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Hubble telescope has helped scientists better understand the cosmos

Hubble telescope has helped scientists better understand the cosmos

Science
April 20 (UPI) -- Today, astronomers know the age and size of the universe with greater certainty and precision than they did 28 years ago -- and it's all thanks to the Hubble Space Telescope."When I was a grad student 30 years ago, we were arguing about the size and scale of the universe," NASA scientist Dr. Jeff Hayes told UPI.Hayes has said those arguments featured estimates differing by a factor of two."Today, thanks to Hubbles' observations, we are down to a couple of percent," he said.Hubble was designed to measure the size and age of the universe, as well as the rate of its expansion, and it succeeded in doing just that. According to Hayes, this was Hubble's biggest breakthrough.Hubble was launched on April 19, 1990. The telescope celebrated its 28th anniversary, or birthday, on Thu...
New nanoparticle could help solar panels convert unseen light into energy

New nanoparticle could help solar panels convert unseen light into energy

Science
April 23 (UPI) -- Scientists have developed a new nanoparticle that can absorb near-infrared light and reemit it as visible light, which could allow solar panels to convert unseen light into usable energy.Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory coated tiny particles in organic dyes. The dyes work like antennae, which allowed scientists to fine-tune the nanoparticle's light-converting properties."These organic dyes capture broad swaths of near-infrared light," Bruce Cohen, a scientist at Berkeley Lab's Molecular Foundry, said in a news release.Most solar technologies that focus on visible light fail to absorb near-infrared light, allowing a solid chunk of the solar spectrum to go to waste. Roughly 44 percent of all light that hits Earth's surface...
Environment prize goes to Flint water activist

Environment prize goes to Flint water activist

Science
The founder of a citizens' movement that helped expose the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, is one of the recipients of the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize.Nearly 100,000 residents of Flint were left without safe tap water after lead began leaching into the supply.Mother of four LeeAnne Walters led a citizens' movement that tested the tap water to expose the health threat.Tests showed lead levels in her water were seven times the acceptable limit.In 2014, the water in Ms Walters' home turned brownish and she noticed rashes on her three-year-old twins. Her daughters' hair then fell out in clumps.Walters spent months reading technical documents about the Flint water system. She then teamed up with environmental engineer Dr Marc Edwards, from Virginia Tech, who helped her conduct exte...
National Trust needs to be 'radical'

National Trust needs to be 'radical'

Science
The National Trust needs to be more radical, the charity's new director-general has told the BBC.Hilary McGrady said the organisation needed to reach out to people living in towns and cities. In her first interview since getting the job, she said: "The people that need beauty the most, are the ones that have least access to it."Mrs McGrady is now at the helm of the largest charity in the UK, with a membership of more than five million. On the stony footpath up towards Scafell Pike, the highest mountain in England, she talks of her childhood growing up during the Troubles in Northern Ireland and being unable to enjoy the surrounding landscape because it was private land. She is now in charge of Britain's largest private landowner. The National Trust owns land equivalent in size to Dorset, ...
Rare brown bear dies in Italy capture operation

Rare brown bear dies in Italy capture operation

Science
A national park in central Italy is investigating the death of a rare brown bear during an operation to capture it. Biologists at the park in the Apennine mountains had trapped the animal to fit him with a radio collar so they could track his movements. But the male Marsican bear began to struggle to breathe as he was being sedated and died shortly afterwards, despite efforts to revive him. Wildlife officials have described the loss of the animal as "very serious". "This is a subspecies in danger of extinction that now counts only 50 individuals or little more," said WWF Italia, as it called for a review of capture procedures.You may also be interested in:The bear was captured in a tube trap on Wednesday night, as part of an authorised operation at the Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise nature rese...