Tag Archives: santa cruz

Saturn Moon May Have Rigid Ice Shell

An analysis of gravity and topography data from the Saturnian moon Titan obtained by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft suggests there could be something unexpected about the moon’s outer ice shell. The findings, published on Aug. 28 in the journal Nature, suggest that Titan’s ice shell could be rigid, and that relatively small topographic features on the surface could be associated with large ice “roots” extending into the underlying ocean.

The study was led by planetary scientists Douglas Hemingway and Francis Nimmo at the University of California, Santa Cruz, who used data from Cassini. The researchers were surprised to find a counterintuitive relationship between gravity and topography. (more…)

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How Galaxies Grow Up

A study of 544 star-forming galaxies shows that disk galaxies like our own Milky Way reached their current state as orderly rotating pinwheels much later than previously thought, long after much of the universe’s star formation had ceased.

Galaxies are in no hurry to grow up, a team of astronomers has discovered. A comprehensive study of hundreds of galaxies observed by the Keck telescopes in Hawaii and NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has revealed an unexpected pattern of change that extends back 8 billion years, or more than half the age of the universe.

Researchers say the distant blue galaxies they studied are gradually transforming into rotating disk galaxies like our own Milky Way. Until now, it had not been clear how a galaxy’s organization and internal motion change over time, said Benjamin Weiner, assistant astronomer at the UA Steward Observatory and co-author of the paper describing the findings, which are published in The Astrophysical Journal. (more…)

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Ancient Alteration of Seawater Chemistry Linked With Past Climate Change

Dissolution or creation of huge gypsum deposits changed sulfate content of the oceans

Scientists have discovered a potential cause of Earth’s “icehouse climate” cooling trend of the past 45 million years. It has everything to do with the chemistry of the world’s oceans.

“Seawater chemistry is characterized by long phases of stability, which are interrupted by short intervals of rapid change,” says geoscientist Ulrich Wortmann of the University of Toronto, lead author of a paper reporting the results and published this week in the journal Science.

“We’ve established a new framework that helps us better interpret evolutionary trends and climate change over long periods of time. The study focuses on the past 130 million years, but similar interactions have likely occurred through the past 500 million years.” (more…)

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Not Your Typical Summer Job for High School Students

The iCLEM Program Gives Students Hands-On Science Experience and a Salary

When we think of high school summer jobs what typically comes to mind are images of lawn-mowing, camp-counseling, life-guarding at a swimming pool, and baby-sitting. But for eight high school students from the East Bay Area, a job this summer means a lab coat and safety glasses, working in a state-of-the art microbiology research facility on the next-step in bioenergy.

The program known as “iCLEM,” which stands for Introductory College Level Experience in Microbiology, is a unique paid summer internship for high school students who trend outside the typical curve of academic enrichment. Sponsored by the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) and the Synthetic Biology Engineering Research Center (SynBERC), with funding from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Science Foundation (NSF), iCLEM pays the students a total of $2,000 upon completion of an eight-week program in which they do real science in collaboration with high school teachers and researchers from JBEI and SynBERC. (more…)

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West Nile Virus Transmission Linked with Land-Use Patterns and “Super-spreaders”

*Spread highest in urbanized and agricultural habitats*

After its initial appearance in New York in 1999, West Nile virus spread across the United States in just a few years and is now well established throughout North and South America.

Both the mosquitoes that transmit it and the birds that are important hosts for the virus are abundant in areas that have been modified by human activities.

As a result, transmission of West Nile virus is highest in urbanized and agricultural habitats. (more…)

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