MI weekly selection #206
Many moons may be waiting to be discovered in our solar system
There are likely more moons to be found in our galaxy, according to re-evaluation of data from the Voyager space probes and searches by the Hubble Space Telescope and with future searches by the more powerful James Webb Space Telescope set to be launched in the next couple of years. One new study suggests as-yet-undiscovered moonlets could be causing regular patterns in Uranus’ rings.
Rare eye-shaped star formation caused by galaxies grazing each other
A pair of spiral galaxies grazed each other, creating a rare eye-shaped star formation. “Finding one in such a newly formed state gives us an exceptional opportunity to study what happens when one galaxy grazes another,” said Michele Kaufman, the study’s lead author.
Ancient skull belonged to largest saber-toothed cat
The huge skull of Machairodus horribilis, an ancient saber-toothed cat, found in rock dated back 8.3 million years in China likely belonged to the largest saber cat ever. The skull is bigger than those of all other known saber cats, researchers say, but the animal’s gape was smaller, suggesting it needed to target smaller prey than that of other saber cats.
Giving birth may age women’s cells
Giving birth may make women’s cells older. Researchers took blood samples from more than 1,500 women and found that those who had given birth had shorter telomeres, which shorten as one ages.
The cosmos could gradually tear itself apart
Depending on how dark energy behaves, there are a number of possible end-time scenarios. In the most popular, it causes expansion to accelerate steadily over time, until galaxies, stars and atoms grow too distant and cold to interact – a Big Freeze. But if dark energy behaves differently so that the acceleration rate is not constant and increases with time, it will eventually tear everything to bits in a kind of rip.