Best of Last Week–A new type of cosmic explosion, creating plasma in a defined shape and dogs helping people live longer

November 20, 2017 by Bob Yirka recap
Engineers create stable plasma ring in open air
A torus of plasma, viewed from above. The ring is created by a jet of water striking a crystal plate. Credit: Mory Gharib/Caltech

(ScienceX)—It was a big week for astronomy and astrophysics as an international of researchers working in Mexico used a high-altitude observatory to shed light on the origin of excess anti-matter—they captured the first wide-angle view of gamma rays from two stars that were rapidly spinning. Also, a team with members from Germany, the U.K. and the U.S. announced that they believe gravitational waves from merging supermassive black holes will be spotted within 10 years.

An international team of astronomers discovered a new type of cosmic explosion. Called PS1-10adi—it was 10 times bigger than normal cosmic explosions. Also, a team with members from several institutions in the U.S. announced that experiments with heavy nitrogen molecules revealed a planetary-scale tug-of-war between the Earth, life and the upper atmosphere.

In technology news, a team of engineers created a stable plasma ring in open air showing that it was possible to create plasma with a clearly defined shape. And a team at Texas A&M University took the next step toward fusion energy by developing a material that may be suitable for use in fusion reactors. Also, a team of researchers with several members from the University of Oslo in Norway and one with Monash University in Australia found that it may be fructan, not gluten, that upsets people's stomachs. And a combined team from the University of Michigan and Jiangnan University announced that they had created a Kevlar-based artificial cartilage that mimics the magic of the real thing—possibly paving the way for its use in human joint injuries. And a team with members from several institutions in the U.S. described a new mirror that reflects light differently than conventional mirrors, which might prove useful for information processing and other light-based applications.

And finally, if you are like most people and are interested in finding ways to live longer, you might consider adopting a dog if you do not already have one. A team of researchers in Sweden recently found that dog ownership can be linked to lower mortality. Having a dog, they found, lowers the risk of death due to cardiovascular disease.

Explore further: Astronomers discover new type of cosmic explosion