Astronomers are baffled by a newly-discovered galaxy that lacks dark matter

March 29, 2018 by  
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For the first time ever, scientists have identified a galaxy , NGC1052-DF2, that seems to lack the presence of dark matter.  For decades, scientists have believed that dark matter is a major aspect of any galaxy, which makes this discovery completely baffling. In an odd way, the new galaxy’s lack of dark matter may serve as evidence for the existence of it by demonstrating that there is much astronomers do not understand about such vast low-density galaxies. Although scientists have yet to directly observe dark matter, they believe it is out there due to the unusual motion of galaxies, which move as if under a greater gravitational force than that from the presence of regular matter. “These ultra-diffuse galaxies have a huge variety of properties,” study lead author Pieter van Dokkum told Gizmodo . “Some have a lot of dark matter , and some have no dark matter. There’s such an enormous range.” These observations have led scientists to believe that the universe may contain six times as much dark matter as ordinary matter . In a new study published in Nature , astronomers documented their observation that NGC1052-DF2 did not seem to rotate at all, indicating a lack of dark matter. “We could only derive an upper bound to the measured motion because it’s moving so slowly that our instrument couldn’t detect it,” said van Dokkum. Related: Scientists capture first ever image of dark matter web that connects galaxies The team also recently discovered a Dragonfly 44 with a similar structure to NGC1052-DF2, though its rotation suggests that the galaxy is composed of more than 99 percent dark matter. These observations were made possible by the Dragonfly Telephoto Array, a powerful telescope that shines a light on the universe’s secrets. This is exactly the sort of thing the Dragonfly instrument excels at discovering,” astrophysicist Sarah Tuttle told Gizmodo , “and confirming a low-mass galaxy without dark matter is an important step in understanding both galaxy formation and evolution, as well as cosmology.” Via Gizmodo Images via  Pieter van Dokkum and PBS

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Astronomers are baffled by a newly-discovered galaxy that lacks dark matter

How floating solar panels are helping the Maldives ditch diesel fuel

March 29, 2018 by  
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Tropical islands might boast pure natural scenery, but their energy sources are often anything but pure. Many power-hungry resorts in the Maldives rely on diesel, a notorious pollutant, for their energy needs. Swimsol , a solar power company based in Austria, is working to change that. Because many of the islands in the Maldives are tiny — you can walk across some of them in under 10 minutes — there isn’t much space for solar power , but Swimsol has solved the problem by turning to the seas. Inhabitat caught up with founder and managing director Martin Putschek to find out more. Sunshine is plentiful in the Maldives; land, not so much. To make matters more challenging, rooftop solar has limited potential – tropical buildings often aren’t made for bearing heavy loads like buildings in colder locations that must withstand snow. “But what you have is huge atolls, around 10 to 20 kilometers wide, roughly. You’ve got the outer reef around this atoll and inside this outer reef, it’s a little like a lake,” Putschek told Inhabitat. After a business trip to the Maldives, the idea came to him while practicing the violin: what if he could install floating solar panels on that water? Related: The Netherlands plans 26,910-square-foot floating solar farm at sea Swimsol’s SolarSea systems are the result of that spark of inspiration – and their first commercial pilot has been operating for just over three years. Solar panels are mounted atop a patent-pending marine-grade aluminum alloy framework designed to let waves pass through. The system, which the company says will last 30 years or more, can withstand waves of around six and a half feet high and winds of around 75 miles per hour. Each platform, which is about 46 by 46 feet, can power around 25 households. Swimsol says the systems assemble much like IKEA furniture, and three people could build one platform on a beach in under a day — no heavy machinery or welding necessary. And it turns out solar panels drifting on the sea are actually more productive than those on land, thanks to water’s cooling effect. “We measured the temperature difference between solar panels on a roof and on a floating structure which were installed very close to each other, like 200 meters apart, and at lunch time you can see a temperature difference of 20 degrees,” Putschek told Inhabitat. He said they can obtain as much as 10 percent more power from floating panels, depending on the time of day. But do floating solar panels impact marine life? Putschek said they clearly need to keep systems away from coral reefs , which need sunlight. Fortunately, there are swaths of water with sandy seabeds where they can install solar. “Regarding the fish , they actually like it. They like the shade and places where they can hide. The whole thing serves as a fish-aggregating device, which is a term for floating platforms with no purpose other than just attracting fish. Ours are solar platforms, but that’s a side effect,” Putschek said. He said corals even grow on the platforms, turning them into artificial reefs. Right now, Swimsol is not selling the floating systems, but the electricity they produce — and they’re able to sell it cheaper than diesel, without a government-subsidized feed-in tariff. “We installed a little over a megawatt last year. This year we’re probably installing about three or so, and in terms of money that’s between $3 and $6 million,” Putschek said. They’re planning a crowdfunding campaign in Austria and Germany in a couple of months, and are looking for a strategic partner for further growth and to help them get access to more funding. “If you install one kilowatt of solar, so that’s four panels, you can save 400 liters of diesel a year. So 100 kilowatts would be 40,000 liters; one megawatt would be 400,000 liters. The point is, it makes sense to go big,” said Putschek. “The idea would be to install dozens of megawatts because the space is there, the need is there. In 2014, the Maldives spent one fifth of their gross domestic product on fuel. That means every hour you work, 12 minutes you only work for diesel. People talk about tidal energy or wind energy and that’s all fantastic but it doesn’t work in the tropics. In the Caribbean, yes; there you have wind. But in the Maldives or Singapore you don’t have enough wind, and you also don’t have big waves. The renewable energy of choice is solar. Because what they do have is a lot of sun. They also have a lot of sea. We’re just combining the two.” + Swimsol Images courtesy of Swimsol

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How floating solar panels are helping the Maldives ditch diesel fuel

Pape Bird Observation Tower is a glorious marriage of a birds nest and a jewel box

December 11, 2017 by  
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This charming bird observation tower looks like a mix between a bird’s nest and a jewel box. Berta Risueño Muzás and Manuel Pareja Abascal designed the structure to provide visitors of Latvia ’s Pape Nature Park with protection from the elements while also blending perfectly into its natural surroundings so as not to disrupt the local wildlife. The project, selected as the winner of the  Pape Bird Observation Tower Competition , combines timber and rope to achieve a sense of protection and privacy. The use of rope as a sustainable and economical material that is easy to transport, simplifies the fabrication of the structure. The tower can be completely assembled off-site, it is easy to maintain and replace. Related: Rammed-earth walls clad an observation tower to blend into a Belgian nature reserve Different-sized aluminum frames are placed in the shell, creating openings that connect the interior of the tower with the surrounding landscape. A light timber frame envelops the tower with a double function– it strengthens the structure and frames the façade. + Pape Bird Observation Tower Competition

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Pape Bird Observation Tower is a glorious marriage of a birds nest and a jewel box

Burst Pipe Spills 10,000 Gallons of Crude Oil Onto the Streets of Los Angeles

May 15, 2014 by  
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10,000 gallons of oil spilled onto the streets of Los Angeles last night when a pipe burst at a transfer station in Atwater Village near Glendale. Fire crews worked to contain the spill overnight and an environmental cleaning crew is mopping up the remains this morning. A small number of businesses in the area were affected by the spill, and four people were evaluated for respiratory conditions with two taken to hospital for further observation. Read the rest of Burst Pipe Spills 10,000 Gallons of Crude Oil Onto the Streets of Los Angeles Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: crude oil , environmental disasters , Glendale , LA oil spill , Los Angeles oil spill , oil on the streets of LA , oil pipeline , oil spills

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Burst Pipe Spills 10,000 Gallons of Crude Oil Onto the Streets of Los Angeles

MIT Scientist Believes That Paintballs Could Be Used To Deflect Incoming Asteroids

October 29, 2012 by  
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When it comes to protecting the Earth from potentially devastating asteroids , scientists have discussed using everything from nuclear weapons to spacecraft armed with solar-powered lasers . However,  an MIT scientist has proposed that should an asteroid approach the Earth less-harmful weapons should be implemented – paintballs . Read the rest of MIT Scientist Believes That Paintballs Could Be Used To Deflect Incoming Asteroids Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: armageddon , asteroids , meteor , MIT , nasa , NASA’s Near Earth Objects Observation Program , Near Earth Objects , paintballs , spacecraft , Sung Wook Paek

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MIT Scientist Believes That Paintballs Could Be Used To Deflect Incoming Asteroids

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