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The Sun has a very dynamic atmosphere, with huge fountains of hot gas erupting in the atmosphere, or corona, every few minutes, travelling at tens of thousands of kilometers per hour and reaching great heights.

A team of scientists using the Hinode spacecraft has been searching for the origin and driver of these 'fountains', immense magnetic structures that thread through the solar atmosphere. On Wednesday 2 April at the Royal Astronomical Society National Astronomy Meeting in Belfast (NAM 2008), team leader Dr. Michelle Murray from the Mullard Space Science Laboratory (MSSL, University College London) presented the latest results from Hinode together with computer simulations that model conditions on the Sun.

Research published in the Institute of Physics' Environmental Research Letters shows how a team from Lancaster and Durham Universities sought a means to prove the correlation between the ionizing cosmic rays and the production of low cloud cover.

Previous research had shown a possible correlation, using the results of the International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project, and this had been used to propose that global warming was due to cosmic rays.

The new research shows that change in cloud cover over the Earth does not correlate to changes in cosmic ray intensity. Neither does it show increases and decreases during the sporadic bursts and decreases in the cosmic ray intensity which occur regularly.

A daily dose of caffeine blocks the disruptive effects of high cholesterol that scientists have linked to Alzheimer's disease. A study in the Journal of Neuroinflammation revealed that caffeine equivalent to just one cup of coffee a day could protect the blood-brain barrier (BBB) from damage that occurred with a high-fat diet.

The BBB protects the central nervous system from the rest of the body's circulation, providing the brain with its own regulated microenvironment. Previous studies have shown that high levels of cholesterol break down the BBB which can then no longer protect the central nervous system from the damage caused by blood borne contamination. BBB leakage occurs in a variety of neurological disorders such as Alzheimer's disease.

DNA repair capacity is an important factor in cancer, inflammation, aging, and other human conditions. Radiation is something we can never avoid and it's responsible for a lot of medical problems.

Bdelloid rotifers have been able to give up sex and escape the usual drawback of asexuality – extinction - and still survive because they have evolved an extraordinary efficient mechanism for repairing harmful mutations to their DNA, say the Marine Biological Laboratory’s David Mark Welch, Matthew Meselson, and their colleagues.

What’s more, they have done so over millions of years of evolution, resulting in at least 370 species.

Omega Centauri is visible from Earth with the naked eye and is one of the favorite celestial objects for stargazers from the southern hemisphere.

Although the cluster is 17,000 light-years away, located just above the plane of the Milky Way, it appears almost as large as the full Moon when the cluster is seen from a dark rural area.

Exactly how Omega Centauri should be classified has always been a contentious topic. It was first listed in Ptolemy’s catalogue nearly two thousand years ago as a single star. Edmond Halley reported it as a nebula in 1677. In the 1830s the English astronomer John Herschel was the first to recognise it as a globular cluster.

Now, more than a century later, this new result suggests Omega Centauri is not a globular cluster at all, but a dwarf galaxy stripped of its outer stars.

An international team of scientists, led by Prof Louise Harra, University College London, Mullard Space Science Laboratory, have found a source of the stream of particles that make up the slow solar wind using data from Hinode and SOHO.

The solar wind can have low or high speeds. The low-speed or slow solar wind moves at only 1.5 million km/h. The high-speed wind is even faster, moving at speeds as high as 3 million km/h. As it flows past Earth, the solar wind changes the shape and structure of Earth's magnetic field.

ESA’ s SOHO and Hinode Project Scientist, Bernhard Fleck says, “In the past, apart from creating beautiful auroral displays, the solar wind didn’t affect us directly. But as we’ve become increasingly dependent on technology, we are more susceptible to its effects. We’re learning that variations in its flow can dramatically change the shape of Earth's magnetic field, which can damage satellites, disrupt communications and electrical power systems.”