The central parts of Milky Way through Very Large Telescope | ESO/S. Gillessen et al.
The central parts of Milky Way through Very Large Telescope | ESO/S. Gillessen et al.
Text Size:

ScientiFix, our weekly feature, will offer you a summary of the top global science stories of the week, with links to the best sources to read them. It’s your fix to stay on top of the latest in science.

A step closer to monster Milky Way black hole

Peering through the eyes of four giant telescopes, astronomers have managed to spot three “hot spots” that orbit the supermassive black hole at the centre of our galaxy. These flares travelled at 30 per cent the speed of light and went around the monstrous dark mass in 45 minutes. They also occupied the closest safest orbit anything can around a black hole; just a little bit closer, and they fall right into the singularity from which even light can’t escape. Read the story here.

Two NASA spacecraft die the same week

NASA’s Kepler space telescope, which orbits the earth and has helped discover more than 2,600 exoplanets and spotted an exomoon, has finally reached the end of its nine-year mission. The spacecraft ran out of fuel. More on Vox.

The Dawn spacecraft that is currently orbiting the largest asteroid Ceres also ran out of fuel the same day the end of Kepler mission was announced. It was launched in 2007 and orbited the asteroid Vesta first before hopping on to Ceres, which is also a dwarf planet. It will continue to orbit Ceres for a minimum of 20 more years, but perhaps forever. The Verge has more details.

Octopuses take a beach vacation in the beach

In a mysterious unusual ritual, researchers aboard a vessel studying coral have found the world’s largest gathering of octopuses off the coast of California. Over 1,000 of them gathered on rocks 3 km below the surface, and nearly all of them were females. The researchers haven’t been able to figure out why so many octopuses would crowd in the area, but a video their vessel captured shows some glimmering which could mean that the rocks are a vent for something from deep underground. Atlas Obscura has more on this.

Flying dandelion seeds create powerful vortex

We’ve always thought that the only thing holding up the pretty tufts of flowers floating about in the air were the filaments which acted like a parachute. But more detailed observations and study has shown that the very filaments, due to the way air moves around them, causes tiny vortices in the atmosphere. These were theorised earlier but were thought to be too unstable to exist in real life. The same mechanisms are what power hurricanes around the world. New York Times Science has the lowdown.

Subscribe to our channels on YouTube & Telegram

News media is in a crisis & only you can fix it

You are reading this because you value good, intelligent and objective journalism. We thank you for your time and your trust.

You also know that the news media is facing an unprecedented crisis. It is likely that you are also hearing of the brutal layoffs and pay-cuts hitting the industry. There are many reasons why the media’s economics is broken. But a big one is that good people are not yet paying enough for good journalism.

We have a newsroom filled with talented young reporters. We also have the country’s most robust editing and fact-checking team, finest news photographers and video professionals. We are building India’s most ambitious and energetic news platform. And we aren’t even three yet.

At ThePrint, we invest in quality journalists. We pay them fairly and on time even in this difficult period. As you may have noticed, we do not flinch from spending whatever it takes to make sure our reporters reach where the story is. Our stellar coronavirus coverage is a good example. You can check some of it here.

This comes with a sizable cost. For us to continue bringing quality journalism, we need readers like you to pay for it. Because the advertising market is broken too.

If you think we deserve your support, do join us in this endeavour to strengthen fair, free, courageous, and questioning journalism, please click on the link below. Your support will define our journalism, and ThePrint’s future. It will take just a few seconds of your time.

Support Our Journalism

Share Your Views

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here