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'NOVA Universe Revealed' on PBS brings the cosmos down to Earth tonight – Space.com

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PBS’s newest science series, NOVA Universe Revealed, premieres tonight, Oct. 27, at 9 p.m. EDT (0100 GMT Oct. 28).

Space.com got a sneak peek at the five-episode series, which takes viewers on an epic journey through the cosmos. The first hour-long episode focuses on our sun and stars like it. Titled “Age of Stars,” it explores the life and death cycle of a star, including stunning archival footage from the ESA, Hubble Space Telescope and NASA, among other space organizations. Imagery from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory makes for a gorgeous look at our sun. Scientists interviewed in the episode explain how a star is born and how it explodes into a supernova, and speculate about an ultimate age of darkness. 

Future episodes will explore other parts of the universe, including our Milky Way galaxy, the search for extraterrestrial life on other planets, black holes and the Big Bang. All episodes feature photorealistic animations, stunning photos, archival footage from space missions, and commentary from a diverse set of scientists. 

Related: The Universe: From the Big Bang to now in 10 easy steps

When deciding on the five topics NOVA Universe Revealed would tackle, there was only one that NOVA executive producer Chris Schmidt worried about pulling off: the Big Bang. 

“Stars, black holes, alien worlds, and galaxies — those are all objects with edges,” he told Space.com. “How do you do the story of everything?”

In the end, the episode worked beautifully. It opens with images of many of the universe’s most spectacular sights, from pulsars to enormous black holes, and humanity’s mission to explore the universe’s biggest mysteries. From there, the episode looks at the universe in reverse from a human perspective: we backtrack from the beginning of human life on Earth to the beginning of our galaxy, all the way to the beginning of the universe and even speculate about the moments before the Big Bang. 

Related: The strangest black holes in the universe

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This episode, as well as the others, works so well because it tells the story of the universe in a way that NOVA’s viewers can connect to. 

“There’s a moment at the end [of the Big Bang episode] where Jim Gates acknowledges the idea that all of the stuff we’re made of is just the matter that was created with the Big Bang,” Schmidt said. “And to that extent, we’re part of the universe.”

Schmidt hopes this poetic idea, that all humans are inherently part of the universe, will enthrall viewers. “It’s a great opportunity to take a moment and look up from your feet,” he said. While we’re all preoccupied with our daily lives, it can be interesting and inspiring to consider the vast universe that exists beyond our sky. 

NOVA Universe Revealed was created in collaboration with BBC Studios Science Unit. New episodes will air every Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET/8CT, with the last episode airing November 24. All five episodes are currently available for free streaming on pbs.org/nova and on the PBS video app.

Follow Kasandra Brabaw on Twitter @KassieBrabaw. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook. 

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Scientists observe total solar eclipse in Antarctica – Global Times

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Scientists from the Chilean Union Glacier Station observe a total solar eclipse in Antarctica, Dec. 4, 2021.Photo:Xinhua

 
Scientists from the Chilean Union Glacier Station observe a total solar eclipse in Antarctica, Dec. 4, 2021.Photo:Xinhua

Scientists from the Chilean Union Glacier Station observe a total solar eclipse in Antarctica, Dec. 4, 2021.Photo:Xinhua

 

Scientists from the Chilean Union Glacier Station observe a total solar eclipse in Antarctica, Dec. 4, 2021.Photo:Xinhua

Scientists from the Chilean Union Glacier Station observe a total solar eclipse in Antarctica, Dec. 4, 2021.Photo:Xinhua

 

Photo taken from Chilean Union Glacier Station in Antarctica on Dec. 4, 2021 shows a total solar eclipse.Photo:Xinhua

Photo taken from Chilean Union Glacier Station in Antarctica on Dec. 4, 2021 shows a total solar eclipse.Photo:Xinhua

 

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Dinosaur Tail Found In Chile Could Point To Discovery Of New Species – NDTV

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Paleontologists have discovered 80 percent of the dinosaur’s skeleton.

Santiago:

Chilean paleontologists on Wednesday presented their findings on a dinosaur discovered three years ago in Patagonia which they said had a highly unusual tail that has stumped researchers.

The remains of the Stegouros elengassen were discovered during excavations in 2018 at Cerro Guido, a site known to harbor numerous fossils, by a team who believed they were dealing with an already known species of dinosaur until they examined its tail.

“That was the main surprise,” said Alexander Vargas, one of the paleontologists. “This structure is absolutely amazing.”

“The tail was covered with seven pairs of osteoderms … producing a weapon absolutely different from anything we know in any dinosaur,” added the researcher during a presentation of the discovery at the University of Chile.

The osteoderms — structures of bony plaques located in the dermal layers of the skin – were aligned on either side of the tail, making it resemble a large fern.

Paleontologists have discovered 80 percent of the dinosaur’s skeleton and estimate that the animal lived in the area 71 to 74.9 million years ago. It was about two meters (almost seven feet) long, weighed 150 kilograms (330 pounds) and was a herbivore.

According to the scientists, who published their research in the journal Nature, the animal could represent a hitherto unknown lineage of armored dinosaur never seen in the southern hemisphere but already identified in the northern part of the continent.

“We don’t know why (the tail) evolved. We do know that within armored dinosaur groups there seems to be a tendency to independently develop different osteoderm-based defense mechanisms,” said Sergio Soto, another member of the team.

The Cerro Guido area, in the Las Chinas valley 3,000 km (1,800 miles) south of Santiago, stretches for 15 kilometers. Various rock outcrops contain numerous fossils.

The finds there allowed the scientists to surmise that present-day America and Antarctica were close to each other millions of years ago.

“There is strong evidence that there is a biogeographic link with other parts of the planet, in this case Antarctica and Australia, because we have two armored dinosaurs there closely related” to the Stegouros, said Soto.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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Chinese Rover Exploring What Appears to Be Cube-Shaped Object on Moon – Futurism

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There’s a Moon cube now! At least, it looks that way based on some intriguing photos from the Chinese lunar rover Yutu-2, released by the country’s space agency this week.

The photos show a distant object that looks like a perfect cube, and China say the rover is headed to check it out.

It’s worth worth noting a few caveats about the photo, spotted yesterday by space journalist Andrew Jones, who described the formation as a “cubic shape.” For one thing, the object is just a few pixels in the photo, meaning it could easily be some sort of optical illusion that’ll be a disappointment up close.

And China has struggled with lunar science communication in the past. In 2019, Yutu-2 “discovered” a “gel-like substance” on the lunar surface, but upon closer inspection it turned out to be, well, rocks. It also trumpeted the discover of a “shard” on the Moon earlier this year, but that turned out to just be another interesting rock. Did we mention that there’s not a lot other than rocks on the Moon?

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Jones, for his part, is managing expectations.

“So yeah, it’s not an obelisk or aliens, but certainly something to check out,” Jones tweeted in followup.

The idea of alien artifacts on the Moon runs deep in popular culture — remember that one scene in “2001: A Space Odyssey”? — but, needless to say, none have been found in reality.

The apparent cube sits in the Von Kármán crater, and China’s space program has been dubbed it, evocatively, the “mystery house.”

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Yutu-2 will spend two or three lunar days traveling to investigate the cube; lunar days are about 50 minutes longer than solar days on Earth.

Jones speculated that the object could be a boulder carved out by an asteroid impact, and posted a photo of a similarly sharply defined boulder found previously on the Moon’s surface.

CNET’s coverage of the most recent discovery agrees with Jones’ analysis, saying the most likely explanation is that the Moon cube is a boulder.

That’s not to say Yutu-2 hasn’t ever found anything cool. In 2019, CNET reported the rover discovered that the Moon’s surface was made of different materials than we previously thought, a discovery that could better predict how Earth’s internal layers might change over time.

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We’re not saying there isn’t weird stuff on the Moon. After all, we just recently found enough buried oxygen under its surface to sustain billions of people. But suffice it to say we aren’t holding our breath over Moon cube, and if it turns out to be anything other than a rock we’ll be really impressed.

More on space: Scientists Discover Enormous Black Hole Right Near Our Galaxy

Care about supporting clean energy adoption? Find out how much money (and planet!) you could save by switching to solar power at UnderstandSolar.com. By signing up through this link, Futurism.com may receive a small commission.

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