Tuesday February 20, 2018
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‘Manufactured rebellion by rabid anti-BJP elements’: Arun Jaitley on #AwardWapsi

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Patna: Hours after eminent Indian scientist P M Bhargava announced he would return his Padma Bhushan award and over 50 historians issued a joint statement in protest against the “growing intolerance in the country”, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that “manufactured rebellion” is growing at a faster speed now.

Jaitley alleged that those returning their awards were “rabid anti-BJP elements” and that some of them had even campaigned against Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his constituency Varanasi in 2014.

“The fact that (the protest) has been stepped up in the middle of the Bihar election I’m now constrained to say that this is electioneering by other means,” Jaitley said.  

Eminent scientist Bhargava, who was the founder-director of the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), said on Thursday that religious belief was a personal choice and should not interfere in politics.

“The fear as we see in democracy today… the spread of Hindutva… I believe that (religion) really is a personal matter. It should stay as a personal matter. It should not make incursions into politics as it is doing now,” he said.

The 87-year-old said he also finds statements by Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat that women should restrict themselves to doing household chores, as “detestable”.

Bhargava said he will meet the home secretary and give back the award. He also encouraged the youth brigade in the scientific community to come forward and protest.

Meanwhile, over 50 historians on Thursday came out strongly against Prime Minister Narendra Modi for not making any reassuring statement following concerns over “highly vitiated atmosphere” prevailing in the country.

A total of 53 historians including leading names like Romila Thapar, Irfan Habib, KN Pannikar and Mridula Mukherjee have, in a joint statement released by Sahmat, raised their serious concerns over recent developments. 

“Differences of opinion are being sought to be settled by using physical violence. Arguments are met not with counter-arguments but with bullets,” the statement said referring to the Dadri lynching incident and the recent ink attack on Sudheendra Kulkarni during a book launch function in Mumbai.

Incidentally, the veteran researcher is one of the scientists who started the online petition on Tuesday, signed by at least 100 senior scientists, addressed to President Pranab Mukherjee against growing intolerance.

(With inputs from agencies)

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Milky Way’s neighbouring galaxy is of same size, not bigger

With Andromeda no longer considered the Milky Way's big brother

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UFO religion as a concept is now becoming a part of popular understanding.
Countless galaxies exist in the universe, each hiding secrets that humankind is yet to unearth. Pixabay
  • Astronomers discover that the other galaxy nearest to us is the same size as ours
  • The name of the other galaxy is Andromeda
  • It is heavier than sun but the same size as Milky Way

In what could put a galactic arms race to rest, astronomers have discovered that our nearest big neighbour, the Andromeda galaxy, is roughly the same size as the Milky Way.

It had been thought that Andromeda was two to three times the size of the Milky Way, and that our own galaxy would ultimately be engulfed by our bigger neighbour.

Galaxy nearest to Milky Way is not larger than it. VOA
Galaxy nearest to Milky Way is not larger than it. VOA

But the new study, published in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, evens the score between the two galaxies.

It found the weight of the Andromeda is 800 billion times heavier than the Sun, on par with the Milky Way.

The research suggests scientists previously overestimated the amount of dark matter in the Andromeda galaxy.

Also Read: Planets Beyond Milky Way Galaxy Discovered For First Time

“We had thought there was one biggest galaxy and our own Milky Way was slightly smaller but that scenario has now completely changed,” said Prajwal Kafle from the University of Western Australia.

“By examining the orbits of high speed stars, we discovered that this galaxy has far less dark matter than previously thought, and only a third of that uncovered in previous observations,” he said.

Andromeda  is heavier than sun. VOA
Andromeda is heavier than sun. VOA

The study used a new technique to measure the speed required to escape a galaxy.

“When a rocket is launched into space, it is thrown out with a speed of 11 km per second to overcome the Earth’s gravitational pull,” he said.

“Our home galaxy, the Milky Way, is over a trillion times heavier than our tiny planet Earth so to escape its gravitational pull we have to launch with a speed of 550km/s,” Kafle said.

Andromeda is same size as the Milky way galaxy. Wikimedia Commons
Andromeda is same size as the Milky way galaxy. Wikimedia Commons

“We used this technique to tie down the mass of Andromeda,” he added.

The Milky Way and Andromeda are two giant spiral galaxies in our local Universe, and light takes a cosmologically tiny two million years to get between them.

With Andromeda no longer considered the Milky Way’s big brother, new simulations are needed to find out what will happen when the two galaxies eventually collide, suggests the study.