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A new instrument will allow mass measurement of exoplanets with extreme precision

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A new instrument just mounted on the 3.5-meter WIYN telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory in southern Arizona promises to detect mass and other characteristics of exoplanets with unprecedented accuracy. In fact, the new instrument, called NEID, will allow an accuracy three times higher than the previous generation of similar instruments.

A high-precision radial velocity spectrometer will collect light from the stars and measure the sometimes minimal gravitational effect that the planets themselves have on the stars around which they orbit. It is a small “wobble” caused by a periodic shift in the speed of the star. This also happens in our solar system. For example, Jupiter, the largest planet, causes an oscillatory movement of the Sun that can be measured in about 30 miles per hour. The Earth, on the other hand, causes a movement of only 0.2 miles per hour.

Of course, the size of the oscillation is proportional to the mass of the planet and this is why it is possible not only to discover the planets themselves but also to measure their mass with extreme precision. The similar instruments used until now can in fact measure this type of oscillation only up to 2 miles per hour but now the NEID will be able to measure oscillations at even shorter speeds, up to one mile per hour, as explained by Jason Wright, a researcher at the State University of Pennsylvania involved in the project. This means that even exoplanets with a land mass can be more easily discovered.

Such an instrument, in collaboration with others such as the TESS space telescope, will therefore allow a greater number of discoveries of exoplanets so that “things will become really interesting and we will be able to learn what planets are made of,” as the scientist himself explains.

The instrument has already been tested with observations of the brightness of the star 51 Pegasi. The instrument can also be updated and can be used by practically all astronomers, as explained by Sarah Logsdon, another researcher involved in the project.

Johnathan Flint

Johnathan is a recent graduate of the Missouri University of Science and Technology with a Bachelor of Medicine, and is an avid reader of numerous medical journals. He recently joined Health Shiner as an editor, researcher and content contributor, and brings a great deal of knowledge and wisdom to our reporting.

2462 White Oak Drive, Weston Missouri, 64098
Ph: 816-640-5682
Email: [email protected]
Johnathan Flint
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Medical Research

Tobacco also linked to worse mental health according to a new study

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Often, when reference is made to the damage of cigarette smoking, mental health is hardly ever thought about, and yet cigarettes are also bad for you. This is suggested by a study by Professor Hagai Levine of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem published in PLOS ONE.

Levine and colleagues carried out a survey of 2000 Serbian university students from different social and economic backgrounds. The researchers found that students who smoked showed higher rates of clinical depression than their non-smoking peers, two to three times.

Taking into consideration only the students of the University of Pristina, the researchers found that 14% of the smoking students suffered from depression compared to 4% of the non-smoking peers, while for the University of Belgrade the percentages were 19% compared to 11% respectively.

The same students who smoked also showed lower mental health scores than non-smokers. According to Levine, this study adds further evidence that smoking and depression may be linked; although there is no direct evidence yet that smoking causes depression, it can be said that tobacco seems to have a non-positive effect on mental health.

Johnathan Flint

Johnathan is a recent graduate of the Missouri University of Science and Technology with a Bachelor of Medicine, and is an avid reader of numerous medical journals. He recently joined Health Shiner as an editor, researcher and content contributor, and brings a great deal of knowledge and wisdom to our reporting.

2462 White Oak Drive, Weston Missouri, 64098
Ph: 816-640-5682
Email: [email protected]
Johnathan Flint
Continue Reading

Medical Research

One can evaluate hearing quality by analyzing pupil dilation according to researchers

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It may prove to be a new and effective hearing test developed by a team of neuroscientists at the University of Oregon. According to a statement on the university’s website, it is possible to assess a person’s hearing level by measuring pupil dilation.

According to the same statement, this approach could be useful to understand the quality of hearing in infants, young adults with disabilities and adults with stroke or other diseases and in general in those people for whom direct responses are not possible. The researchers performed experiments on 31 adults by monitoring the size of their pupils with eye detection technology. The detection took place while the same people performed a hearing test and while staring at an object at a monitor.

The study, published in the Journal of the Association for Research in Otorhinolaryngology, explains that this system is inspired by a discovery made by the main author of the study, Avinash Singh Bala, 10 years ago when he noticed changes in the pupils of barn owls in response to unexpected noises in their natural environment.

“What we discovered was that pupil dilation was as sensitive as the button-press method,” Bala explains. “We had presented the first data analyses at the conferences and there was a lot of resistance to the idea that by using an involuntary response we could get results as good as the button-pressing data.”

Johnathan Flint

Johnathan is a recent graduate of the Missouri University of Science and Technology with a Bachelor of Medicine, and is an avid reader of numerous medical journals. He recently joined Health Shiner as an editor, researcher and content contributor, and brings a great deal of knowledge and wisdom to our reporting.

2462 White Oak Drive, Weston Missouri, 64098
Ph: 816-640-5682
Email: [email protected]
Johnathan Flint
Continue Reading

Medical Research

New peanut butter with probiotics developed by scientist

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A new peanut butter that allows you to acquire probiotic positives was developed by researcher Dan Perlman. Probiotics are microorganisms that live in the digestive system that help to promote digestion, produce important hormones and vitamins and generally strengthen the immune system.

For years, Perlman has been looking for new ways to “pack” probiotics into food to allow people to acquire them without using pills or third-party capsules. Probiotics need to be ingested alive to take advantage of their positive characteristics but if there is not enough water or other energy sources in the food to support these bacteria, they die quickly and are therefore useless once ingested.

Walnut butters seem to be unsuitable for cramming live probiotics as they contain very little water. However, the researcher noted that when freeze-dried peanut butter bacteria come in, the bacteria themselves remain “suspended” in a sort of deep sleep, still alive but ready to get back to work and “wake up” once they are ingested by people.

This is because they remain trapped in the structure of the fat matrix of these foods, a rather crystalline fat.

In the new peanut butter developed by the researcher, there are 500 million to one billion bacteria in a two-spoon portion, the amount of a probiotic pill.

Now the researcher himself is looking for a way to make this new peanut butter with probiotics for commercial use.

Johnathan Flint

Johnathan is a recent graduate of the Missouri University of Science and Technology with a Bachelor of Medicine, and is an avid reader of numerous medical journals. He recently joined Health Shiner as an editor, researcher and content contributor, and brings a great deal of knowledge and wisdom to our reporting.

2462 White Oak Drive, Weston Missouri, 64098
Ph: 816-640-5682
Email: [email protected]
Johnathan Flint
Continue Reading
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