A lot of attention has been paid in recent years to the asteroid threat issue. The International Asteroid Patrol has been set up to monitor the flight of potentially dangerous celestial rocks in visual diapason. However, the accuracy of optical methods for determining the trajectory leaves much to be desired. That accounts for inaccuracy of numerous forecasts predicting the date when the space "killer" is to collide with the Earth.
The scientists of the Radio-Astronomical Institute (National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine) have suggested that RT-70 radio-telescope (located in the town of Yevpatoria) should be used to determine and refine the coordinates of selected asteroids. The radio-telescope is equipped with a special guidance system which permits to point the telescope at any spot in the sky. The specificity of RT-70 is its ability to perform two functions: to send radio signals into space and to receive them. There are only two of such universal telescopes in the world.
The Kharkov radio-astronomers have carried out the first radio-location session. The RT-70 telescope antenna radiated radio-frequency pulses in the direction of 1998 WT 24 asteroid, and the echo pulse was synchronously received by Russian and foreign radio-astronomers at several antennas simultaneously. Application of the radio-interferometry method, i.e. coordinated effort of several radio-telescopes located at a distance from each other, allowed to determine the celestial body coordinates at that point with the highest possible precision, and, consequently, to calculate its trajectory. A successful experiment of this type, which took place for the first time in the world, proved that the radio-location method could discover an asteroid, calculate peculiarities of its orbit and surface when it was at a large distance from the Earth.
Valentina Gatash | alfa
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Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
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