Here is some of the most interesting research to have appeared in top science journals last week
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The mystery of the Blue Ring Nebula
In 2004, scientists spotted a strange object in our Milky Way galaxy: a gaseous blob with a star at the centre. NASA’s space-based Galaxy Evolution Explorer captured the object in UV light, thus appearing blue in images and giving it the nickname Blue Ring Nebula. After several years of study, researchers have now decoded what this cloud of gas was. They write that it may be made up of debris from two stars that collided and merged to become a single star.
A bee map
“People think of bees as just honey bees, bumble bees, and maybe a few others, but there are more species of bees than of birds and mammals combined,” says Dr. John Ascher from the National University of Singapore in a release. His team has now published a complete map of 20,555 bee species describing their distribution and diversity across the globe.
Sleep to your heart’s content
Do you wake up early in the morning? Sleep 7-8 hours? No insomnia or daytime sleepiness? Then you have a healthy sleep pattern. A study of over four lakh participants from the U.K. (aged 37 to 73) has shown that adults with such a healthy sleep pattern have a 42% lower risk of heart failure – regardless of other risk factors – compared to adults with unhealthy sleep patterns.
Play of the polar climate
It is well known that changes in sea surface temperature in the Pacific Ocean ( El Niño events) can melt the sea ice in the far Antarctic Ocean. Now a new study has shown that an opposite pathway may also exist where variations in the polar climate can alter the trade winds in the tropical zones. The researchers arrived at this find by studying several climate model simulations over the years.
How to restore normal blood flow if your blood vessels narrow or constrict? These new synthetic protocells may come to the rescue. Coated in red blood cell fragments, these bio-bots can produce a sufficient amount of nitric oxide which can help initiate a pathway for blood vessel dilation. The researchers write that these cells set to work when placed inside blood vessels, or when injected into a carotid artery.