March 27, 2013

Mini Supernova Gets A New Classification – The Daily Orbit

What happens if a supernova’s not so super?

Sun, sand, and storms? America’s moving to the coast.

And is that cold sore killing your memory?

Get ready to make a splash on today’s Daily Orbit.

Hello and welcome to the Daily Orbit. I’m Emerald Robinson.

“Someday you will find me, caught beneath the landslide in a champagne supernova in the sky.” So astronomers have identified a new type of supernova. No it’s not a champagne supernova. This one is called a “Type lax supernova” and it’s fainter and less energetic than the more familiar Type la. It’s a mini supernova of sorts that occurs in a binary star system. Although both types come from exploding white dwarf stars, type Iax supernovas don’t completely destroy the white dwarf star. Scientists say this new classification of supernova is actually quite common, but they are only one-hundredth as bright as a type Ia supernova, and have until now gone undetected. The lead researcher said of the white dwarf: “the star will be battered and bruised, but it might live to see another day.” Much like James Bond—or that’s live to die another day.

Well, it’s a hip-hip-hooray for SpaceX after having completed a second successful resupply mission to the International Space Station. The Dragon capsule made a safe return to Earth, landing in the Pacific Ocean yesterday. Recovering from a little trouble after its March 1 launch, the Dragon capsule was able to get its 1,200 lb delivery load to astronauts at the ISS while picking up 2,600 lbs of trash, station hardware, and biological samples to bring back to Earth. After a five and half hour journey from the Space Station, Dragon made a splash landing and was picked up by divers off the coast of Baja, California. But that’s not the end for the Dragon capsule. A third SpaceX resupply mission is targeted for launch at the end of September.

C’mon pack your bags and let’s move to the coast. Everyone else is. It’s not a Kenny Chesney song but a current American trend. According to a new report from NOAA and the US Census bureau, Americans are moving to the coast in record numbers despite the surge of intense ocean storms. Can you blame them? But NOAA says this poses problems as more resources will have to be allocated for damage prevention, rescue, and recovery. Currently 40% of Americans live in coastal counties which only represent 10% of US landmass. The coastal population is expected to hit 134 million by 2020. Scientists also say that it’ll be US taxpayers footing the bill for damage prevention, storm rescue, and recovery. They also said that the local ecosystem may suffer due to the massive increase in human population. So if we’re going to pay for it anyway, why not live the beach life?

Think the only harm a cold sore does is to your pride? Think again. Not only does that cold sore have you hiding indoors in the dark, but it might be affecting your cognition. A new study showed that people with higher levels of infection had a 25% increase in the risk of cognitive difficulties. Researchers say this gives credence to the microbe-dementia theory that microbes not only damage the body’s organs but can also cause long-term brain damage. Scientists say it’s too early to say for sure if infections directly lead to cognitive problems– right now they are just seeing a connection. Thank God I’ve never had a fever blister!

Now you see me, now you don’t! US researchers have developed a new cloak that is just a few micrometers thick and is able to hide three-dimensional objects from microwaves in their natural environment. A little Harry Potter, no? This new technique called “mantle cloaking” is much less bulky than past concepts. It is made of a new, ultra-thin layer known as “metascreen” to help hide objects by canceling out incoming waves. This is the first step in being able to cloak an object from the naked eye, before which scientists will need to be able to cancel out visible light. So you Harry Potter wannabees will just have to sit tight!

Well that’s it for the Daily Orbit! [ Throws on black cloak ] I think this works just as well. Can you see me?

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