The brand-new Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) in Arizona has a gotten off to an astronomical start, helping an international team of astronomers learn that a recently discovered tiny companion galaxy to our Milky Way, named the Hercules Dwarf Galaxy, has truly exceptional properties: unlike the round tiny dwarf galaxies found so far, this neighbor 430,000 light years away is shaped more like a cigar.
The stars in many large galaxies are arranged in a disk-like configuration, like our Milky Way, but among the millions of well-studied tiny dwarf galaxies none has ever been observed to have a cigar-like shape before now.
An explanation for the galaxy's unusual shape is that it is being disrupted by the gravitational forces of the Milky Way.
Cholesterol level testing at about 15 months of age could prevent heart disease later in life, say doctors in a study published by British Medical Journal today.
Their rationale? Hereditary high cholesterol, known as familial hypercholesterolaemia, affects about two in every 1000 people and causes very high levels of low density lipoprotein (LDL) or ‘bad cholesterol’ in the blood. It carries a high risk of death from coronary heart disease.
Treatment to lower cholesterol reduces the risk substantially, but is it worth the expense to test all children for something that will impact .2% of the population?
The area covered by sea ice in the Arctic has shrunk to its lowest level this week since satellite measurements began nearly 30 years ago, opening up the Northwest Passage – a long-sought short cut between Europe and Asia that has been historically impassable.
In the mosaic image above, created from nearly 200 images acquired in early September 2007 by the Advanced Synthetic Aperture Radar (ASAR) instrument aboard ESA’s Envisat satellite, the dark gray colour represents the ice-free areas while green represents areas with sea ice.
Leif Toudal Pedersen from the Danish National Space Centre said: "We have seen the ice-covered area drop to just around 3 million sq km which is about 1 million sq km less than the previous minima of 2005 and 2006.
The international car industry is currently presenting many environmentally friendly models at the IAA, the biggest car exhibition in the world. Can the idea sell in the home of Aston-Martin and Jaguar?
Estimates say 64% of British drivers could use hybrids and 21% are thinking hybrid for their next new car. They would even be willing to pay $1900 more than for a conventional car, according to market research institute Maritz Research.
"There is huge enthusiasm for hybrids amongst British consumers," explains Christian Vorwerck, director of marketing at Maritz Research. "The potential for the car industry is massive."
Astronomers using ESO's Very Large Telescope have discovered in a single pass about a dozen otherwise invisible galaxies halfway across the Universe. The discovery, based on a technique that exploits a first-class instrument, represents a major breakthrough in the field of galaxy 'hunting'.
The team of astronomers led by Nicolas Bouché have used quasars to find these galaxies. Quasars are very distant objects of extreme brilliance, which are used as cosmic beacons that reveal galaxies lying between the quasar and us. The galaxy's presence is revealed by a 'dip' in the spectrum of the quasar - caused by the absorption of light at a specific wavelength.
The team used huge catalogues of quasars, the so-called SDSS and 2QZ catalogues, to select quasars with dips.
Medical researchers who want to use previously collected samples from biobanks in their research have to contend with guidelines and regulations from among various countries, making it extremely complicated to carry out major international studies. In the latest issue of Nature Biotechnology, Swedish ethics researchers at the Center for Bioethics (CBE), together with leading biobank researchers, put forward a pioneering solution: a set of practical ethical guidelines for biobank research.
Biobanks consist of systematically gathered biological samples and are valuable for both research and medical treatments. When tissues samples are linked to good clinical data, they become indispensable to medical science.