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FILE - The logo for Facebook appears on screens at the Nasdaq MarketSite, in New York's Times Square, March 29, 2018. VOA

Transitioning from high school to college can be stressful for some students and to maintain connections with pre-college friends and form new relationships, Facebook can still be your best friend.

A new research led by Indian-origin researcher Surinder Kahai reveals that Facebook can help college students maintain relationships with high-school friends and assist them in creating new friendships.


The study, published in the International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, shows that when it comes to making new friends, those with higher confidence in their social skills have less to gain from relying on Facebook, while people with lower confidence in their social skills have more to gain from the social media platform.

“Transitioning from high school to college can be stressful for many students. To help them adjust to life in college, it is critical for them to maintain connections with pre-college friends and to form new relationships,” said Kahai, Associate Professor at Binghamton University in the US.

For the study, the researchers focused on first semester college students by asking undergraduate college students, mostly sophomores, about their experiences with different channels used to maintain and grow relationships.


FILE – A man poses for a photo in front of a computer showing Facebook ad preferences in San Francisco, California, March 26, 2018. VOA

Accounting for Facebook’s effect on relationships versus the impact of more traditional media face-to-face interaction, phone calls, etc., researchers also incorporated how each student’s social self-efficacy like confidence in their social skills affected the use of both Facebook and traditional media to build and maintain relationships.

In terms of how “best” to use Facebook to maintain and build new relationships, some of the findings include; Facebook can compensate for the lower use of traditional media to maintain relationships with close friends from high school.

According to researchers, Facebook works best when supplementing traditional media when it comes to making new college friends, students with high self-efficacy have more to gain from prioritising traditional media over Facebook when making new college friends.

Also Read: Apple Refreshes its Operating Systems for iPhones, Watches

And students with low self-efficacy have more to gain from prioritising Facebook use over traditional media when making new college friends.

“New college students often stress about trying to maintain their high school friendships while struggling to develop new ones. These findings can help counselors advise students on how to balance the use of social media and traditional media to enhance their new and older friendships,” Kahai said. (IANS)


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NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory has for the first time spotted signs of a planet transiting a star outside of the Milky Way galaxy, opening up a new avenue to search for exoplanets at greater distances than ever before.

The possible exoplanet -- or planets outside of our Solar System -- candidate is located in the spiral galaxy Messier 51 (M51), also called the Whirlpool Galaxy because of its distinctive profile, NASA said in a statement.

Astronomers have, so far, found all other known exoplanets and exoplanet candidates in the Milky Way galaxy, almost all of them less than about 3,000 light-years from Earth.

An exoplanet in M51 would be about 28 million light-years away, meaning it would be thousands of times farther away than those in the Milky Way, NASA said.

"We are trying to open up a whole new arena for finding other worlds by searching for planet candidates at X-ray wavelengths, a strategy that makes it possible to discover them in other galaxies," said Rosanne Di Stefano of the Center for Astrophysics at Harvard and Smithsonian (CfA) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, who led the study.

The findings are published in the journal Nature Astronomy.

The exoplanet candidate was spotted in a binary system called M51-ULS-1, located in M51. This binary system contains a black hole or neutron star orbiting a companion star with a mass about 20 times that of the Sun. The X-ray transit they found using Chandra data lasted about three hours, during which the X-ray emission decreased to zero.

Based on this and other information, the team estimates the exoplanet candidate in M51-ULS-1 would be roughly the size of Saturn and orbit the neutron star or black hole at about twice the distance of Saturn from the Sun.

The team looked for X-ray transits in three galaxies beyond the Milky Way galaxy, using both Chandra and the European Space Agency's XMM-Newton. Their search covered 55 systems in M51, 64 systems in Messier 101 (the "Pinwheel" galaxy), and 119 systems in Messier 104 (the "Sombrero" galaxy).

However, more data would be needed to verify the interpretation as an extragalactic exoplanet. One challenge is that the planet candidate's large orbit means it would not cross in front of its binary partner again for about 70 years, thwarting any attempts for a confirming observation for decades, NASA said.

Named in honor of the late Indian-American Nobel laureate, Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, the Chandra X-ray Observatory is the world's most powerful X-ray telescope. It has eight times greater resolution and is able to detect sources more than 20-times fainter than any previous X-ray telescope.

Known to the world as Chandra (which means "moon" or "luminous" in Sanskrit), Chandrasekhar was widely regarded as one of the foremost astrophysicists of the twentieth century. (IANS/JB)


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