The Best Science Photos of 2019


Post 8770

The Best Science Photos of 2019

By Jeanna Bryner – Live Science Editor-in-Chief 9 days ago

https://www.livescience.com/best-science-photos-of-2019.html

running man nebula
(Image: © Steven Mohr)
Science can be beautiful, and gross, and surprising, and awe-inspiring. From stoic primates and graceful sea creatures, to cosmic cannibals and black hole jets, to bloody waterfalls and sparkling glaciers, this year was full of visual treasures in the science realm. Here are some of our favorite science photos of 2019.
World river maps

Rivers get the rainbow treatment in a gorgeous series of maps from Hungarian cartographer Robert Szucs, who has a background in geographic information systems (GIS). He created the gorgeous maps because he was bored by standard river maps with "all the lines blue, all the same width," he said.

(Image credit: Robert Szucs, Cartographer)

Rivers get the rainbow treatment in a gorgeous series of maps from Hungarian cartographer Robert Szucs, who has a background in geographic information systems (GIS). He created the gorgeous maps because he was bored by standard river maps with “all the lines blue, all the same width,” he said.

Super blood moon eclipse

super blood wolf moon lunar eclipse 2019

(Image credit: MARCEL KUSCH/AFP/Getty Images))
The super blood wolf moon lunar eclipse graced the skies late-night on Jan. 20, 2019, as our lone satellite began its trek into Earth’s outer shadow or penumbra. The pinnacle of the show, the total eclipse, happened between 11:41 p.m. and 12:43 p.m. EST (8:41 p.m. and 9:43 p.m. PST), when Earth’s umbra had entirely engulfed the moon. Here, Marcel Kusch captures this image in Duisburg, Germany, showing the super blood moon eclipse above an industrial plant.

Humpback whale mama

humpback whale and calf

(Image credit: François Baelen, Ocean Art 2018)
Photographer François Baelen was diving near Reunion Island in the Western Indian Ocean when he captured this otherworldly image of a mother humpback whale and her calf (top right). The photo took the top prize in the Ocean Art 2018 wide-angle category, whose winners were announced in January 2019.

Ray courtship

spinetail devil ray trio

(Image credit: Duncan Murrell, Ocean Art 2018))

This spectacular image of a trio of spinetail devil rays (Mobula japonica) won the Best in Show in the 2018 Ocean Art underwater photography competition held by Underwater Photography Guide. The winners were announced in January 2019.

Black hole jets

plasma jets black hole

(Image credit: Kyle Parfrey et al./Berkeley Lab)

Kyle Parfrey of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, and his colleagues created a computer model showing how charged particles near the edge of a black hole generate twisting and rotating magnetic fields. Here, a simulation of so-called collisionless relativistic plasma shows the density of positrons, or antimatter partners to electrons, near a rotating black hole.

Milky Way star map

milky way star map

(Image credit: R. White (STScI) and the PS1 Science Consortium)

At the end of January, scientists at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa (UH) created a map that they hailed the biggest release of astronomical data of all time. By compiling data from four years of observations by the Pan-STARRS observatory in Maui, the researchers created a mosaic of the Milky Way (red smear in the middle) and its cosmic neighborhood. The map showed more than 800 million stars, galaxies and roving interstellar objects.

Deepest universe view

hubble ultra-deep field image

(Image credit: A. S. Borlaff et al.)
The Hubble Ultra-Deep Field (HUDF) combines hundreds of images taken by the Hubble Space Telescope over multiple years to create the deepest view of the universe ever created. The composite photo, released in January, contains a whopping 10,000 galaxies.

Twisted milky way

milky way galaxy s-shape

(Image credit: CHEN Xiaodian)
Our home galaxy changed shape this year, or at least how we view it. Scientists found that at the edges of the Milky Way, where the pull of gravity weakens, the shape of the galaxy warps. Instead of lying in a flat plane, the galaxy takes on a bit of a twisted “S” shape.

Wildlife photography awards

Image credit: Tracey Lund, United Kingdom, Shortlist, Open competition, Natural World & Wildlife, 2019 Sony World Photography Awards)
Tracey Lund, of the United Kingdom, captured this action shot of gannets snagging fish underwater, and in doing so, Lund also snagged a finalist spot in the Natural World & Wildlife category of the 2019 Sony World Photography Awards.

 

 

 

 

 

Mystery of Weird Hum Heard Around the World Solved


Post 8769

Mystery of Weird Hum Heard Around the World Solved

By Laura Geggel – Associate Editor 13 hours ago

https://www.livescience.com/underwater-volcano-hum.html

Highly detailed planet Earth in the morning, showing Mozambique and Madagascar.

(Image: © Shutterstock)

Mysterious seismic hums detected around the world were likely caused by an unusual geologic event — the rumblings of a magma-filled reservoir deep under the Indian Ocean, a new study finds.
These odd hums were an unconventional geologic birth announcement. A few months after the sounds rippled around the Earth, a new underwater volcano was born off the coast of the island of Mayotte, located between Madagascar and Mozambique in the Indian Ocean.

The new findings provide a detailed, one-year timeline of the newborn volcano’s birth, which would make any mother (in this case, Mother Earth) proud. The study details how magma from a reservoir about 20 miles (35 kilometers) under the ocean floor migrated upward, traveling through Earth’s crust until it reached the seafloor and created the new volcano.

“It took only [a] few weeks for the magma to propagate from the upper mantle to the seafloor, where a new submarine volcano was born,” study lead researcher Simone Cesca, a seismologist at the GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences in Potsdam, Germany, told Live Science in an email.

This illustration shows how magma in a reservoir deep underground ascended to form a submarine volcano in the Indian Ocean.

This illustration shows how magma in a reservoir deep underground ascended to form a submarine volcano in the Indian Ocean. (Image credit: James Tuttle Keane/Nature Geoscience (2020))
A volcano is born

The saga began in May 2018, when global earthquake-monitoring agencies detected thousands of earthquakes near Mayotte, including a magnitude-5.9 quake, the largest ever detected in the region. Then, in November 2018, seismologists recorded weird seismic hums, some lasting up to 40 minutes, buzzing around the world. To put it mildly, these mysterious hums “trigger[ed] the curiosity of the scientific community,” the researcherswrote in the study.
The researchers found more than 400 such signals, Cesca said.
In 2019, a French oceanographic mission showed that a new volcano had been born near Mayotte. It was huge, measuring about 3.1 miles (5 km) long and almost a half mile (0.8 km) high.
Other researchers have suggested that these mysterious hums were tied to the new volcano and possibly a shrinking underground magma chamber, given that Mayotte has sunk and moved several inches since the earthquakes began. However, that research has yet to be published in a peer-reviewed journal.

In the new study, the researchers used data gathered worldwide, as there wasn’t any local seismic data available from Mayotte. Their analyses show that two major stages led to the volcano’s birth. First, magma from a 9-mile-wide (15 km) reservoir flowed upward diagonally until it reached the seafloor, leading to a submarine eruption, Cesca said. As the magma moved, it “triggered energetic earthquakes along its path to the surface,” he said. “In fact, we reconstructed the upward migration of magma by following the upward migration of earthquakes.”

A sketch showing the deep magma reservoir and the magma highway that led to the new submarine volcano in the Indian Ocean.

A sketch showing the deep magma reservoir and the magma highway that led to the new submarine volcano in the Indian Ocean. (Image credit: Cesca et al. 2019, Nature Geoscience)
In the next stage, the magma path became a highway of sorts, allowing magma to flow out of the reservoir to the seafloor, where it built the volcano. As the reservoir drained, Mayotte sank almost 8 inches (20 centimeters). It also caused the area above the reservoir, called the overburden, to weaken and sag, creating small faults and fractures there. When earthquakes related to the volcano and tectonic plates shook this particular area above the reservoir, they triggered “the resonance of the deep reservoir and generate[d] the peculiar, very long period signals,” Cesca said. In other words, those strange seismic hums.
Related: Photos: Hawaii’s New Underwater Volcano
In all, about 0.4 cubic miles (1.5 cubic km) of magma drained ont of the reservoir, the researchers calculated. However, given the vast size of the volcano, it’s likely that even more magma was involved, Cesca noted.
Although the volcano is now formed, earthquakes may still rattle the area.
“There are still possible hazards for the island of Mayotte today,” study senior researcher and head of the section Physics of Earthquakes and Volcanoes at the GFZ Torsten Dahm, said in a statement “The Earth’s crust above the deep reservoir could continue to collapse, triggering stronger earthquakes.”
The new study was published online Monday (Jan. 6) in the journal Nature Geoscience.

Originally published on Live Science.