Mystery

Unknown “Structures” Not Tugging on the Universe After All?

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: January 20, 2012   View Article

Mysterious, unseen structures on the outskirts of creation most likely aren’t tugging on our universe, according to a new study. The paper reexamines “dark flow”— an unusual, one-way motion of matter —using measurements of supernovae and the existing laws of physics.

In 2008, a team of scientists took measurements of hundreds of galaxy clusters and calculated that everything in the visible universe—and likely beyond—is flowing at 2 million miles (3.2 million kilometers) an hour in the same direction.

The data couldn’t be explained by the distribution of matter in the known universe, so the scientists suggested that chunks of matter had been pushed out shortly after the big bang, and their gravity is now pulling on everything around us.

Mysterious Mass Sacrifice Found Near Ancient Peru Pyramid

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: December 28, 2011   View Article

An apparent ritual mass sacrifice—including decapitations and a royal beer bash—is coming to light near a pre-Inca pyramid in northern Peru, archaeologists say.

Excavations next to the ancient Huaca Las Ventanas pyramid first uncovered bodies in August, and more have been emerging since then from a 50-by-50-foot (15-by-15-meter) pit.

The pyramid is part of the Sicán site, the capital of the Lambayeque people—also known as the Sicán—who ruled Peru’s northern coast from about A.D. 900 to 1100.

Moon Not So Watery After All, Lunar-Rock Study Says

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: August 5, 2010   View Article

The inside of the moon isn’t as watery as previously reported, according to a new study that found a high variety of chlorine atoms in Apollo moon rocks.

For decades scientists had thought the moon is bone dry inside and out. But recent moon-impact missions found water ice on the lunar surface, and reanalysis of rocks brought back by Apollo astronauts found evidence for significant amounts of water inside the moon in the form of hydroxyl (-OH), a hydrogen compound formed by the breakdown of water (H2O).

In a new study of Apollo moon rocks, geochemist Zachary Sharp of the University of New Mexico and colleagues measured the moon rocks’ chlorine isotopes, or different forms of the chlorine atom.

Mystery Space Object May Be Ejected Black Hole

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: May 7, 2010   View Article

A mystery object in a galaxy far, far away could be a supermassive black hole that got booted from its home galaxy’s center, according to a new study.

Then again, the strange body could be a rare type of supernova or an oddball “midsize” black hole—more massive than black holes born when single stars explode but “lighter” than the supermassive ones at the centers of galaxies.

“All three of those [options] are exotic and have something peculiar to them,” said study co-author Peter Jonker, an astronomer with the Netherlands Institute for Space Research in Utrecht.

7 tales of cities lost or found

Publication: MSNBC.com   Date: July 30, 2009   View Article

The Lost City of Z, a fabled metropolis of unimagined riches deep in the Amazon rain forest, has eluded explorers for centuries. But recently documented traces of a well-planned constellation of walled settlements arranged around central plazas and linked together with arrow-straight roads in the Upper Xingu region of the Brazilian Amazon may be the civilization that gave birth to the legend, scientists say. Check out this and six more tales from cities lost and found.

Mystery Glaciers Growing as Most Others Retreat

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: June 22, 2009   View Article

Two South American glaciers are displaying strange behavior for the times: They’re growing.

Most of the 50 massive glaciers draped over the spine of the Patagonian Andes are shrinking in response to a global warming, said Andrés Rivera, a glaciologist at the Center for Scientific Studies in Valdivia, Chile.

New Dinosaur: Fossil Fingers Solve Bird Wing Mystery?

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: June 17, 2009   View Article

The fossil hand of a long-necked, ostrich-like dinosaur recently found in China may help solve the mystery of how bird wings evolved from dinosaur limbs, according to a new study.

The ancient digits belonged to a 159-million-year-old theropod dinosaur dubbed Limusaurus inextricabilis. Theropods are two-legged dinos thought to have given rise to modern birds.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach