MI weekly selection #282

The map shows the total brightness and color of nearly 1.7 billion stars in the Milky Way observed by ESA’s Gaia satellite between July 2014 and May 2016. Credit: ESA/Gaia/DPAC

ESA’s Gaia mission releases 2nd data set on Milky Way observations

Scientists are studying the latest data from the Gaia satellite, launched by the European Space Agency in 2013 to chart the Milky Way’s stars with great accuracy, in search of new discoveries about the galaxy. This is the second set of data received from Gaia, following a data dump in 2016, and it contains observations on 1.3 billion stars.

Scientific American

Study questions findings on worms’ magnetic sensing abilities

Researchers say they haven’t been able to reproduce the results of a 2015 study about a pair of neurons driving worms’ ability to sense magnetic fields. The original study’s authors, however, defended their results in a response.

The Scientist

Sea-level rise, wave-driven floods may soon doom low-lying islands

Sea-level rise coupled with wave-driven floods will make many of the world’s atolls uninhabitable by the middle of this century. Researchers running models under various climate-change scenarios say the combination will harm low-lying islands’ infrastructure and freshwater aquifers.

National Geographic

Ancient footprints show how ice age humans tracked giant sloths

Ancient footprints uncovered in New Mexico reveal how humans tracked giant sloths during the last ice age. “The story that we can read from the tracks is that the humans were stalking; following in the footsteps, precisely in the footsteps of the sloth,” said study co-author Matthew Bennett.

Science News

Wooden Shigir Idol about 11,500 years old

A carved wooden idol found in a peat bog in Russia in the late 1800s is older than previously thought, according to a new analysis. The human-shaped Shigir Idol is around 11,500 years old, likely carved right after the end of the last ice age.

Live Science

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