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Weekly Science Picks

A happy Science Sunday to everyone!  As usual there’s been a lot happening in the world of science, so lets take a peek of the best picks for the past week!

Conjunction of Jupiter, Venus and Mercury!

If you’re into astronomy, a planetary conjunction is something to celebrate! This week is one for the observers.  Just after dusk for the next few days you can see the unusual and stunning alignment of Jupiter, Venus and Mercury.

‘Three planets Jupiter, Venus and Mercury — can be now be seen in the western sky at dusk, weather permitting, in a rare and beautiful gathering that changes from night to night. Astronomers call a meeting of objects in the night sky a conjunction, but this planet parade is better described as a “Grand Conjunction.”

Cockroaches join sugar free craze

Also in the news this week. Cockroaches. Yes. Cockroaches. Apparently they’re cutting back on the sugary stuff, for good reason.

Sugar-free diets aren’t just making headlines in the human world. Cockroaches have joined the anti-sugar trend.  Research published in the US journal ‘Science’ today shows cockroaches will eat anything, except sugar.  The researchers show that cockroaches have learned to detect and avoid a certain kind of glucose that is commonly used in commercial traps.

Citizen scientists help solve astronomical puzzle

Citizen scientists solved a decades-old puzzle by assisting astronomers to make the most accurate distance measurements yet for an important star system.

The new research, reported in the in the journal Science found the distance to the binary system SS Cygni in the constellation Cygnus the Swan, is 372 light-years.  That’s far closer than previous measurements of 520 light-years made by the Hubble Space Telescope, according to the study’s lead author Dr James Miller-Jones of Curtin University and the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research. 

Neanderthal tooth reveals breastfeeding history

This article took me by surprise. I know we can tell a lot from looking at skeletons, and fossilised teeth but how long a mother breastfed for?

The debate on how long to breastfeed now has a Neanderthal spin with analysis of a fossilised tooth suggesting primitive mothers breastfed exclusively for just seven months.  The claim is based on an analysis of barium concentration in different layers of tooth enamel, which also reveals the Neanderthal child was completely weaned at 1.2 years. 

Enjoy your weekend folks!

Cite this article:
Harnett S (2013-05-26 08:09:09). Weekly Science Picks. Australian Science. Retrieved: Feb 21, 2018, from http://www.australianscience.com.au/news/weekly-science-picks-32/

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