Recently acquired images of Tethys, one of the ice moons of Saturn, have given scientists their best view yet of several “unusual, arc-shaped reddish streaks” that sweep across the satellite’s surface.
Images taken using clear, green, infrared and ultraviolet spectral filters were combined to create the enhanced-color views, which highlight subtle color differences across the icy moon’s surface at wavelengths not visible to human eyes.
A few of the red arcs can be seen faintly in observations made earlier in the Cassini mission, which has been in orbit at Saturn since 2004. But the color images for this observation, obtained in April 2015, are the first to show large northern areas of Tethys under the illumination and viewing conditions necessary to see the arcs clearly. As the Saturn system moved into its northern hemisphere summer over the past few years, northern latitudes have become increasingly well illuminated. As a result, the arcs have become clearly visible for the first time.
“The red arcs really popped out when we saw the new images,” said Cassini participating scientist Paul Schenk of the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston. “It’s surprising how extensive these features are.”
The origin of the features and their reddish color is a mystery to Cassini scientists. Possibilities being studied include ideas that the reddish material is exposed ice with chemical impurities, or the result of outgassing from inside Tethys. They could also be associated with features like fractures that are below the resolution of the available images.
Except for a few small craters on Saturn’s moon Dione, reddish-tinted features are rare on other moons of Saturn. Many reddish features do occur, however, on the geologically young surface of Jupiter’s moon Europa.
“The red arcs must be geologically young because they cut across older features like impact craters, but we don’t know their age in years.” said Paul Helfenstein, a Cassini imaging scientist at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, who helped plan the observations. “If the stain is only a thin, colored veneer on the icy soil, exposure to the space environment at Tethys’ surface might erase them on relatively short time scales.”
If you know anything about psychiatry - even if it's just exaggerated scare stories from the world of movies - you'll know that doctors have long been experimenting with the effects of electrical impulses on the brain.
A human skull found earlier this week in Kentucky is up to 3,000 years old. The remains are thought to belong to a person indigenous to the eastern United States, local ABC affiliate WKYT reported Friday.
A few years back, a pair of researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital made human cells glow by impregnating them with a molecule that's normally found in jellyfish called green fluorescent protein (GFP) and packing them into a resonant cavity that amplified the amount of light each cell produced. Now, according to a new study recently published in the journal Nano Letters, a team of scientists from the University of St Andrews have developed a means of making individual glowing cells also act as their own resonant cavities.
The St. Andrews team accomplished this by coaxing each cell to engulf a tiny plastic bubble (the green dot in the image above) that acts as a resonant cavity. Each bubble is precisely sized and imbued with fluorescent dye. When a laser hits the cell, it excites the dye which bounces around and amplifies inside the bubble, then fluoresces at a different wavelength. Interestingly, the color of the light that the cell emits depends on the size of the bubble. So far, the researchers have gotten cells to produce light at three different wavelengths. And while the team has only been able to get the method to work in petri dishes, they hope to further develop it into a means of tracking specific cells -- say, tumor cells -- for days, even weeks.
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