The smallest white dwarf star ever found is about the same size as Earth’s moon, but more massive than the sun. It appears to be shrinking, which could lead to a colossal explosion. Ilaria Caiazzo at the California Institute of Technology and her colleagues discovered this star, called ZTF J190132.9+145808.7, using the Zwicky Transient Facility in California. They then performed additional observations with other telescopes to confirm its properties. The researchers found that it rotates extraordinarily quickly, spinning once every 6.9 minutes. The magnetic field strength at its surface ranges between 600 and 900 megagauss – more than 1 billion…
There is a new way to learn about ancient insects with the discovery that we can find fossilised beetles inside prehistoric animal droppings. Martin Qvarnström at Uppsala University in Sweden and his colleagues made the discovery by scanning 230-million-year-old fossilised droppings – or coprolites – using a technique called synchrotron microtomography. “It works a bit like a CT scanner in the hospital, but with a much stronger energy, so we’re able to see small density contrasts within fossils,” says Qvarnström. “It’s like [the coprolites] are doing a part of the fieldwork for us by collecting the insects.” A large number…
Malaria sporozoites, the infectious form of the malaria parasite that is passed to people by mosquitoes
IT WAS inevitably dubbed “Black Wednesday”. But for anyone with an interest in a sustainable future for humanity on the planet — that is, all of us — 26 May was a red-letter day.
CORONAVIRUS cases in India are now falling fast, but around the world several other countries are struggling to contain rising numbers of infections due to the variant first detected in India. In the UK, case numbers due to this variant – previously called B.1.617.2 but now named “delta” – are rising exponentially, sparking fears of a third wave and threatening plans to end lockdown restrictions in England later this month. In China, parts of the city of Guangzhou, which has a population of 15 million, have been locked down and people banned from leaving without a negative covid-19 test. Meanwhile,…