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Listen to honey bees shriek a warning to their hive when murder hornets approach – National Post

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Scientists have compared the calls, named ‘antipredator pipes’, to fear screams and panic calls

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Bees have developed their own version of a fire alarm to warn their hive of predatory murder hornets, a new study has found.

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Once they’ve spotted a lurking giant or murder hornet, Asian honey worker bees will immediately string along series of panic calls — termed as “antipredator pipes” — which harsher and more irregular in their frequency.

Giant hornets or even Asian hornets which are closely related to the murder hornets recently discovered in North America are known to prey on bees and often send out scouting insects to search for hives to prey on. On finding one, the scout then returns to inform its nest, which then track the hive and often slaughter the entire colony.

“Antipredator pipes share acoustic traits with alarm shrieks, fear screams and panic calls of primates, birds and meerkats”, the study explains.

These pipes, scientists explain in their study published on Wednesday in the Royal Society Open Science journal, are actually vibroacoustic signals made by raising their abdomens, buzzing their wings and flying about “frantically.”

“These sophisticated defences require timely predator detection and swift activation of a defending workforce,”  the authors wrote in the study

“Vibroacoustic signals likely play an important role in organizing these responses because they are transmitted quickly between senders and receivers within nests.”

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Lead researcher Heather Mattila, professor of biological sciences at Wellesley College, Massachusetts and her team studied interactions between giant hornets and Asian honey bees in Vietnam for over seven years, by placing microphones in hives belonging to local beekeepers. The study collected almost 30,000 signals made by the bees over 1,300 minutes of monitoring.

“[Bees] are constantly communicating with each other, in both good times and in bad, but antipredator signal exchange is particularly important during dire moments when rallying workers for colony defense is imperative,” researchers wrote in their study.

In some cases, scientists observed that the signals prompted the worker bees at the hive’s entrance to go into defence mode, either attacking the scouting hornet by forming a ball around it to heat it to death or spreading animal dung on the hive to repel predators — the first document use of a tool by bees.

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It’s unclear the signals do in fact indicate preparation for a specific type of defence, but as a whole, scientists suggest the the bee pipes are a “rallying call for collective defense.”

Scientists also found ‘striking differences’ in the way the bees responded to two types of predators – the giant hornet which attack in numbers and a smaller hornet species which hunts solitarily. The anti-predator pipes didn’t sound as much as for the latter, suggesting that the response may have been specifically developed for the larger, more dangerous predator.

Colony soundscapes showcase the diversity of (the bees’) alarm signalling repertoire, including a novel antipredator pipe made by workers when (giant hornet) workers were present at nest entrances,” the study states.

“This research shows how amazingly complex signals produced by Asian hive bees can be,” behavioural ecologist Gard Otis was quoted by science website EurekaAlert! .

“We feel like we have only grazed the surface of understanding their communication. There’s a lot more to be learned.”

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Chinese rover investigates 'cube' on far side of the moon – CBC News

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A photograph of a cube-like object captured by a Chinese rover on the far side of the moon has fanned speculation over what it could be.

The Yutu-2 caught an image of what seems like a large cubic object on the horizon about 80 metres from its location, said Our Space, a Chinese government science website, citing the rover’s last log on Dec. 3.

The solar-powered Yutu, or “Jade Rabbit” in Chinese, will cover the distance of 80 metres in two to three lunar days, according to Our Space, or two to three Earth months. The robotic rover has been operating in the Von Karman Crater in the South Pole-Aitken Basin since its deployment in January 2019.

The mission was a historic first, with no other nation having landed on the far side of the moon until then. With the moon tidally locked to Earth — rotating at the same speed as it orbits our planet — most of its “dark side” is never visible to those on Earth.

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Comet Leonard will be visible this December before vanishing forever – CTV News

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There is a new comet in town, and December is your only chance to see it before disappears forever. Astronomers say that Comet Leonard is our best and brightest comet to see in 2021.

The comet was first discovered in January by astronomer Greg Leonard. The celestial object has likely spent the last 35,000 years traveling toward the sun, according to Sky & Telescope, and once it makes a close pass of our star on January 3, we won’t be seeing the comet again.

As the comet nears the sun, it brightens, which is why the weeks leading up to this event make the comet easier to see.

It’s also an ultrafast comet, blazing through the inner solar system at 158,084 miles per hour (71 kilometres per second), but it will still appear like a slow-moving object due to its distance from Earth, according to EarthSky.

Comet Leonard will make it closest approach to Earth on December 12, coming within 21 million miles (34 million kilometres) of our planet. Then, it will sweep by Venus on December 18.

The comet will be visible in the skies of both the Northern and Southern hemispheres this month.

It’s difficult to predict how well we may be able to see a comet, but you”ll probably need binoculars to spot this one, according to NASA. Keep an eye out for an object that looks like a fuzzy star.

“In the first couple of weeks of December, Comet Leonard can be found in the east before sunrise, passing between Arcturus and the handle of the Big Dipper,” the agency shared in a post.

“It approaches the horizon right around the time of its closest approach to Earth, meaning it’ll likely be brighter but more challenging to observe. It then switches over to being an evening object after around Dec. 14th, for just a little while after the Sun sets — as it begins its long haul outward from the Sun again, progressively fading in brightness.”

As comets near the sun, these giant iceballs begin to shed some of their material, which forms a halo, or coma, around the object.

Dust and gas stream behind comets to form their extremely long tails. Most comets originate from the icy edge of our solar system and only become visible to us as they travel through the inner solar system, where Earth is located, during their long orbits of the sun.

It’s possible that Comet Leonard will be visible to skywatchers looking with the naked eye, but if you’re worried about missing this once-in-a-lifetime viewing experience, The Virtual Telescope Project will be sharing a livestream from its observatory in Rome.

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Hubble Captures Stunning Image of Colliding Gases in 'Running Man' Nebula – Gadgets 360

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Hubble Space Telescope has often captured stunning images of mysterious events in space. It has allowed astronomers to widen their research and uncover new details. Recently, the telescope was trying to understand how young stars influenced their environment and it witnessed a shock wave of colliding luminous gases in the ‘Running Man’ Nebula. The image of the Herbig-Haro object, known as HH 45, showed clouds of gas and dust glow. Herbig-Haro is a type of nebula that forms when gas from a newborn star collides with dust around it at huge speeds and produces shock waves.

Herbig-Haro objects are rarely seen. This object is located in the nebula NGC 1977, also called the Running Man Nebula, which is a complex structure of three nebulae in the Great Orion Nebula, about  5,000 light-years from the Earth.

The Running Man Nebula is a reflection nebula, meaning it does not emit light on its own but reflects light from nearby stars “like a streetlight illuminating fog,” according to NASA. Hubble was looking at this region for “stellar jets and planet-forming disks around young stars.” It was trying to examine how their environment affects the evolution of such disks.

The Hubble image showed two sets of ionised gases glowing in blue and purple colours. While blue indicated ionised oxygen, purple represented ionised magnesium. “Researchers were particularly interested in these elements because they could be used to identify shocks and ionisation fronts,” the NASA statement read.

This image was not a bad capture for an observatory that was waking up after a technical problem and went into “safe mode” in October. Hubble, a joint project by NASA and ESA, was last serviced in person in 2009 and has not been visited by astronauts since 2011.

NASA is set to launch the more powerful James Webb telescope in December as a “successor” to the Hubble Space Telescope. Citing the differences between the both, NASA has stated that their capabilities weren’t identical. One of the differences NASA pointed out was that while James Webb telescope will study the universe largely in infrared, Hubble had been focusing on optical and ultraviolet wavelengths.


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