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Astronomers have recorded the largest cosmic explosion in history



Artist’s idea of ​​a black hole consuming gas

John A. Pace

In the distant universe, a supermassive black hole appears to be swallowing up a huge cloud of gas, causing an extraordinary explosion the likes of which we have never seen before. So far, it has released about 100 times more energy than the Sun will release in its entire lifetime, and it’s not over yet.

This giant hell, called AT20211wx, was first spotted in 2020 by the Zwicky Transient Center in California. Philip Wiseman at the University of Southampton in the UK and colleagues conducted a series of follow-up observations with other observatories in the following years. “We see various big explosions and flashes in the universe, but nothing close to what we see here,” says Wiseman.

The only space objects brighter than AT20211wx are quasars, which are the result of a continuous flow of gas into a supermassive black hole. This explosion, which increased in size by more than 15 times over the course of about four months and then began to dim steadily, continues to this day. Observations seem to point to a supermassive black hole devouring a giant cloud of gas perhaps 100 times the size of the solar system or more.

These observations may help explain why some relatively small galaxies contain huge black holes. “We thought we knew the main ways in which black holes grow, but in fact it seems that they can also grow differently than we thought, with violent explosive growth episodes,” says Wiseman.

Further analysis of this object could help clarify exactly how this works, as well as how black holes behave in general. “Because it’s so big, bright, and durable, it allows us to take a close look at the inner workings of what happens when material falls into a black hole,” says Wiseman.



Proposition 12, for the humane sale of pork in California, was upheld by the Supreme Court.



The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld California’s right to ban the sale of pork in the state unless producers follow more humane rules for treating pregnant sows.

Solution touched on constitutional issues of interstate commerce and split judges outside of their usual liberal-conservative blocs. There were even disagreements within the majority. Dissenting Judge Brett M. Cavanaugh introduced what appeared to be a scorecard to show what tests the judges thought could be applied to determine whether one state’s law interferes with a business elsewhere.

Judge Neil M. Gorsuch, writing a majority in what amounted to a 5-4 decision, dismissed what he called the pork producers’ request for the court to develop “new and more aggressive constitutional limits on the ability of states to regulate what they sell.” within them.”

“Despite the fact that the Constitution decides many important issues, the type of pork chops that California merchants can sell is not on this list,” Gorsuch wrote to the majority, which sometimes included Judges Clarence Thomas, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan and Amy Coney Barrett.

Supreme Court Cases: We’re Tracking Major Decisions in 2023

He wrote that pork producers should apply to Congress for an exemption from state laws they don’t like. He then added that “Despite the persistent efforts of some pork producers, Congress has yet to pass any legislation that could replace Proposition 12, or laws to regulate pork production in other states.”

Four members of the court – Chief Justice John J. Roberts Jr. and Judges Samuel A. Alito Jr., Kavanaugh and Ketanji Brown Jackson—argued to leave the challenge to the law and send it back to the lower court for more work.

Roberts said that due to the size of the California market, pork producers will have no choice but to comply with California regulations, which Gorsuch says prohibit breeding pigs from being kept in “stands so small they can’t lie down, stand up or turn around.” . The rules could increase costs by more than 9 percent, writes Roberts, for what is described as a $20 billion industry.

“California has enacted rules that have consequences for manufacturers located even in Indiana and North Carolina, whether they sell goods in California or not,” the Chief Justice wrote, adding that in the past the court held such “wide-ranging extraterritorial implications … are appropriate.”

It is undeniable that the states can regulate the cultivation of pork within their borders. But Proposition 12, passed by nearly 63 percent of Californians in 2018, goes beyond that parameter by banning the sale of products derived from sows that are not allowed to be at least 24 square feet—regardless of where the sows are raised. California grows little pork but consumes about 13 percent of the nation’s total pork.

The referendum was contested by the National Pork Producers Council and the American Federation of Farm Bureaus, and received support from business groups concerned about the state’s ability to regulate outside its borders.

“This Supreme Court decision will not only affect every small family farm in the country, but it will also change the standard for how state governments can impose a regulatory burden on businesses and consumers outside of this state,” said Beth Milito, chief executive. Small Business Law Center of the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB). “Proposition 12 will have a stunning impact on pork producers, consumers and interstate commerce in general. Today’s decision sets a dangerous precedent, and small businesses will bear the consequences.”

But Gorsuch said the Constitution’s trade statute prohibits discriminatory practices by states to protect their businesses and burden others, and even pork producers, California law claims, don’t do that. In a letter to two other judges, Gorsuch said courts should not decide how to balance moral and medical advantages of the inhabitants of the state in comparison with the costs of producers.

“In a functioning democracy, such political choices usually belong to the people and their elected representatives,” he wrote.

Sotomayor and Kagan were not prepared to accept that the court’s role was so limited that it was tantamount to abandoning the test the court had used in the past. But Sotomayor wrote that “the claim of a substantial burden on interstate commerce is a threshold requirement that plaintiffs must meet” and concluded that the pork producers did not.

Kavanaugh wrote that this meant that the six judges were still in favor of such balancing tests despite Gorsuch’s objection. His own view, Kavanaugh wrote, is that “California’s required changes to pig farming and pork production throughout the United States will cost American farmers and pork producers hundreds of millions (if not billions) of dollars. And these costs to pig farmers and pork producers will in many cases be passed on to American pork consumers as a result of rising pork prices across the country.”

California claimed that its residents agreed to pay higher prices so as not to create a market for products they considered morally unacceptable and potentially unsafe. Proponents of the ban said state residents have the right to do so, while acknowledging that it could mean nationwide change.

“This decision should be the final nail in the coffin of one of the most brutal and controversial forms of animal cruelty ever committed against animals,” said Josh Balk, one of the referendum leaders.

Kitty Block, President and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, said her organization is “delighted that the Supreme Court upheld California Proposition 12—the nation’s strictest farm animal welfare law—and made it clear that preventing Animal cruelty and public health protection is a primary function of our state governments… It’s amazing that pig industry leaders spend so much time and money fighting this common sense to prevent California’s relentless, unbearable animal suffering products from being sold.”

Gorsuch noted that even pork producers have acknowledged that practices are changing. “In response to consumer demand and other state laws, 28% of their industry has already transitioned to some form of group housing for pregnant pigs,” he wrote.

The thing is National pork producers vs. Horse.

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Dirty black hole may have just caused the biggest explosion in the universe



Astronomers have recorded the most powerful cosmic explosion ever seen – a mysterious multi-year eruption, 10 times brighter than any observed supernova.

Astronomers spotted the event, called AT2021lwx, 8 billion light-years from Earth. Releasing about 100 times more energy than the Sun would release in its entire lifetime, the strange explosion erupted when the universe was 6 billion years old.

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Chinese rover sends back images of recent water-shaped crusts



Increase / Orbital image of the Utopia Planitia region of Mars.

Much of Mars seems like an endless expanse of alien desert, with no river or lake in sight. However, liquid water definitely existed in the distant past of the planet. The new article also suggests that small amounts of water may still exist in what would otherwise appear as streaks.

Before China’s Zhurong (also known as Phoenix) rover went into hibernation last May, researchers from the National Astronomical Observatory and the Institute of Atmospheric Physics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences discovered something unexpected. Zhurong explored the Utopia Plains region, which is located near the planet’s equator. It was believed that liquid water does not exist at these latitudes. However, when the rover returned data from its Multispectral Camera (MSCam), Navigation and Terrain Camera (NaTeCam), and Martian Surface Composition Detector (MarSCoDe), possible evidence for the existence of liquid water less than half a million years ago emerged.

“[Our findings] suggest [features] associated with the activity of salt water, which indicates the existence of a water process in the low-latitude region of Mars, ”the researchers said in a study recently published in Science Advances.

Dry with a raw past

Zhurong is part of China’s Tianwen-1 Martian mission, which has helped expand our understanding of the environment on Mars. But the evidence that liquid water existed recently (at least from a geological point of view) is unexpected. Because Mars has lost most of its atmosphere and is exposed to intense radiation and the solar wind, it was previously thought that water could not exist there as a liquid. Whatever is formed must quickly freeze or evaporate due to the extremely low pressure and lack of water vapor.

It is especially dry at lower latitudes where there are no glaciers, but Zhurong found features on the surface of the dunes that aroused the suspicion of researchers led by geologist Xiaoguang Qin. These include cracks and crusts that must have been left by the evaporation of liquid water from the reddish soil. Further investigation revealed that the surfaces of these dunes were hiding hydrated silica and sulfates, minerals containing water molecules, along with some iron oxides and something like chlorides.

Both the presence of these substances and the surface features observed by Zhurong most likely indicate that frost or snow once fell, melted and seeped into the topsoil. It formed a brine after interacting with the salt in the dunes and formed something like cement when combined with grains of sand. These cements turn into crusts after evaporation.

How did it get here?

But if there really was water at lower latitudes no more than 1.4 million and only 400,000 years ago, then how did it get there?

Mars has gone through different eras, just like the Earth. Its Amazonian period began about 2.9 billion years ago and continues to the present. After the transition from the Hesperian to the Amazonian period, Mars was no longer bombarded by asteroids, and volcanic activity (some of which was caused by these collisions) decreased significantly. Although much of its atmosphere had disappeared by then and the climate was drying up, there were still warm and humid periods.

Qin and his team believe that it was during these periods that water vapor from the frozen poles spread to the warmer equator. This vapor solidifies into snow or frost in cooler weather and falls to the ground. It then melted and evaporated as the temperature rose, leaving a salty crust.

This discovery may have implications for past or present habitability on Mars. As the climate changed, so did the planet’s potential for life (although it remains a mystery whether it ever existed). Future rovers may be looking for signs of life in areas previously ignored, especially where there are crusts, cracks and depressions that could be clear signs of the presence of water.

“Because salt water once existed at different latitudes on the surface of Mars,” the researchers say, “future missions to search for existing life on Mars should prioritize salt-tolerant microbes.”

Scientific achievements, 2023. DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.add886 (About DOI).

Elizabeth Rein is a creature that writes. Her work has appeared on SYFY WIRE,, Live Science, Grunge, Den of Geek and Forbidden Futures. When she’s not writing, she’s either shape-shifting or painting or cosplaying a character no one has ever heard of. Follow her on Twitter @quothravenrayne.

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