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Science Illustrated Issue 82

Science Illustrated delivers natural science, break through discoveries and an understanding of the world for the entire family. Packed with stunning photography and in-depth editorial it’s a visually spectacular gateway to the world looking into the beginning of life to distant objects in the universe.

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8 Issues

in this issue

1 min
star quality: chile telescope produces super-sharpness

Astronomers have captured the sharpest photo yet taken of the Carina Nebula, a birth place of new stars. Star nebulas are hard to see using the visible light spectrum, as dust blocks out the light. But the Gemini South telescope in Chile captures infrared, peering through the cloud. The telescope also corrects for the atmosphere’s distortion of light, and the result is twice the sharpness of the Hubble space telescope. The image gives us an idea of the detail that the new James Webb space telescope will reveal. NOIRLAB/NSF/AURA, Photo // International Gemini Observatory…

1 min
tiger king: tree hugger of a different stripe

Environmental campaigners are not the only ones who hug trees. The Siberian tiger embraces trunks to mark its territory, which may stretch up to 2000km within Russian forests. With a weight of up to 300kg, the Siberian tiger is the largest of the six tiger species which remain in the world. Its hugs leave hair, urine and scratch marks, while the tiger gets to smell the scents of any peers in the area. This picture won the prestigious Wildlife Photographer of the Year Grand Title award. WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR 2020, Photo // Sergey Gorshkov…

3 min
life on earth could be observed from more than 1000 stars

ASTRONOMY Over the past few decades, astronomers have discovered more than 4000 exoplanets − those orbiting other stars − within our galaxy, the Milky Way. Some of these could harbour life, perhaps even intelligent civilisations which might, like our own, be scanning the stars for signs of life elsewhere. But how visible would we be when viewed from the outside? Scientists from Cornell University in the United States have looked into this, and they calculate that our world – and the evidence of life on it – could be observed from 1004 known stars located within a distance of 326 light years. The scientists used similar methods to those used in our own searches in the other direction, seeking exoplanets and evidence of life on those. In most cases, astronomers are able…

1 min
stone age women hunted big game

ARCHAEOLOGY When scientists from the US University of California recently excavated a 9000-year-old grave in the Andes mountains of Peru, they were in for a major surprise. The grave included many well-made knives and spearheads made of flint, which is usually taken as a clear indication of the deceased being a well-respected hunter. Apart from valuable hunting weapons, the grave also included prey. The scientists found bones from big game such as deer and llama, together with tools for butchering the animals and scraping their hides. The surprise came from the hunter’s own bones, which were slender and light, making scientists suspect that it could be a woman. This was confirmed by scrutiny of the protein amelogenin in the tooth enamel, confirming that the game hunter, estimated to have died at age…

2 min
test yourself

LOGIC 1 Helen has bought a circular plot of land, diameter 13 metres. She aims to establish a rectangular playing field of grass and would like the field to include as much space as possible. If this field is 12 metres long, how wide will it be? VISUAL INTELLIGENCE 2 What value weight replaces the question mark to balance the scales? LOGIC 3 Which box below is made up of the two elements above? A B C D NUMERACY 4 In a local election, a total of 12,345 votes were cast. All votes were distributed between four people, and Nos. 2, 3 and 4 on the list got 512, 2513, and 4814 fewer votes than the winner. How many votes did the winner get? MEMORY Science Quiz FROM THIS ISSUE Answers on p11: no peeking! 5 Scientists have identified what as the source of an unexplained…

2 min
changing fat from white to brown

MEDICINE New experiments with mice show that it is possible to treat obesity by changing the fat cells of the body. US scientists from the University of Massachusetts used the CRISPR method that can remove specific genes from genetic material to make the discovery. Body fat exists in two variants: white and brown. In white fat, cells function as passive energy storage, whereas brown fat cells actively boost fat burning, converting the fat into heat. Babies have plenty of brown fat cells, allowing them to quickly heat their bodies, but the number is reduced as we grow older The new method can change this. The scientists extracted white fat cells from people, removing a gene by the name of NRIP1. Without this gene the cells developed into brown fat cells, which the…