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annarita ruberto
We can achieve what strongly we want!
We can achieve what strongly we want!

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Sh2-155: The Cave Nebula

This image (published by APoD on November 6, 2014) features the dusty Sharpless catalog emission region Sh2-155, the Cave Nebula.

The Cave Nebula, Sh2-155 or Caldwell 9, is in the constellation Cepheus. Astronomical explorations of the region reveal that it has formed at the boundary of the massive Cepheus B molecular cloud and the hot, young stars of the Cepheus OB 3 association.

Sh2-155 is a region of interstellar atomic hydrogen that is ionized (H II region) with ongoing star formation activity, at an estimated distance of 725 parsecs (2400 light-years) from Earth. About 35 light years across, it is a dim, and diffuse bright nebula, within a larger nebula complex containing reflection, emission, and dark nebulosity.

A study (;jsessionid=4D00213F125D76FC423B9004EF304B12.ip-10-40-1-105) of the region's young stellar objects by the Chandra X-ray Observatory and Spitzer Space Telescope shows a progression of stellar ages in front of the cloud, supporting the hypothesis of triggered star-formation.

In the composite image, data taken through narrowband filters tracks the glow of ionized sulfur, hydrogen, and oxygen atoms in red, green, and blue hues.

► For more technical information about this narrowband image, go to>>

Image Credit & Copyright: Bill Snyder (Bill Snyder Photography)

Further reading and references

► Sh2-155: The Cave Nebula >>

► The Sharpless Catalog>>

► Sh 2-155>>

► Radiation-driven Implosion in the Cepheus B Molecular Cloud>>

► OB associations>>

► H II region>>

► Sh2-155>>

#Universe, #Sh2_155, #Astronomy, #Research, #APoD

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A Blood Test Can Detect whether Alzheimer's Plaques Are Building up in a Person’s Brain

This would be great indeed!

A study led by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis suggests that measures of amyloid beta in the blood have the potential to help identify people with altered levels of amyloid beta in their brains or cerebrospinal fluid. Ideally, a blood-based screening test would identify people who have started down the path toward Alzheimer’s years before they could be diagnosed based on symptoms.

People with Alzheimer’s disease tend to have sticky clumps of beta-amyloid in their brains, although the part these plaques play in the condition is unclear. Until now, the only way to monitor plaque build-up in a person’s brain has been through expensive PET-scans, or by performing an invasive spinal tap procedure.

Now a team has developed a blood test that may make it possible for family doctors to screen for Alzheimer’s risk during health check-ups. “This kind of test could be used to screen many thousands of patients to identify those at risk for Alzheimer’s disease, and to start treatments before memory loss and brain damage,” says Randall Bateman, of Washington University in St Louis, who unveiled the test at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in London, 19 July 2017._

The new blood test measures the amounts of three amyloid subtypes, the peptides amyloid beta 38, 40 and 42. It has been found that the levels of amyloid beta 42 are consistently 10 to 15 percent lower than amyloid beta 40 in people with amyloid plaques in the brain.

"Amyloid plaques are composed primarily of amyloid beta 42, so this probably means that it is being deposited in the brain before moving into the bloodstream," Randall J. Bateman, the study's senior author explained in a press release.

The blood test is said to have an accuracy of 89 percent over 20 blood samples.

► Learn more>>

► The study "Amyloid β concentrations and stable isotope labeling kinetics of human plasma specific to central nervous system amyloidosis" was published in the journal Alzheimer's and Dementia.>>

#Neuroscience, #Research, #BloodTest, #AmyloidPlaques, #AlzheimerDisease, #Dementia


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Hamiltonian (Circuit of Octahedra)

An interesting creation from Clayton Shonkwiler, mathematician (Colorado State University) and artist.
► Go to his website>>

This animation shows 6 octahedra centered at the 6 vertices of a large octahedron which trace out a Hamiltonian cycle on the skeleton of the big octrahedron.

► Go to this link for more information and to get the code>>

Further reading

► Hamiltonian Cycle>>

► Octahedron>>

#Mathematics, #Geometry, #HamiltonianCycle, #Octahedron
Animated Photo

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Is Dementia Preventable?

Experts say that one-third of the world’s dementia cases could be prevented by managing lifestyle factors such as hearing loss, hypertension and depression.

This remarkable fact was part of a report by the first Lancet Commission on Dementia Prevention and Care that was presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC) 2017 and published in The Lancet. The report also highlighted the beneficial effects of nonpharmacologic interventions such as social contact and exercise for people with dementia.

“There’s been a great deal of focus on developing medicines to prevent dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease,” said commission member and AAIC presenter Dr. Lon Schneider, professor of psychiatry and the behavioral sciences at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. “But we can’t lose sight of the real major advances we’ve already made in treating dementia, including preventive approaches.”

The commission brought together 24 international experts to systematically review existing research and provide evidence-based recommendations for treating and preventing dementia. About 47 million people have dementia worldwide and that number is expected to climb as high as 66 million by 2030 and 115 million by 2050.

► Learn more>>

► Read the report: "Dementia prevention, intervention, and care">>

#Neuroscience, #DementiaPrevention, #Brain, #Research

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Vesuvius on Fire

No eruption but wildfires, caused by arson (likely).

I share this animation released by ESA 13/07/2017, and based on Copernicus Sentinel data (2017).

With Italy suffering high temperatures and drought, wildfires have broken out including blazes that are ravaging the slopes of Mount Vesuvius near Naples. Using images taken by the Copernicus Sentinel-2B satellite on 12 July 2017, the animation combines different sensor bands to highlight the numerous separate fires around this iconic volcano and the smoke billowing over the surrounding area.

This huge plume of smoke led some to believe that Vesuvius was erupting again. The last time it erupted was back in 1944, but is most famous for the 79 AD eruption that destroyed Pompeii.

The smoke from these fires poses the biggest threat and has forced several evacuations this week. The wooded slopes of Vesuvius form part of the Vesuvio National Park, which was set up in 1995 to protect the volcano and surroundings. Much of the woodland is now destroyed.

Vesuvius is the only active volcano on mainland Europe. The animation also shows another fire and smoke near Positano on the Amalfi coast.

The Sentinel-2 mission is based on a constellation of two identical satellites: Sentinel-2A and Sentinel-2B. Each carries a high-resolution multispectral camera working in 13 wavelength bands for a new perspective on land and vegetation. The combination of high-resolution, novel spectral capabilities, a field of vision covering 290 km and frequent revisit times is providing unprecedented views of Earth. Information from this mission is helping to improve agricultural practices, monitor the world’s forests, detect pollution in lakes and coastal waters, and contribute to disaster mapping.

► Source>>

Further reading

► Fires on Vesuvius "all caused by arson">>

#Sentinel2Mission, #PlanetEarth, #Vesuvius
Animated Photo

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What is S5 0014+81?

According to Wikipedia, S5 0014+81 is a blazar, in fact an OVV (optically violent variable) quasar, the most energetic subclass of objects known as active galactic nuclei, produced by the rapid accretion of matter by a central supermassive black hole, changing the gravitational energy to light energy that can be visible at cosmic distances.

Blazars are surely among the most energetic objects in the universe, and it seems they are fueled by supermassive black holes at the core of certain giant elliptical galaxies. Periodically, they emit jets of high-energy plasma at almost the speed of light. Competing theoretical models sought to explain how this phenomenon occurs.

S5 0014+81 is also called "TeV Blazar" for its high energy (teraelectron-volt range) gamma-ray emission.
According to a research, dating back to 2009 and conducted by an international team of researchers (from Italy, USA, Germany), it's notable for its huge black hole, one of the most massive ever discovered, at 40 billion solar masses.
The research "The blazar S5 0014+813: a real or apparent monster?" was published in the MNRAS ( Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society)>>

However, there are some cautions about this study, due to some technical reasons you can learn here>>
This extraordinary measurement (the calculated mass of 40 billion times that of the Sun) still awaits confirmation and refinement: as the team leader Gabriele Ghisellini has acknowledged, S5 0014+81 is a complicated object and his calculation is far from definitive.

A (free) 2010 paper "Chasing the heaviest black holes of jetted active galactic nuclei" suggested that a funnel collimates the radiation around the jet axis, creating an optical illusion of very high brightness, and thus a possible overestimation of the black hole mass. >>

S5 0014+81 is also a very strong source of gamma-rays, X-rays, down to radio waves. It is located near the high declination region of the constellation Cepheus, at a distance of 12.1 billion light-years. At such a distance, the observed redshift of quasars and stars are extremely identical, making the two objects difficult to distinguish using the standard spectroscopic redshift and the photometric redshift determination, and hence must be treated by other special techniques to successfully determine the nature of the object.

It seems the central black hole of this quasar devours an extremely huge amount of matter, equivalent to 4000 solar masses of material every year.

► Image explanation: Artist's impression of a hyperluminous quasar similar to S5 0014+81 surrounded by a thick accretion disk with two powerful jets.
Image source>>

Further reading and references

► S5 0014+81>>

► Blazar>>

► Michigan telescope helps give astronomers insights into blazars>>

► Meet One of the Most Powerful Quasars in the Known Universe>>

► Extremes of the jet–accretion power relation of blazars, as explored
by NuSTAR>>

#Astrophysics, #ExtragalacticRadioSources, #Quasars, #RedShift, #StellarLuminosity, #Cosmology, #InfraredSpectra, #Research, #Blazars, #Quasars


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Celestial Fireworks: Into Star Cluster Westerlund 2

On July 4, 2017, APoD shared a nice video (► Take a look at>>, from which I excerpted the clip below.
Some information about this video named "Celestial Fireworks: Into Star Cluster Westerlund 2".

The nebula Gum 29 (or RCW 49) is a star-forming region at least 13,700 light years away (or more, based on some estimates) in the constellation of Carina, in the southern Galactic plane of our Milky Way galaxy. One of the most prolific birthing grounds, RCW 49 is a dark and dusty stellar nursery that houses more than 2,200 stars. Because many of the stars in RCW 49 are deeply embedded in plumes of dust, they cannot be seen at visible wavelengths. When viewed with Spitzer's infrared eyes, however, RCW 49 becomes transparent.
At the core of this nebula is Westerlund 2, an obscured compact young star cluster (perhaps even a super star cluster) in the Milky Way, containing several thousand stars.
These newborn stars are approximately 2 million years old, and their light illuminates, heats, and erodes the surrounding gas.

As its name indicates, the Westerlund 2 cluster was discovered by Bengt Westerlund in the 1960s but its stellar content was assessed only in later years.
On 23 April 2015 an image of the Westerlund 2 cluster was chosen to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Hubble Space Telescope.

The visualization, previously mentioned, provides a three-dimensional perspective on the nebula and star cluster. The flight traverses the foreground stars and approaches the lower left rim of the nebula. Passing through the wispy darker clouds on the near side, the journey reveals bright gas illuminated by the intense radiation of the newly formed star cluster.

Within the nebula, several pillars of dark, dense gas are being shaped by the energetic light and strong stellar winds from the brilliant cluster of thousands of stars.
Note that the visualization is intended only as a scientifically reasonable interpretation and that distances within the model are significantly compressed.

Visualization Credit: NASA, ESA, Hubble, J. Anderson, G. Bacon, L. Frattare, Z. Levay, and F. Summers (STScI)
Acknowledgment: The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA), A. Nota (ESA/STScI), the Westerlund 2 Science Team, and ESO

Further reading and references

► Celestial Fireworks: Into Star Cluster Westerlund 2 >>

► Westerlund 2>>

► Early-type stars in the core of the young open cluster Westerlund2>>

►Hubble Space Telescope Celebrates 25 Years of Unveiling the Universe>>

► RCW 49 picture and information>>

#DarkNebulae, #EmissionNebulae, #Nebulae, #StarClusters, #StarFormingRegions, #Stars,#Universe, #Space, #Westerlund2
Animated Photo

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Gorgeous Filament Eruption

On September 29, 2013, a large magnetic filament erupted on the Sun’s northern hemisphere and produced a C1.2 solar flare.

Observation in the EUV (Extreme ultraviolet radiation) showed two elongated ribbon-like structures, symmetrically developing on either side of the active region, along the polarity inversion line (neutral line).

Two-ribbon flares are extremely powerful eruptions; during magnetic reconnection the magnetic energy is converted into radiation across the electromagnetic spectrum – energetic particles are accelerated up to several hundred MeV (1 MeV = 10^6 eV)) or even to GeV (1 GeV = 10^9 eV) range. These high-energy particles (Solar energetic particles or SEPs)- atoms associated with solar flares- are a type of cosmic rays.

In summary, the large flare often shows two bright bands of emission in H alpha. These ribbons appear to move slowly apart as the flare develops. Before the flare a prominence is often observed and this disappears at the onset of the flare. The two ribbons form on either side of the prominence.
As the ribbons move apart loop-like structures are seen connecting one ribbon to the other one. These are post flare loops and are an indication that magnetic reconnection has allowed the coronal magnetic field to relax into a lower energy state (i.e. a simpler configuration).

Credit & source: LMSAL/Scott Green>>

► I got this animation from>>

Further reading and references

► Solar flares classification>>

► EUV (Extreme ultraviolet radiation)>>

► Magnetic reconnection>>

► Electromagnetic spectrum>>

► Solar energetic particles>>

► Cosmic Rays>>

► H-alpha>>

► The standard model of the solar flares>>

Related posts

► Metaevent: Nice Filament Eruption, 2016-01-26>>

► AR9077: Solar Magnetic Arcade>>

► GOES C5.4 Flare Followed by Coronal Rain>>

#SolarSystem, #Sun, #RibbonFlare #SolarCosmicRays, #
Animated Photo

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Another astonishing creation from Bees & Bombs>>

#Gif, #Processing, #Design, #Creatiivity
Animated Photo

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The Mission's Grand Finale: Saturn Global (Cropped) Mosaic

This is one of the last spectacular "postcards" from Saturn system, sent to Earth by the NASA's Cassini spacecraft.

The stunning image below consists of over 77 tiles- 49 of which are obtained by combining red, green and blue filters- taken by the Wide Angle Camera (ISS-WAC) on April 13, 2017 during a long sequence, started at 5:41 am and ended at 11:17.

In this composition, Saturn and the rings have the prominent role: the northern hemisphere of the planet- on Aprile, in high summer- assumes a golden color, illuminated by sunlight reflected by the rings; the entire, shaded area and the southern hemisphere have bluish nuances.

The authors affirm the mosaic has required a lot of processing and is definitely not perfect, but there are still many artifacts and reflections that could be eliminated.
Nevertheless, we think that their work is quite wonderful! Isn't it?

► Image source>>

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech - Processing: Elisabetta Bonora & Marco Faccin/

► A short story about this image (in Italian)>>

Further reading

► Animation Showing a Side View of Cassini's Final 22 Orbits of Saturn and its Rings - The Mission's Grand Finale>>

#SolarSystem, #CassiniMission, #TheGrandFinale, #Saturn, #SaturnGlobalMosaic
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