Gravitational waves from the collision between two neutron stars have been intercepted

The LIGO observatory in collaboration with the Virgo observatory has captured the gravitational waves of another collision event that most likely is the fusion clash between two neutron stars.
The first data was collected on April 25, 2019 and the related study was then published in Astrophysical Journal Letters.

This is a “very interesting” binary system, as reported by Alberto Vecchio, director of the Institute of Gravitational Wave Astronomy at the University of Birmingham, because the sum of the masses of the two neutron stars is the highest ever observed in a binary system. So high that perhaps we could talk about a new class of binary systems of neutron stars, a class that is substantially different from the similar binary systems we have identified so far.

At the moment, however, it cannot yet be ruled out that one of the members of the system is in fact a black hole. This is the second time that two neutron stars orbiting each other during fusion are detected through the reception of gravitational waves. The first such detection took place in August 2017.

Unlike the first time, this time no light was detected but only the gravitational wave data that suggested that fusion led to the creation of a new object with “an unusually high mass,” as reported in the press release that appeared on the website of the English University.

The study was carried out in collaboration with researchers from the Virgo Observatory in Italy and the results were presented during the meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Honolulu.

Scientists study testicles of gnats to understand production of particular genes

Analyzing the testicles of fruit flies, a group of researchers at Rockefeller University confirmed that the testicles themselves are not only “sperm factories” but can also be used to create new genes.

In their research, published in eLife, the researchers studied a number of genes originated in the testicles discovered by other research in recent years. They identified and decoded the RNA sequences contained in individual cells within the testicles and eventually marked them to follow their development.

They analyzed particular types of young genes that are born from scratch rather than duplicating existing genes. About 15% of these new genes appeared at the beginning of cell development, even in stem cells, which surprised the researchers themselves. The most active period for genes born from scratch occurred at mid-flow, in the so-called spermatocyte phase, i.e. the development of sperm.

Gold scientists also want to understand what these new genes are for because some of them seem to appear by chance and make no contribution to development even though Li Zhao, the scientist who led the research, thinks that they play a role in the maturation of sperm cells.

New research will be needed to understand what these genes are used for and what precisely their role is.

Dinosaurs proliferated thanks to a sudden increase in oxygen 215 million years ago

According to a study presented at the Goldschmidt conference in Barcelona, the increase in oxygen levels that occurred 215 million years ago would be linked to the rise of dinosaurs in the area of present-day North America.

Researchers measured oxygen levels in some ancient rocks in North America and saw a peak in oxygen levels with the latter increasing by almost a third in just three million years. This increased availability of oxygen, according to the researchers, would be linked to an expansion of dinosaurs, and not only in North America.

The researchers used a new technique to measure the gases trapped inside the rocks. The method involves the use of a mass spectrometer that measures the composition of the gases. The researchers analyzed the rocks of the Colorado plateau and the Newark basin, two conglomerates that formed more or less at the same time and were separated by about 600 miles away in the supercontinent of Pangea.

Analysis has shown that in about 3 million years, just over the blink of an eye in geological terms, oxygen levels have increased from about 15% to about 19% (today we are at 21%). Schaller still does not know what may have caused this “sudden” increase, probably there is a global climate change that has also seen a drop in carbon dioxide levels.

However, he has discovered that it was dinosaurs in particular that took advantage of it: during the oxygen peak, the first dinosaurs appeared in the North American tropics, areas that at the time of the supercontinent Pangaea were located near the equator, particularly those of the genus Chindesaurus.

These last ones were then followed by the sauropods and by a wide evolutionary diversification. Oxygen levels may not have been the only determining factor, according to Schaller himself.