The Tarantula Zone

Over 1,000 light-years in diameter, the Tarantula Nebula is a giant star forming region in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a galaxy near ours. NASA released an image of it today.


From NASA:

That cosmic arachnid lies toward the upper left in this deep and colorful telescopic view made through broad-band and narrow-band filters. The image spans nearly 2 degrees (4 full moons) on the sky and covers a part of the LMC over 8,000 light-years across. Within the Tarantula (NGC 2070), intense radiation, stellar winds and supernova shocks from the central young cluster of massive stars, cataloged as R136, energize the nebular glow and shape the spidery filaments. Around the Tarantula are other violent star-forming regions with young star clusters, filaments, and bubble-shaped clouds In fact, the frame includes the site of the closest supernova in modern times, SN 1987A, just above center. The rich field of view is located in the southern constellation Dorado.

Image credit: NASA

A dark matter hurricane is crashing into Earth

Giving our solar system a "slap in the face"

Surprising Science
  • A stream of galactic debris is hurtling at us, pulling dark matter along with it
  • It's traveling so quickly it's been described as a hurricane of dark matter
  • Scientists are excited to set their particle detectors at the onslffaught
Keep reading Show less

Are we all multiple personalities of universal consciousness?

Bernardo Kastrup proposes a new ontology he calls “idealism” built on panpsychism, the idea that everything in the universe contains consciousness. He solves problems with this philosophy by adding a new suggestion: The universal mind has dissociative identity disorder.

We’re all one mind in "idealism." (Credit: Alex Grey)
Mind & Brain

There’s a reason they call it the “hard problem.” Consciousness: Where is it? What is it? No one single perspective seems to be able to answer all the questions we have about consciousness. Now Bernardo Kastrup thinks he’s found one. He calls his ontology idealism, and according to idealism, all of us and all we perceive are manifestations of something very much like a cosmic-scale dissociative identity disorder (DID). He suggests there’s an all-encompassing universe-wide consciousness, it has multiple personalities, and we’re them.

Keep reading Show less

How the appendix may kick-start Parkinson’s

Is the appendix a useless organ, an immune system benefactor, a Parkinson's disease instigator, or all of the above?

(Photo from Flickr)
Surprising Science
  • As far back as Darwin, scientists have thought the appendix was a vestigial organ, but opinions have changed in recent years.
  • A new study found that the appendix houses Lewy bodies, abnormal protein deposits that contribute to Parkinson's disease.
  • Researchers suggest an appendectomy may lower one's risk of Parkinson's, while other research suggests the appendix has important roles to play in our immune system.
Keep reading Show less