Monday, June 26, 2017
facebook

google plus


Mysterious 'Planet 10' may be lurking at edge of solar systemPhoto source: Thinkstock

Mysterious 'Planet 10' may be lurking at edge of solar system

25 Jun 2017 | 1:40 PM

WASHINGTON: A mysterious, unseen 'Planet 10' may be lurking in the outer reaches of our solar system, say scientists including one of Indian origin, who have found evidence of a Mars-like object that could be orbiting our Sun.

[ + read story ]

Washington

A mysterious, unseen 'Planet 10' may be lurking in the outer reaches of our solar system, say scientists including one of Indian origin, who have found evidence of a Mars-like object that could be orbiting our Sun.

This object would be different from, and much closer than, the Planet Nine - whose existence yet awaits confirmation.

Researchers, including Renu Malhotra of the University of Arizona in the US, found compelling evidence of a yet-to-be- discovered planetary body with a mass somewhere between that of Mars and Earth.

The mysterious mass has given away its presence only by controlling the orbital planes of a population of space rocks known as Kuiper Belt objects (KBOs) in the icy outskirts of the solar system.

While most KBOs - debris left over from the formation of the solar system - orbit the Sun with orbital tilts that average out to the invariable plane of the solar system, the most distant of the Kuiper Belt's objects do not.

Their average plane is tilted away from the invariable plane by about eight degrees, researchers said.

This means something unknown is warping the average orbital plane of the outer solar system.

"The most likely explanation for our results is that there is some unseen mass," said Kat Volk, a postdoctoral fellow at University of Arizona.

"According to our calculations, something as massive as Mars would be needed to cause the warp that we measured," said Volk, lead author of the study published in the Astronomical Journal.

The Kuiper Belt lies beyond the orbit of Neptune and extends to a few hundred Astronomical Units (AU) - the distance between Earth and the sun.

Like its inner solar system cousin, the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, the Kuiper Belt hosts a vast number of minor planets, mostly small icy bodies and a few dwarf planets.

Through their observations, researchers ruled out the possibility that the postulated object could be the hypothetical Planet Nine, whose existence has been suggested based on other observations.

That planet is predicted to be much more massive (about 10 Earth masses) and much farther out at 500 to 700 AU.

The data also do not rule out the possibility that the warp could result from more than one planetary mass object.

The planet has most likely not been found yet because we have not searched the entire sky for distant solar system objects, researchers said.

The most likely place a planetary mass object could be hiding would be in the galactic plane, an area so densely packed with stars that solar system surveys tend to avoid it.

"The chance that we have not found such an object of the right brightness and distance simply because of the limitations of the surveys is estimated to be to about 30 per cent," Volk said. — PTI

Soon, prosthetic limbs that take feedback from human body

Soon, prosthetic limbs that take feedback from human body

24 Jun 2017 | 3:29 PM

WASHINGTON: Scientists have developed a novel design approach for exoskeletons and prosthetic limbs that incorporates direct feedback from the human body.

Facebook to release app for video creators

Facebook to release app for video creators

24 Jun 2017 | 12:50 PM

NEW YORK: With an aim to empower its creator community, Facebook has announced that it is planning to launch a new app just for them later this year.

New smartphone coating allows you to read in bright sunlight

New smartphone coating allows you to read in bright sunlight

23 Jun 2017 | 8:07 PM

WASHINGTON:Inspired by the nanostructures found on moth eyes, scientists have developed a new anti- reflection film that could allow people to read from their smartphones and tablets even in bright sunlight.

Marriage may weigh men down!

Marriage may weigh men down!

22 Jun 2017 | 6:48 PM

LONDON: Being married makes men gain weight, and the early days of fatherhood may lead to further pile up of extra kilos, a study has found.

Mystery behind 'bright nights' solved

Mystery behind 'bright nights' solved

22 Jun 2017 | 3:26 PM

TORONTO: Scientists have solved a centuries-old mystery of "bright nights" - an unusual glow that appears in the sky after dark and lets observers see distant mountains, read a newspaper or check their watch.

Rare US total solar eclipse excites Americans coast-to-coast

Rare US total solar eclipse excites Americans coast-to-coast

22 Jun 2017 | 2:49 PM

WASHINGTON: For the first time in almost a century the United States is preparing for a coast-to-coast solar eclipse, a rare celestial event millions of Americans, with caution, will be able to observe.

Love for selfies decoded

Love for selfies decoded

22 Jun 2017 | 1:06 PM

WASHINGTON DC: It's now hard to imagine a life without selfies! Thanks to front-facing cameras and the rise of social media, selfies populate our camera rolls, Instagram feeds, dating profiles, and vocabularies.

Facebook's new tools for India to protect profile pictures

Facebook's new tools for India to protect profile pictures

22 Jun 2017 | 12:35 PM

LOS ANGELES: Facebook has introduced new tools in India that will allow users to protect their profile pictures from being downloaded and shared, a move that may help reduce misuse of images on the popular social networking site.

Genetics behind Harry Potter's magical powers decoded

Genetics behind Harry Potter's magical powers decoded

21 Jun 2017 | 9:18 PM

WASHINGTON: Scientists have explained the genetics behind the magical powers of characters in J K Rowling's popular Harry Potter franchise, in an unusual crash-course on wizarding DNA.

Asteroid collision with Earth inevitable: experts

Asteroid collision with Earth inevitable: experts

21 Jun 2017 | 3:21 PM

LONDON: An asteroid strike on the Earth is just a matter of time and such events could destroy major cities, experts warn.

Volcanic eruptions triggered dawn of dinosaurs

Volcanic eruptions triggered dawn of dinosaurs

20 Jun 2017 | 9:07 PM

LONDON: Volcanic activity may have played a key role in triggering the mass extinction event about 200 million years ago, which set the scene for the rise and age of the dinosaurs, an Oxford study has found.

NASA's Kepler telescope spots over 200 new planet candidates

NASA's Kepler telescope spots over 200 new planet candidates

20 Jun 2017 | 8:57 PM

WASHINGTON: NASA's Kepler space telescope has spotted 219 new potential planets, of which at least 10 are near-Earth size with conditions suitable to host life.

Faces of friends look happier than those of strangers: study

Faces of friends look happier than those of strangers: study

20 Jun 2017 | 4:34 PM

NEW YORK: People are more likely to perceive familiar faces to be happier than those of strangers, even when both express the same emotions, a study suggests.

US group wants to ban sale of smartphones for kids under 13

US group wants to ban sale of smartphones for kids under 13

20 Jun 2017 | 2:31 PM

WASHINGTON: In a first, a group in the US state of Colorado has sought a ban on the sale of smartphones for children younger than 13 years to prevent them from getting addicted to the device.

Too hot to handle: Study shows Earth's killer heat worsens

Too hot to handle: Study shows Earth's killer heat worsens

19 Jun 2017 | 9:41 PM

WASHINGTON: Killer heat is getting worse, a new study shows. Deadly heat waves like the one now broiling the American West are bigger killers than previously thought and they are going to grow more frequent, according to a new comprehensive study of fatal heat conditions. Still, those stretches may be less lethal in the future, as people become accustomed to them.

Our Sun was likely born with a twin star

Our Sun was likely born with a twin star

19 Jun 2017 | 9:16 PM

LOS ANGELES: Our Sun likely had a twin when it came into existence 4.5 billion years ago, say scientists who found that every star in the universe is born with a companion.

Tips on how to buy a pair of leather shoes

Tips on how to buy a pair of leather shoes

19 Jun 2017 | 4:21 PM

NEW DELHI: If the right choice is made while buying a pair of leather shoes and they are maintained well, they can last for quite long.

New AI robot creates its own music

New AI robot creates its own music

16 Jun 2017 | 9:23 PM

WASHINGTON: In a first, scientists have developed an artificial intelligence robot that can create its own music inspired by the works of musicians like Beethoven and Lady Gaga.

Last month was second hottest May on record: NASA

Last month was second hottest May on record: NASA

16 Jun 2017 | 9:20 PM

WASHINGTON: May 2017 was the second warmest May in 137 years of modern record-keeping, according to a monthly analysis of global temperatures by NASA scientists.

NASA's new space telescope to hunt for signs of alien life

NASA's new space telescope to hunt for signs of alien life

16 Jun 2017 | 5:32 PM

WASHINGTON: NASA's James Webb Space Telescope will search for signs of extraterrestrial life on Earth-sized planets of the recently discovered TRAPPIST planetary system, as well as on Jupiter's moon Europa, the US space agency said on Friday.

  • SpectrumIt’s not bad blood

    It’s not bad blood

    Menstruation — for a long time this word had only been spoken in hushed voices, a little uncomfortably or in embarrassed tones, usually as part of girly talk.

  • This war horse still gallops in Manila

    Is it a jeep? Is it a taxicab? Is it a jitney? Is it a mural? Or just a jeep turned into a quirky art canvas? And what do you call it? A dyipni? A jeepney? What is its age? First generation? Second generation, or third? In the Philippines, a four-wheeler packed with people can intrigue the visitor.

  • North to South, taste of Vietnam

    Vietnam, a vibrant Southeast Asian country with a unique heritage, is a foodie’s haven. From local breads to delicious soups to street food, there is something to satisfy everyone’s palate.

more Spectrum...