Scientific Discoveries this Week – 09/08/14

Honolulu, Hawaii – A team of scientists led by Brent Tully from the University of Hawaii in Honolulu have found that the Milky Way Galaxy is actually part of a larger supercluster named Laniakea (Hawaiian for “immeasurable heaven”) that is 520 million light years across. Previously, the Milky Way was thought to be part of a smaller galaxy cluster called Virgo, a 110 million light year section of space that is also suspected to be part of Laniakea. The team charted the motions of galaxies to infer the gravitational landscape of regions in space to determine where one supercluster cuts off.

France and India- An international team of scientists and engineers from Starlab Barcelona and Axilum Robotics have created brain-to-brain communication with non-invasive technology. One test subject in India had the words “hola” and “ciao” encoded into binary and sent by email to scientists with other test subjects in France. There, a computer-brain interface transmitted the message through brain stimulation to the subjects’ brains by phosphenes, the experience of seeing light in your peripheral vision without any light entering the eyes. The flashes appeared in a numerical sequence so that the subjects could decode the messages.

Tasman Sea, Australia- Scientists have discovered a mushroom-shaped animal 1,000 feet below sea level that cannot be placed into the standard classification system. Named “Dedrogramma,” the newly proclaimed “living fossil” has many similarities to extinct life from the Ediacaran period 540-580 million years ago. The creature is 1.5 centimeters tall by 1 centimeters wide with a dense jelly-like layer in between its stomach and outer skin and a combined mouth and anus in its “stalk”. Researches think the animal might be related to jellyfish, but “Dedrogramma” lacks both stingers and tentacles that are characteristic of both kinds of jellyfish.

Vienna, Austria- Physicists from the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna have created a method of using entangled photons to take a picture without having the light interact with the object. Usually scientists have to capture the photons that come from the image, but this new method allows someone to use lower-energy photons on fragile materials to record the wavelength and have entangled photons in the visible spectrum–that would otherwise damage the object if they made contact with it–return a higher quality image.

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