Wine in Texas, Microplastics, South Sudan Poaching, and More in the Environmental Science News Source

The latest research on the environment in the Environmental Science News Source

Atomic-Scale Imaging Improves Dating of Planetary Events

Research led by the University of Portsmouth has identified a new way to improve how we measure the age of planetary evolution in our solar system.

The Big Star That Couldn't Become a Supernova

For the first time in history, astronomers have been able to watch as a dying star was reborn as a black hole. It went out with a whimper instead of a bang.

Collapsing Star Gives Birth to a Black Hole

Astronomers have watched as a massive, dying star was likely reborn as a black hole. It took the combined power of the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT), and NASA's Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes to go looking for remnants of the vanquished star, only to find that it disappeared out of sight.

Penn Medicine Biochemist Awarded $2.5 Million Grant for New Microscope Technology

Ronen Marmorstein, PhD, a professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, is one of five investigators who received a grant from the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation for the creation of a state-of-the-art cryogenic electron microscopy (cryo-EM) facility. The investment supports research in chemistry and the life sciences and will also go towards maintaining the cryo-EM facilities and hiring of new faculty skilled in its uses.

Boise State Researcher Earns $529,000 NASA Grant to Study Effects of Human-Caused Light, Noise on Wildlife

A team of researchers led by Boise State assistant professor Neil Carter have been awarded a $529,000 grant from NASA to study the effects of human-made light and noise on wildlife in the U.S. Carter and his team will be collaborating closely with the National Park Service's Natural Sounds and Night Skies Division.

VLA Reveals New Object Near Supermassive Black Hole in Famous Galaxy

Astronomers using the VLA found that a bright new object near a distant galaxy's core is either a very rare type of supernova explosion or, more likely, an outburst from a second supermassive black hole closely orbiting the galaxy's primary, central supermassive black hole.

Research Reveals Insights Into Optical Properties of Plasmonic Nanostructures

University of Arkansas physicists are able to accurately describe the geometric structure of gold nanobars, enabling more precise coupling of plasmonic nanostructures with light.

Atomic Structure of Irradiated Materials Is More Akin to Liquid Than Glass

Materials exposed to neutron radiation tend to experience significant damage. At the nanoscale, these incident neutrons collide with a material's atoms, which then collide with each other. The resulting disordered atomic network resembles those seen in some glassy materials, which has led many in the field to use them in nuclear research. But the similarities between the materials may not be as useful as previously thought, according to this week's The Journal of Chemical Physics.

Understanding Stars: How Tornado-Shaped Flow in a Dynamo Strengthens the Magnetic Field

A new simulation based on the von-Karman-Sodium (VKS) dynamo experiment takes a closer look at how the liquid vortex created by the device generates a magnetic field. Researchers investigated the effects of fluid resistivity and turbulence on the collimation of the magnetic field, where the vortex becomes a focused stream. They report their findings this week in the journal Physics of Fluids.

Neptune: Neutralizer-Free Plasma Propulsion

The most established plasma propulsion concepts are gridded-ion thrusters that accelerate and emit a larger number of positively charged particles than those that are negatively charged. To enable the spacecraft to remain charge-neutral, a "neutralizer" is used to inject electrons to exactly balance the positive ion charge in the exhaust beam. However, the neutralizer requires additional power from the spacecraft and increases the size and weight of the propulsion system. Researchers are investigating how the radio-frequency self-bias effect can be used to remove the neutralizer altogether, and they report their work in this week's Physics of Plasmas.

Collecting Real-Time Data About Material Microstructural Evolution During Radiation Exposure

It may be surprising to learn that much remains unknown about radiation's effects on materials. To find answers, Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers are developing techniques to explore the microstructural evolution and degradation of materials exposed to radiation. They report a dynamic option, this week in Applied Physics Letters, to continuously monitor the properties of materials being exposed to radiation during the exposure. This provides real-time information about a material's microstructural evolution.

Kepler Telescope Spies Details of TRAPPIST-1 System's Outermost Planet

A University of Washington-led international team of astronomers has used data gathered by the Kepler Space Telescope to observe and confirm details of the outermost of seven exoplanets orbiting the star TRAPPIST-1.

Quantum Mechanics Is Complex Enough, for Now...

Physicists have searched for deviations from standard quantum mechanics, testing whether quantum mechanics requires a more complex set of mathematical rules. To do so a research team led by Philip Walther at the University of Vienna designed a new photonic experiment using exotic metamaterials, which were fabricated at the University of California Berkeley. Their experiment supports standard quantum mechanics and allows the scientists to place bounds on alternative quantum theories. The results, which are published in "Nature Communications", could help to guide theoretical work in a search for a more general version of quantum mechanics.

World's Most Sensitive Dark Matter Detector Releases First Results

Scientists behind XENON1T, the largest dark matter experiment of its kind ever built, are encouraged by early results, describing them as the best so far in the search for dark matter.

Physicists Discover That Lithium Oxide on Tokamak Walls Can Improve Plasma Performance

A team of physicists has found that a coating of lithium oxide on the inside of fusion machines known as tokamaks can absorb as much deuterium as pure lithium can.

Mapping Super Massive Black Holes in the Distant Universe

Astronomers have constructed the first map of the Universe based on the positions of supermassive black holes, which reveals the large-scale structure of the Universe.

Scientists Perform First Basic Physics Simulation of Spontaneous Transition of the Edge of Fusion Plasma to Crucial High-Confinement Mode

PPPL physicists have simulated the spontaneous transition of turbulence at the edge of a fusion plasma to the high-confinement mode that sustains fusion reactions. The research was achieved with the extreme-scale plasma turbulence code XGC developed at PPPL in collaboration with a nationwide team.

Deconstructing Osmosis Provides Insight for Medical and Industrial Use

New research into osmosis-driven behavior now provides a more granular theoretical understanding of the deterministic mechanisms, appearing as a pair of publications this week in The Journal of Chemical Physics. The first paper deconstructs the molecular mechanics of osmosis with high concentrations, and generalizes the findings to predict behavior for arbitrary concentrations. The second piece of the study then simulates via molecular modeling two key forms of osmotic flow in a broadly utilizable way.

Hubble Spots Moon Around Third Largest Dwarf Planet

An international team of astronomers have uncovered a moon around a dwarf planet by using the combined power of three space observatories, including archival images from the Hubble Space Telescope. Called 2007 OR<sub>10</sub>, it is the third-largest dwarf planet in the Kuiper Belt.

ALMA Eyes Icy Ring around Young Planetary System

Astronomers using ALMA have made the first complete millimeter-wavelength image of the ring of dusty debris surrounding the young star Fomalhaut.

Engaging Diamond for Next-Era Transistors

Most transistors are silicon-based and silicon technology has driven the computer revolution. In some applications, however, silicon has significant limitations. Silicon devices are prone to faltering and failing in difficult environments. Addressing these challenges, Jiangwei Liu, from Japan's National Institute for Materials Sciences, and his colleagues describe new work developing diamond-based transistors this week in the journal Applied Physics Letters, from AIP Publishing.