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Cosmos Magazine

Cosmos Magazine

Issue 91

Global science, from a unique Australian perspective.

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4 Numéros

dans ce numéro

2 min
glaciers are shrinking faster

A study of nearly every glacier on Earth has confirmed they are losing more ice every year. The international research team, led by Roman Hugonnet from the Université de Toulouse in France, found that on average these icy rivers have lost 267 gigatonnes (Gt) of mass per year since 2000. A Gt is equal to the mass of a one-kilometre-sided cube of water, or about 400,000 Olympic swimming pools. It gets worse: the study, published in Nature, also found that the rate of ice loss is accelerating by an average of 48 Gt per year each decade. The paper highlights that this ice loss accounts for a significant amount (21%) of global sea level rise. As the research team warns, “200 million people live on land that is predicted to fall below…

1 min
astronomers f ind “goldilocks” black hole is just right

Last year, scientists used gravitational waves to detect an elusive intermediate-mass black hole for the first time. Now, Australian astronomers have spotted another – this time using gamma-ray bursts. Black holes are formed when massive stars reach the end of their lives and collapse under their own gravity. But they aren’t all the same – stellar mass black holes are small, just a few times the mass of our Sun, while supermassive black holes at the hearts of galaxies are enormous, with masses millions or even billions of times greater than our Sun. Intermediate mass black holes are the missing link between these two populations, thought to span between 100 and 100,000 solar masses. The black hole discovered in 2020 was 142 solar masses. This newly discovered monster comes in at approximately…

1 min
about the royal institution of australia

The Royal Institution of Australia is an independent charity dedicated to connecting people with the world of science. Through Cosmos magazine, our free daily science news site cosmosmagazine.com, our e-publication Cosmos Weekly and free educational resources, we aim to be an inspirational resource centre for the wonders and achievements of Australian and the world’s scientific discoveries. We want to spark in all people a desire to be science literate and to make informed decisions about their lives based on rigorously sought and tested evidence.…

2 min
seeing the unseen

Stars aren’t the only things Gaia can detect. It can also help find dark matter, a mysterious substance that appears to make up the bulk of the Universe. “We have no idea what dark matter is,” says Gerry Gilmore, of the University of Cambridge, UK. But even if it’s invisible, Gaia can help determine where it is by measuring the effect of its gravity on things we can see. One of these is the Sun. Astronomers have long known that the Sun (and the Earth) orbit the galactic centre once every 230 million years, moving at a velocity of about 230 kilometres per second. But we’re not going in a straight line. Rather, the galaxy’s gravity is bending our movement, keeping us from wandering off into the intergalactic void. And now, Gaia…

1 min
dingoes aren’t “wild dogs”

A new study has found that most Australian dingoes have pure dingo ancestry, certifying their importance as native apex predators rather than pests. The research, published in the journal Australian Mammalogy, found virtually no feral dogs across the continent and very little evidence of interbreeding between dingoes (Canis lupus dingo) and domestic dogs (Canis familiaris). “The results challenge the widespread use of the term ‘wild dog’,” says lead author Kylie Cairns from the University of New South Wales. “It is important that governments, wildlife managers and agriculture industry groups use the name dingo to describe these wild canines because this is what they are. “The finding that there are very few feral dogs in the wild suggests there is something ecologically and biologically different between dogs and dingoes and that really an animal must…

4 min
forces of nature

Deadline for entries to the 2021 World Nature Photography Awards is June 30, at www.worldnaturephotographyawards.com/enter Photographer: Thomas VijayaAward: Gold in Animals in Their Habitat;Grand Prize of World Nature Photographer of the Year…