New map of the cold and dense interstellar gas surrounding the local cavity in the plane of the galaxy. White areas represent regions of extremely low gas density (which are probably filled with hot and ionized gas), whereas dark areas reveal where large condensations of cold and dense gas occur. Notice that the local cavity is surrounded by many of these condensations, but this "wall" is broken in several places by low density ‘interstellar tunnels’ that link the local cavity with other nearby bubble cavities such as the Pleiades and GSH 238+00+09.
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The local cavity, when viewed side-on, reveals a tube-like chimney that extends from the galactic plane up into the lower halo region of our galaxy. Such chimneys can act as vents for energetic hot gas produced in supernovas.
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The first detailed map of space within about 1,000 light years of Earth places the solar system in the middle of a large hole that pierces the plane of the galaxy, perhaps left by an exploding star one or two million years ago.
The new map, produced by University of California, Berkeley, and French astronomers, alters the reigning view of the solar neighborhood. In that picture, the sun lies in the middle of a hot bubble - a region of million-degree hydrogen gas with 100-1,000 times fewer hydrogen atoms than the average gas density in the Milky Way - and is surrounded by a solid wall of colder, denser gas.
Instead, said astronomer Barry Welsh of UC Berkeley’s Space Sciences Laboratory, the region around the sun is an irregular cavity of low-density gas that has tunnels branching off through the surrounding dense gas wall. Welsh and his French colleagues suspect that the interconnecting cavities and tunnels, analogous to the holes in a sponge, were created by supernovas or very strong stellar winds that swept out large regions and, when they encountered one another, merged into passageways.
Robert Sanders | UC Berkeley News
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Controlling electronic current is essential to modern electronics, as data and signals are transferred by streams of electrons which are controlled at high speed. Demands on transmission speeds are also increasing as technology develops. Scientists from the Chair of Laser Physics and the Chair of Applied Physics at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) have succeeded in switching on a current with a desired direction in graphene using a single laser pulse within a femtosecond ¬¬ – a femtosecond corresponds to the millionth part of a billionth of a second. This is more than a thousand times faster compared to the most efficient transistors today.
Graphene is up to the job
At the productronica trade fair in Munich this November, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be presenting Laser-Based Tape-Automated Bonding, LaserTAB for short. The experts from Aachen will be demonstrating how new battery cells and power electronics can be micro-welded more efficiently and precisely than ever before thanks to new optics and robot support.
Fraunhofer ILT from Aachen relies on a clever combination of robotics and a laser scanner with new optics as well as process monitoring, which it has developed...
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...
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