help prevent cardiovascular disease, including heart attacks and stroke. Researchers saw a marked increase in AMD development of aspirin users at the 5, 10, and 15 year mark. However, they said that there is insufficient evidence to recommend changing clinical practices just yet. Like everything else in life, you darned if you do and darned if you don’t. I’m already blind anyway.
Every once in a while when I was a little girl during a winter’s night, we would look up to the sky and it would be glowing green or red—the Auroras or Northern Lights my mother would tell us. This light display occurs when charged particles from the Sun hit our atmosphere, exciting the oxygen and nitrogen atoms, which in turn causes them to glow and emit radio waves into space. Auroras are not unique to Earth—in fact Jupiter’s auroras are 100 times brighter. And a new study has shown that they might be quite common across our galaxy. While we might not be able to see them, we could possibly read their radio emissions instead. Scientists believe this new technique could help us detect new objects outside of solar system in the future.
And that’s all for today’s Daily Orbit. Aren’t they beautiful?