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Do You Know: The Oldest Ever Detected Supernova Happened 10.5 Billion Years Ago

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Countless galaxies exist in the universe, each hiding secrets that humankind is yet to unearth. Pixabay
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  • The first Supernova ever discovered was 10.5 billion years old
  • The star named DES16C2nm was detected by the Dark Energy Survey
  • Researchers used very powerful telescopes to detect it

An international team of astronomers has discovered the oldest supernova ever detected — a huge cosmic explosion that took place 10.5 billion years ago.

A supernova is the explosion of a massive star at the end of its life cycle.

The first supernova discovered was 10.5 billion years old. Wikimedia  Commons
The first supernova discovered was 10.5 billion years old. Wikimedia Commons

The exploding star, named DES16C2nm, was detected by the Dark Energy Survey (DES), an international collaboration to map several hundred million galaxies in order to find out more about dark energy — the mysterious force believed to be causing the accelerated expansion of the universe.

As detailed in a new study published in The Astrophysical Journal, light from the event has taken 10.5 billion years to reach Earth, making it the oldest supernova ever discovered and studied.

The universe itself is thought to be 13.8 billion years old.

Also Read: Mangalyaan Mission: A huge leap into space

“It’s thrilling to be part of the survey that has discovered the oldest known supernova,” said the lead author of the study Mathew Smith of the University of Southampton in Britain.

A star called DES16C2nm was discovered. Pixabay
A star called DES16C2nm was discovered. Pixabay

is extremely distant, extremely bright, and extremely rare – not the sort of thing you stumble across every day as an astronomer,” Smith said.

The researchers used three powerful telescopes — the Very Large Telescope and the Magellan, in Chile, and the Keck Observatory, in Hawaii — to measure the exploding star’s distance and brightness.

More than 400 scientists from over 25 institutions worldwide are involved in the DES, a five-year project which began in 2013.

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Researchers Develop Novel Device to Improve Diagnosis of Dizziness

In this technology, detailed in the journal Medical Devices: Evidence and Research, the sound levels which patients are exposed to can be minimised

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Dizziness
Novel device to improve diagnosis of dizziness.

Researchers have developed a new vibrating device using bone conduction technology, that can identify the causes of dizziness.

Half of older adults over 65 years suffer from dizziness and problems with balance. However, the current tests to identify the causes of such problems are painful and can risk hearing damage.

The novel type of vibrating device, developed by researchers from the Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden, is placed behind the ear of the patient during the test.

According to Bo Hakansson, Professor at Chalmers, the vibrating device is small and compact in size, and optimised to provide an adequate sound level for triggering the reflex at frequencies as low as 250 hertz (Hz).

But in bone conduction transmission, sound waves are transformed into vibrations through the skull, stimulating the cochlea within the ear, in the same way as when sound waves normally go through the ear canal, the eardrum and the middle ear.

Dizziness
Dizziness. Pixabay

In this technology, detailed in the journal Medical Devices: Evidence and Research, the sound levels which patients are exposed to can be minimised.

“The new vibrating device provides a maximum sound level of 75 decibels. The test can be performed at 40 decibels lower than today’s method using air conducted sounds through headphones,” said Karl-Johan Freden Jansson, postdoctoral researcher at Chalmers.

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“This eliminates any risk that the test itself could cause hearing damage,” Jansson added.

The benefits also include safer testing for children, and that patients with impaired hearing function due to chronic ear infections or congenital malformations in the ear canal and middle ear can be diagnosed for the origin of their dizziness, the researchers said. (IANS)