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Bihar: Rajdhani reservoir becomes new camp for indigenous and foreign birds. IANS

Hundreds of native and migratory birds are flocking the reservoir in Bihar capital Patna nowadays, making nature lovers and birdwatchers make a beeline to see the winged visitors that fly in from places as far as Siberia, Europe, and even Africa.

The water body spread over 7 acres was opened to schoolchildren from January 4, enabling the ebullient youngsters to watch with interest rafts of Gadwall, Northern Shoveller, Lesser Whistling Duck, Comb Duck, Lalsar or Red-crested Pochard, Moorhen, Cormorant, and Pintail Duck.

Forest officials said that 73 species of trees, mostly with medicinal value, have been planted around the water body to give a forest-like feel to the ambiance, which is sure to warm the hearts of nature lovers and also provide roosting places for the avian fauna.

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Chief Minister Nitish Kumar visited the pond and spent some time watching the birds through binoculars.

The water body, which was virtually moribund not long ago — was earlier used to rear fishes, but has now been developed from environmental protection point of view.

CM Nitish Kumar visited the pond and spent some time watching the birds through binoculars. IANS

Forest Officer Arvind Kumar Sharma said that a 12-foot wide pathway has been built around the water body to facilitate the movement of visitors and plans are afoot to develop the area further.

Want to read more in Hindi? Checkout: देशी-विदेशी परिंदों के लिए नया आश्रयस्थली बना राजधानी जलाशय

Though the birds start arriving at the spot from August-September onwards, the influx increases around December. However, this year, the arrival of the avian guests increased in November itself due to heavy snowfall in areas inhabited by migratory birds.

“Not only from Siberia, but birds also arrive here from as far as Europe and Africa,” said forest officials.

Arvind Kumar Mishra, founder of Mandar Nature Club at Bhagalpur and an avian expert, said that birds did not arrive at the water body till a year ago, but began to flock to the spot in their hundreds after the Forest Department developed it virtually as a bird paradise.

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“The migratory birds go to hotter climes in December, but they have now started coming here in November due to heavy snowfall in their original habitats and the consequent shortage of food. During the breeding season, all these migratory birds return to their native lands,” he said. (IANS)



Bangladesh over the years show that the state has failed in its duty to protect minorities

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If humanity is hurt, God is hurt.

Religion without compassion might give way to hatred. Compassion with a "self-interest" motive is completely irreligious. But of late, some of the religions have departed from those basic human values. Love and compassion are for only those who follow their "specific" faith. Very sadly, the religions are up as trading commodities in the world of proselytization. Better preachers attract more followers. Of course, no issue if they are not vying for their religious "supremacy". But the ground reality is utterly different. The claim for exclusive supremacy has become the first commandment --- a real bone of contention among the existing religions. In the name of religion, we have polluted our minds. we have corrupted our souls. We have also gone so much astray that God must have now shut his gateway to heaven!

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The Aruba villa has great interiors, an outdoor facility, amazing bedrooms, clean bathrooms and huge living space.

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Taking out time for family has become very difficult as people are pretty busy in daily life and find very little time to spend with their loved ones. Planning a family vacation is an excellent way through which the whole family can step away from their daily life and have fun. You can find many destinations for a family vacation, but there is no place that can beat Aruba.

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Photo by Flickr

Milky Way galaxy as seen from Chitkul Valley

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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