In 1961, during a highway construction project in northeastern Mexico, less than 200 miles from the Texas border, a pair of tracks, one left and one right, were uncovered in the Chihuahuan Desert. The tracks were excavated and taken to a local museum (Saltillo’s Museo del Desierto) for study. Now, over 50 years later, researchers have determined that the tracks are a mind-boggling 10,500 years old, smashing the previous record by thousands of years.
Seemingly impossible, the idea of a nested star has been proposed before – it’s just nobody has ever found an example of the cosmic oddity. That may be about to change though. Scientists are keeping the name of the star a secret right now – at least until their peers can validate their findings – but at this point they think they may have found a star within a star.
For the first time in history, confirmed dinosaur fossils have been found in Saudi Arabia. Rare in the Arabian Peninsula, the finding of the 72-million-year-old tail-bones of the plant-eating titanosaur and a fossilized teeth of a sharp-toothed theropod were discovered in the Adaffa formation, a pile of sandstone and conglomerates deposited during the Late Cretaceous Period (at a time when Saudi Arabia had not yet separated from Africa and parts of Arabia were underwater). The teeth were found about 7 miles northeast of Al Khuraybah along the coast of the Red Sea in Saudi Arabia. Other rare finds, mainly teeth and bone fragments, of a similar species had been found previously in Jordan, Oman, and Lebanon.
Scientists have found a vast underground water reservoir in one of Kenya’s driest regions that they say could allow the drought-stricken country to meet its water needs for at least the next 70 years. The massive water reservoir, located 1,082 feet underground, was found in the desert of Kenya’s Turkana region. Named the Lotikipi Basin Aquifer, they have estimated it contains more than 200 billion cubic meters of fresh water – about the side of Rhode Island – nearly nine times Kenya’s current reserves.
Researchers from Rice University have calculated a new form of carbon supermaterial, named Carbyyne, that is stronger than steel, grapheme, and even diamonds. The new form of carbon promises more strength and stiffness than any other known material. The new material is constructed from a chain of carbon atoms linked either by alternate triple and single bonds, or just by consecutive double bonds.
A submerged archaeological site has been discovered, with extensive sunken architectural remains, by an Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities team, located at a depth of 2-6 meters off the Alikanas beach on northeast Zakynthos island in the Ionian Sea island. The team had been surveying the area since the May 13, 2013. The site covers around 3 hectares and contains visible traces of paved floor and courtyard, colonnade bases, while ancient building material is spread all over it. At least 20 circular column bases, each bearing a large central hole that were probably used to support wooden columns, were counted.
Canadian and British scientists announced last week that they have discovered the world's oldest flowing water deep under an Ontario copper and zinc mine in Canada. The scientists recovered the water through boreholes drilled underneath the mine. The cache of water was discovered 1.5 miles (2.4 kilometers) underground and is believed to date from 1.5 to 2.64 billion years old (dated via analysis of the amount of xenon gas dissolved in it). That would put the water's origin to around the time the first multicellular life arose on the planet. They noted that the water is rich with dissolved hydrogen and methane, both components that could theoretically support microbial life.
It was announced yesterday that a new prime number, the largest to date, has been discovered by Dr. Curtis Cooper, a professor at the University of Central Missouri. The new prime number, which is also the 48th Mersenne prime (an extremely rare prime that is a prime number that can be written in the form Mp = 2n-1), is 257,885,161-1. The 48th Mersenne prime was discovered as part of the Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search (GIMPS), a project that has used volunteer computers to calculate and search for primes for 17 years. Dr. Cooper’s computer took 39 days of continuous calculation to verify the prime status of the number, which has over 17 million digits and was discovered January 25. The discovery was verified independently by a 32-core server that took 6 days running MLucas software to confirm; a CUDALucas software running on an Nvidia GTX 560 Ti that took 7.7 days; and the GIMPS software on an Intel Core i7 CPU that took 4.5 days. If the 17 million digits were written out, they would fill approximately 28 novel-length books.
A team of scientists at Swiss Federal Institute of Technology have upset the current body of literature on quantum electrodynamics by proving that the size of a proton is actually much smaller than originally believed. Their measurements indicated the proton's radius measures a mere 0.84fm.
Scientist have long speculated that ice existed on the planet Mercury. Radio waves bounced off the planet decades ago indicated many bright spots on the planet's surface. Scientist were reluctant to conclude that the white areas were ice though. The white reflection could have been silicate, sulfur, or other highly-reflective substances. Today, a new analysis of neutron-spectrometry data returned by the Messenger probe has confirmed that ice exists near the planet’s poles – lots of ice. Even though temperatures on Mercury can exceed 800-degrees, deep craters near the planet’s poles keep the temperatures cool, as low as 370 degrees below zero, and in these craters there exists ice. Evidence of large pockets of ice is apparent from a latitude of 85 degrees north up to the pole, with smaller deposits of ice scattered as far away as 65 degrees north.
Kappa Andromedae b (or 'Kappa And b,' for short) is 170 light-years away and orbits its sun, which is a mere 30 million years old (compared to Earth’s 5 billion year old sun), about 1.8 times farther than Neptune's orbit. It glows red due to radiation from the heat that’s left over from its formation. Its mass is so huge, scientists are not sure how to classify it. Is it a sun, a planet, or more likely, something in between - a "failed star" that's not big enough to sustain nuclear fusion in its core? For lack of a better name, scientists are calling it a “Super Jupiter”.
Two volunteer amateur astronomers have confirmed the existence of a Neptune-like planet that has four suns, making it the first quadruple planetary star system ever discovered and a real-life version of Tatooine from "Star Wars”. The planet is a gas giant located 5,000 light years from Earth and orbits one pair of the stars which in turn forms a unit that orbits around the second pair of stars.
Astronomers have discovered a new planet, about the size of Earth, orbiting Alpha Centauri B, a nearby sun-like star roughly 4 light years away. The new planet orbits its parent star about 10 times closer than Mercury so temperatures might be more than 2,240 degrees Fahrenheit. Still, scientists are hopeful that more planets will be discovered a bit further out, some in the range that could indeed support life as we know it.
Researchers from Yale University have found a rocky planet, about 40 light years away from Earth, that is roughly twice the size of Earth and made primarily of granite and diamonds. With a surface temperature of approximately 3,900 degrees Fahrenheit, mining the diamonds is going to be a tough.
In a rare find, scientists identified a new species of monkey found in the remote forests of Congo – the lesula. It has been nearly three decades since scientists identified a new monkey species. The lesula was known to local hunters, they just never thought to mention it to anyone else.