Chances of finding extraterrestrial life just increased 1,000-fold ● Britain’s historic decision to return Parthenon bas-reliefs? ● The Yellowstone supervolcano is not an imminent danger
radiotelescopPhoto: BABAK TAFRESHI / Sciencephoto / Profimedia
The odds of finding alien life just increased 1,000 times
MeerKAT, the largest radio telescope in the Southern Hemisphere, has just joined the Breakthrough Listen project, a project that checks all information from radio telescopes around the world to identify radio signals from possible extraterrestrial life. And this means that the factor for multiplying the chances of success has increased a thousand times, according to the experts.
MeerKAT consists of 64 individual antennas, which means it can scan 64 targets at the same time. At the same time, MeerKAT can “see” an area 50 times larger than any other radio telescope, with a huge number of exoplanets that it can keep under observation. In fact, it is estimated that more than 1 million stars, as well as the planets orbiting them, will be studied in the next two years.
The first target of the MeerKat radio telescope will be the star Proxima Centauri, the closest star to our solar system, in whose habitable zone two solid planets orbit. Only the aliens emit radio signals, that we are ready to detect them.
Britain’s historic decision to return Parthenon bas-reliefs?
Britain is close to a deal with Greece to return dozens of bas-reliefs and statues that once adorned the Parthenon. The decision would be a historic one, considering that all of Greece’s efforts in the last almost 50 years have come to nothing.
The 2,500-year-old bas-reliefs and statues were stolen in the early 19th century by Thomas Bruce, Duke of Elgin, and later sold to the British Museum. The British had received permission from the Sultan to investigate the Parthenon, but there is no evidence that he had permission to remove all those works of art. They arrived in London in 1807, and the transaction with the British Museum was completed in 1816.
The Greek publication Ta Nea, quoted by the BBC, claims that the talks are at an advanced stage. According to the same publication, the objects that will be returned to Greece will be replaced by other Greek works of art that the authorities in Athens will offer in exchange to the British side. Another option under discussion would be that of dual custody, which would allow the two countries to share and display the exhibits in turn.
The Yellowstone supervolcano is not an imminent danger
In recent years there has been talk of the possibility that the Yellowstone supervolcano in the National Park of the same name could erupt, which would lead to a catastrophe with global effects. A recent study published in the journal Science by volcanologists from the University of California, however, does not bring good news and bad news.
The bad news is that studies so far have been wrong, and the amount of magma beneath the Yellowstone caldera is actually double what was thought. This result came after the realization of high-performance programs in which all seismic data from recent years were entered. From that data it was estimated that there are not one, but two magma reservoirs, one above the other, and the amount of magma is about 1,600 cubic kilometers, double what the old reports showed.
Also, the ratio of crystals to molten magma in the upper reservoir, which shows whether eruption is imminent, is 16-20%, and not 9% as thought.
The good news, experts say, is that the risk of a super volcanic eruption, despite the doubling of significant values, remains extremely low. Specifically, if it is to be, it will happen somewhere over 5,000 years, at least.
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