Categories
First School

On the First Day of School, an Indiana Student Tests Positive for Coronavirus – The New York Times

As more schools abandon plans for in-person classes, one that opened in Indiana this week had to quarantine students within hours.

Credit…AJ Mast for The New York Times

One of the first school districts in the country to reopen its doors during the coronavirus pandemic did not even make it a day before being forced to grapple with the issue facing every system actively trying to get students into classrooms: What happens when someone comes to school infected?

Just hours into the first day of classes on Thursday, a call from the county health department notified Greenfield Central Junior High School in Indiana that a student who had walked the halls and sat in various classrooms had tested positive for the coronavirus.

Administrators began an emergency protocol, isolating the student and ordering everyone who had come into close contact with the person, including other students, to quarantine for 14 days. It is unclear whether the student infected anyone else.

“We knew it was a when, not if,” said Harold E. Olin, superintendent of the Greenfield-Central Community School Corporation, but were “very shocked it was on Day 1.”

To avoid the same scenario, hundreds of districts across the country that were once planning to reopen their classrooms, many on a part-time basis, have reversed course in recent weeks as infections have spiked in many states.

Those that do still reopen are having to prepare for the near-certain likelihood of quarantines and abrupt shutdowns when students and staff members test positive.

Of the nation’s 25 largest school districts, all but six have announced they will start remotely, although some in places like Florida and Texas are hoping to open classrooms after a few weeks if infection rates go down, over strong objections from teachers’ unions.

More than 80 percent of California residents live in counties where test positivity rates and hospitalizations are too high for school buildings to open under state rules issued last month. And schools in Alexandria, Va., said on Friday that they would teach remotely, tipping the entire Washington-Baltimore metro area, with more than one million children, into virtual learning for the fall.

In March, when schools across America abruptly shuttered, it seemed unimaginable that educators and students would not return to school come fall, as they have in many other parts of the world. Now, with the virus continuing to rage, tens of millions of students will start the year remotely, and it has become increasingly clear that only a small percentage of children are likely to see the inside of a school building before the year ends.

“There’s no good answer,” Mark Henry, superintendent of the Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District near Houston, told trustees at a recent special meeting in which they voted to postpone the district’s hybrid reopening until September. “If there was a good answer, if there were an easy answer,” he said, “we would lay it out for you and everybody would be happy.”

Anywhere that schools do reopen — outside of a portion of the Northeast where the virus is largely under control — is likely to see positive test results quickly, as in Indiana.

A New York Times analysis found that in many districts in the Sun Belt, at least five people infected with the coronavirus would be expected to arrive at a school of about 500 students and staff members during the first week if it reopened today.

To deal with that likelihood, many schools and some states have enacted contact tracing and quarantine protocols, with differing thresholds at which they would close classrooms or buildings.

Because of the low infection rate locally, New York City, the largest district in the country, plans to reopen schools on a hybrid model on Sept. 10, with students attending in-person classes one to three days a week. Yet even there, the system might have to quickly close if the citywide infection rate ticks up even modestly.

On Friday, Mayor Bill de Blasio laid out a plan for responding to positive cases that would mean many of the city’s 1,800 public schools would most likely have individual classrooms or even entire buildings closed at certain points.

Image

Credit…AJ Mast for The New York Times

One or two confirmed cases in a single classroom would require those classes to close for 14 days, with all students and staff members ordered to quarantine. The rest of the school would continue to operate, but if two or more people in different classrooms in the same school tested positive, the entire building would close for an investigation, and might not reopen for two weeks depending on the results.

In California, where schools in two-thirds of the state have been barred from reopening in person for now, state guidelines call for a school to close for at least 14 days if more than 5 percent of its students, faculty and staff test positive over a two-week period.

Chicago, the nation’s third-largest school district, has proposed a hybrid system for reopening that would put students into 15-member pods that can be quarantined if one member tests positive. School buildings should close if the city averages more than 400 new cases a week or 200 cases a day, the plan states, with other worrying factors like low hospital capacity or a sudden spike in cases taken into account.

In Indiana, where the middle school student tested positive on Thursday in Greenfield, an Indianapolis suburb of 23,000 people, the virus began to spike in mid-June, and the caseload has remained relatively high. This week, Indianapolis opted to start the school year online.

The Greenfield-Central Community School Corporation, with eight schools and 4,400 students, gave families the option of in-person or remote learning. At Greenfield Central Junior High School, which the student with the positive test attends, about 15 percent of the 700 enrolled students opted for remote learning, said Mr. Olin, the superintendent.

“It was overwhelming that our families wanted us to return,” he said, adding that families needed to be responsible and not send students to school if they were displaying symptoms or awaiting test results. Students are also required to wear masks except when they are eating or for physical education outside, he said — and as far as he knew, the student who tested positive was doing so.

Anyone who was within six feet of the student for more than 15 minutes on Thursday was instructed to isolate themselves for two weeks, Mr. Olin said. He would not give a specific number of people who were affected at the school, but he said no teachers or staff members were identified as close contacts, and therefore none have been told to quarantine.

“It really doesn’t change my opinion about whether we should start or not,” Mr. Olin said. “If we get down the road and realize that we need to make some adjustments, we’re not opposed to that.”

He said that the district did not have a specific threshold for when it would close a school, but that it would likely do so if absences reached 20 percent. The state has not provided specific guidance to schools on when they should shut their doors, he said.

Some teachers in the district said the positive case on the first day confirmed their fears about returning.

“I most definitely felt like we were not ready,” said Russell Wiley, a history teacher at nearby Greenfield-Central High School. “Really, our whole state’s not ready. We don’t have the virus under control. It’s just kind of like pretending like it’s not there.”

One father whose daughter goes to the middle school with the positive case said he felt conflicted about his three children attending classes in person. Few people in the community are wearing masks, said the father, who asked not to be named because he worried that his family would face backlash.

“I have all these concerns,” the father said. But he has to commute at least an hour to work every day, so remote learning was not a good option for his family.

“It’s just a mess,” he said. “I don’t know what the answers are.”

Read More

Categories
Families First

Families File First Wave of Covid-19 Lawsuits Against Companies Over Worker Deaths – The Wall Street Journal

Employers across the country are being sued by the families of workers who contend their loved ones contracted lethal cases of Covid-19 on the job, a new legal front that shows the risks of reopening workplaces.

Walmart Inc., Safeway Inc., Tyson Foods Inc. and some health-care facilities have been sued for gross negligence or wrongful death since the coronavirus pandemic began unfolding in March. Employees’ loved ones contend the companies failed to protect workers from the deadly virus and should compensate their family…

Read More

Categories
First human

First human trial of Oxford COVID-19 vaccine shows promise – Reuters

LONDON (Reuters) – An experimental vaccine being developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University against the new coronavirus produced an immune response in early-stage clinical trials, data showed on Monday, preserving hopes it could be in use by the end of the year.

The vaccine, called AZD1222, has been described by the World Health Organization’s chief scientist as the leading candidate in a global race to halt a pandemic that has killed more than 600,000 people.

More than 150 possible vaccines are in various stages of development, and U.S. drugmaker Pfizer and China’s CanSino Biologics also reported positive responses for their candidates on Monday.

The vaccine from AstraZeneca and Britain’s University of Oxford prompted no serious side effects and elicited antibody and T-cell immune responses, according to trial results published in The Lancet medical journal, with the strongest response seen in people who received two doses.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, whose government has helped fund the project, hailed the results as “very positive news” though the researchers cautioned the project was still at an early stage.

“There is still much work to be done before we can confirm if our vaccine will help manage the COVID-19 pandemic,” vaccine developer Sarah Gilbert said. “We still do not know how strong an immune response we need to provoke to effectively protect against SARS-CoV-2 infection.”

AstraZeneca shares surged 10%, but then gave up most of those gains, to close up 1.45% on the day.

AstraZeneca has signed agreements with governments around the world to supply the vaccine should it prove effective and gain regulatory approval. It has said it will not seek to profit from the vaccine during the pandemic.

AZD1222 was developed by Oxford and licensed to AstraZeneca, which has put it into large-scale, late-stage trials to test its efficacy. It has signed deals to produce and supply over 2 billion doses of the shot, with 300 million doses earmarked for the United States.

Pascal Soriot, Chief Executive of AstraZeneca, said the company was on track to be producing doses by September, but that hopes that it will be available this year hinged on how quickly late-stage trials could be completed, given the dwindling prevalence of the virus in Britain.

FILE PHOTO: An employee is seen at the Reference Center for Special Immunobiologicals (CRIE) of the Federal University of Sao Paulo (Unifesp) where the trials of the Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine are conducted, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, June 24, 2020. REUTERS/Amanda Perobelli

Late-stage trials are under way in Brazil and South Africa and are due to start in the United States, where prevalence is higher.

TARGETING TWO DOSES

The trial results showed a stronger immune response in 10 people given an extra dose of the vaccine after 28 days, echoing a trial in pigs.

Oxford’s Gilbert said the early-stage trial could not determine whether one or two doses would be needed to provide immunity.

“It may be that we don’t need two doses, but we want to know what we can achieve,” she told reporters.

AstraZeneca’s biopharma chief, Mene Pangalos, said the firm was leaning towards a two-dose strategy for later-stage trials, and did not want to risk a single or lower dose that might not work.

Slideshow (2 Images)

The antibody levels generated were “in the region” of those seen in convalescent patients, he said.

The trial included 1,077 healthy adults aged 18-55 years with no history of COVID-19. Researchers said the vaccine caused minor side effects more frequently than a control group, but some of these could be reduced by taking the painkiller paracetamol, which is also known as acetaminophen.

Reporting by Alistair Smout; additional reporting by Pushkala Aripaka and Kate Kelland; Editing by Edmund Blair, Mark Potter, Carmel Crimmins and Timothy Heritage

Read More

Categories
First Thoughts

First Thoughts from Inside the NBA Bubble: Retirements, awards and more – The Athletic

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Do you remember First Thoughts, from before when the world changed?

Well, here’s my practice version, a shaking the rust off, if you will, having not done them in more than four months. Nevermind the headline. You know the format. There is some good stuff in here on J.J. Redick, and Zion Williamson, and LeBron — you may have heard of them. Oh, and I break out of my hotel room Sunday, for the first time in seven days.

J.J. Redick is one of five 36-year-olds currently playing in the NBA. Only four (Vince Carter, 43; Udonis Haslem, 40; Kyle Korver, 39; Tyson Chandler, 37) are older than that, and one, Carter, has already said his career is over.

I asked Redick, who is in his 14th season and the first of a two-year, $26.5 million contract with the Pelicans, if the starting and stopping of NBA seasons caused by the novel coronavirus, and the uncertainty over the immediate future (next season, for instance) would impact…

Read More

Categories
Explained First

Explained: What is Hope, UAE’s first mission to Mars? – The Indian Express

By: Explained Desk | New Delhi |

Updated: July 16, 2020 7:01:36 am





The Emirates Mars Mission called “Hope” was announced in 2015 with the aim of creating mankind’s first integrated model of the Red planet’s atmosphere.

The launch of the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) first mission to Mars has been delayed by two days due to bad weather conditions. The UAE’s Hope spacecraft was scheduled to take off from its launch site, Tanegashima Space Center, in Japan on July 14. The mission is now scheduled for July 16 launch.

The spacecraft must blast off from the Earth during a brief launch window in July, since Earth and Mars orbit the Sun at different rates and are aligned at their closest points only once every two years.

What is the mission?

The Emirates Mars Mission called “Hope” was announced in 2015 with the aim of creating mankind’s first integrated model of the Red planet’s atmosphere.

Hope weighs over 1500 kg, and will carry scientific instruments mounted on one side of the spacecraft, including the Emirates eXploration Imager (EXI), which is a high-resolution camera, the Emirates Mars Ultraviolet Spectrometer (EMUS), a far-UV imaging spectrograph, the Emirates Mars InfraRed Spectrometer (EMIRS), and FTIR scanning spectrometer.

The spacecraft will orbit Mars to study the Martian atmosphere and its interaction with outer space and solar winds. Hope will collect data on Martian climate dynamics, which should help scientists understand why Mars’ atmosphere is decaying into space.

📣 Express Explained is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@ieexplained) and stay updated with the latest

Mars, NASA Maven spacecraft, electrically charged ionosphere,Mars atmosphere, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Comet siding spring, metal ion layers, meteor showers, Ion Mass Spectrometer instrument, metal ions, interplanetary dust, Solar system planets, Planet, Milky way, Galaxy, Universe,Science, Science news In 2015, MAVEN team members showed how the planet’s atmospheric gas is being lost to space.

In 2017, NASA’s MAVEN spacecraft revealed that solar wind and radiation had stripped the Martian atmosphere from the planet, which could have supported life billions of years ago. In 2015, MAVEN team members showed how the planet’s atmospheric gas is being lost to space. This meant that Mars’ atmosphere is too cold and thin to provide stability to liquid water, which is essential for life. But evidence, in the form of features resembling dry river beds and minerals that can only be formed in the presence of liquid water, indicates that the ancient Martian atmosphere was much warmer, allowing water to flow on its surface.

Therefore, scientists want to study the past environments that would have existed on Mars to understand how a planet’s habitability can change over time.

What does the mission plan to achieve?

Once it launches, Hope will orbit Mars for around 200 days, after which it will enter the Red planet’s orbit by 2021, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the founding of UAE. The mission is being executed by the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre, UAE’s space agency.

“It will help answer key questions about the global Martian atmosphere and the loss of hydrogen and oxygen gases into space over the span of one Martian year,” the mission’s website says.

The spacecraft will gather data– 1000 GBs of it, according to UAE’s Ministry of Cabinet Affairs–and information enabling scientists to build a model of Martian atmosphere, giving them clues about why the atmosphere changed, to search for a connection between current weather on Mars and the one that existed, study the loss mechanisms of Mars’ atmosphere and to investigate how the lower and upper levels of the planet’s atmosphere are connected.

Don’t miss from Explained | Azad Pattan: What is the PoK hydel project deal signed by Pakistan, China?

But why Mars?

It mostly boils down to the possibility that the atmosphere of Mars was once warm enough to allow water to flow through its surface, which could mean life existed there too.

What makes scientists curious about Mars is the “defining question” of the existence of life on the planet, because of the possible presence of liquid water on it, either in the past or preserved in its subsurface. This question makes the planet more intriguing for scientists since “almost everywhere we find water on Earth, we find life,” as NASA puts it.

Further, if Mars harboured a warmer atmosphere enabling water to flow in its ancient past (3.5-3.8 billion years ago), and if microbial life existed on it, it is possible that it exists in “special regions” even today. But regardless of life having existed on Mars or not, there is the idea that humans themselves might be able to inhabit the planet one day.

Hope is the Arab world’s first mission to Mars. Apart from the UAE, US, China and the European Space Agency have future missions to Mars planned. According to the Planetary Society, Mars has historically been “unfriendly” to Earth’s attempts to visit it and more missions have been planned to reach Mars than any other planet or place in the solar system, barring the Moon.

But 1996, the society notes, marked a Renaissance for Mars exploration, with data from four orbiters and four landed missions developing a revolutionary view of Mars as an Earth-like world.

NASA is set to launch its Perseverance rover, part of its Mars 2020 mission between July 30-August 15 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The rover will explore ancient habitability, seek signs of ancient life, gather rock and soil samples that could be returned to Earth and demonstrate technology for future robotic and human exploration.

Has any human set foot on Mars yet?

No human has set foot on Mars yet because the atmosphere on Mars is very thin, consisting of mostly carbon dioxide with no breathable oxygen, making it difficult for astronauts to survive there. Further, the landscape of Mars is freezing, with no protection from the Sun’s radiation or passing dust storms. Therefore, more research, technology and testing is required to be able to send humans to Mars. NASA plans to do so by the 2030s.

📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines

For all the latest Explained News, download Indian Express App.

© The Indian Express (P) Ltd

Read More

Categories
COVID First

First COVID-19 vaccine tested in US poised for final testing – KABC-TV

Early-stage testing showed the first COVID-19 vaccine tested in the U.S. revved up people’s immune systems the way scientists had hoped.

Researchers released the early findings Tuesday, just weeks before the shots are set to begin much larger testing to prove if they’re really strong enough to protect against the coronavirus.

The vaccine is made by the National Institutes of Health and Moderna Inc. It’s one of nearly two dozen possible COVID-19 vaccines in various stages of human testing around the world.

The first U.S. study was small, just 45 people, and researchers found more than half experienced brief, flu-like reactions to the shots. The next step: Recruiting 30,000 people for the final testing.

VIDEO: Here’s what goes into creating vaccine for COVID-19

Copyright © 2020 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

Read More

Categories
COVID First

First COVID-19 vaccine shows promise, produces anti-bodies – KRON4

(AP) – The first COVID-19 vaccine tested in the U.S. revved up people’s immune systems just the way scientists had hoped, researchers reported Tuesday — as the shots are poised to begin key final testing.

“No matter how you slice this, this is good news,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the U.S. government’s top infectious disease expert, told The Associated Press.

The experimental vaccine, developed by Fauci’s colleagues at the National Institutes of Health and Moderna Inc., will start its most important step around July 27: A 30,000-person study to prove if the shots really are strong enough to protect against the coronavirus.

But Tuesday, researchers reported anxiously awaited findings from the first 45 volunteers who rolled up their sleeves back in March. Sure enough, the vaccine provided a hoped-for immune boost.

Those early volunteers developed what are called neutralizing antibodies in their bloodstream — molecules key to blocking infection — at levels comparable to those found in people who survived COVID-19, the research team reported in the New England Journal of Medicine.

“This is an essential building block that is needed to move forward with the trials that could actually determine whether the vaccine does protect against infection,” said Dr. Lisa Jackson of the Kaiser Permanente Washington Research Institute in Seattle, who led the study.

There’s no guarantee but the government hopes to have results around the end of the year — record-setting speed for developing a vaccine.

The vaccine requires two doses, a month apart.

There were no serious side effects. But more than half the study participants reported flu-like reactions to the shots that aren’t uncommon with other vaccines — fatigue, headache, chills, fever and pain at the injection site. For three participants given the highest dose, those reactions were more severe; that dose isn’t being pursued.

Some of those reactions are similar to coronavirus symptoms but they’re temporary, lasting about a day and occur right after vaccination, researchers noted.

“Small price to pay for protection against COVID,” said Dr. William Schaffner of Vanderbilt University Medical Center, a vaccine expert who wasn’t involved with the study.

He called the early results “a good first step,” and is optimistic that final testing could deliver answers about whether it’s really safe and effective by the beginning of next year.

“It would be wonderful. But that assumes everything’s working right on schedule,” Schaffner cautioned.

And Tuesday’s results only included younger adults. The first-step testing later was expanded to include dozens of older adults, the age group most at risk from COVID-19. Those results aren’t public yet but regulators are evaluating them, and Fauci said final testing will include older adults, as well as people with chronic health conditions that make them more vulnerable to the virus — and Black and Latino populations likewise affected.

Nearly two dozen possible COVID-19 vaccines are in various stages of testing around the world. Candidates from China and Britain’s Oxford University also are entering final testing stages.

The 30,000-person study will mark the world’s largest study of a potential COVID-19 vaccine so far. And the NIH-developed shot isn’t the only one set for such massive U.S. testing, crucial to spot rare side effects. The government plans similar large studies of the Oxford candidate and another by Johnson & Johnson; separately, Pfizer Inc. is planning its own huge study.

Already, people can start signing up to volunteer for the different studies.

People think “this is a race for one winner. Me, I’m cheering every one of them on,” said Fauci, who directs NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

“We need multiple vaccines. We need vaccines for the world, not only for our own country.”

Around the world, governments are investing in stockpiles of hundreds of millions of doses of the different candidates, in hopes of speedily starting inoculations if any are proven to work.

Latest Stories:

Read More

Categories
First REACTS

First Take reacts to the Patriots’ $1.1M fine & lost 2021 draft pick for filming the Bengals – ESPN

First Take reacts to the Patriots’ $1.1M fine & lost 2021 draft pick for filming the Bengals – ESPN
Read More

Categories
Astronomers First

Astronomers see first light flare from two distant black holes colliding – The Verge

A whopping 7.5 billion light-years from Earth, two black holes, each about the size of Long Island, rapidly spun around each other several times per second before smashing together in a cataclysmic explosion that sent shockwaves through the Universe. Normally, violent unions like this are dark events, but astronomers think they saw a flare of light emerge from this celestial dance — potentially the first time light has ever been seen from black holes merging.

It’s a unique discovery since black holes are notorious for not producing any light at all. These super dense objects are so massive that nothing can escape their gravitational pull — not even light. So how exactly did researchers see a flare from two black holes that aren’t supposed to flare?

Well, the black holes may have just been in the right place at the right time, according to a new study published in the journal Physical Review Letters. When they spun together, they were located inside a giant disc of gas and dust. This disc of material spans light-years and actually surrounds a third black hole — a supermassive one at the center of a galaxy. Since the dueling black holes were inside this dusty environment, their spinning and eventual merger created something like a shock wave that slammed into the surrounding dirt and gas. That heated up the nearby material, causing it to glow brighter than normal — and allowing researchers from Earth to spot it.

“If it’s two black holes merging, you don’t expect to see anything,” Matt Graham, a research professor of astronomy at Caltech and lead author of the study, tells The Verge. “But because the black holes are surrounded by this stuff, by this accretion disc, that’s different.”

The researchers pinpointed this oddball event with the help of the LIGO-Virgo collaboration, an international scientific partnership that’s become increasingly skilled at detecting cataclysmic events like black holes merging. More specifically, LIGO and Virgo seek out tiny ripples in the fabric of the Universe, known as gravitational waves, that stem from distant celestial events. Whenever two massive objects in the faraway Universe merge, they create undulating waves in the fabric of space and time that travel outward at the speed of light. When they reach Earth, such ripples are very tiny, but LIGO’s two observatories in the US and Virgo’s observatory in Italy are just sensitive enough to pick them up.

LIGO made history in 2015 when the collaboration detected gravitational waves for the first time from two black holes merging. Since then, LIGO and now Virgo, which came online in 2017, have been beefing up their resumes, detecting a whole slew of mergers throughout the Universe, including those of black holes, neutron stars, and maybe even a black hole colliding with a neutron star. When neutron stars collide, the mergers can sometimes be picked up by observatories that measure their light, even though the objects are really faint. When black holes collide, it’s not something we can see — until perhaps now. “It’s a weird and wonderful event, and in fact we don’t know how rare they are,” Chiara Mingarelli, an assistant professor at the University of Connecticut studying gravitational waves, who was not involved in the study, tells The Verge.

One of LIGO’s observatories in Livingston, Louisiana.
Image: LIGO

To find this flare, Graham and his colleagues capitalized on LIGO’s triumph at finding mergers throughout space to help them solve a puzzle. Graham and his team study really active supermassive black holes in galaxies — known as quasars — and they’d been noticing a weird trend. Sometimes these quasars would flare unexpectedly, glowing super bright without warning, and they wanted to know why. “And we sort of said, ‘Well I wonder what happens if you had black holes in that environment?’” says Graham.

Two of Graham’s colleagues, Saavik Ford and Barry McKernan, put out a paper theorizing that black holes merging in these gaseous discs could cause the mysterious flare-ups. “The idea that there might be black holes in the centers of galaxies, very nearby a supermassive black hole, is actually pretty uncontroversial,” Ford tells The Verge, adding, “[We] sat down to think about what the consequences of that might be, and we started to flesh out a theory that we’ve been pursuing for the last decade.”

They then decided to put that theory to the test. In 2019, LIGO did a third observational run, scanning for a new crop of mergers in space. Meanwhile, Graham and colleagues were working at Caltech’s Zwicky Transient Facility, which performs a survey of the entire night sky, looking for odd behavior — like flares in distant galaxies. The astronomers decided to wait about six months after LIGO’s observations had ended to see how many mergers the collaboration detected. They then tried to match up those mergers with the flares they had detected with ZTF, to see if any of them corresponded.

Once they got all the potential mergers from LIGO and Virgo, it was just a matter of narrowing everything down. They matched up all the flares they had seen with ZTF to the mergers LIGO had spotted, making sure they matched the right part of the sky, at the right distance from Earth. The team also looked at timing; they predicted that a flare caused by a merger would occur about 60 to 100 days after the collision took place, as it would take time for things to heat up and cause that glow. They then made sure the flares they found matched the right profile they expected, and it didn’t look like they’d been caused by an exploding star or some other explanation.

That ultimately led Graham and his team to the black hole merger they found. And actually finding something they’d theorized about was pretty exciting. “It’s the sort of thing that you dream about as a scientist,” says Ford, “to say, ‘I think the universe is going to do that. I’m going to call my shot.’ And have the Universe go, ‘Yeah, here you go!’”

Though, things still aren’t totally confirmed just yet. The black hole merger detected by LIGO-Virgo is still just a candidate; it hasn’t been officially named as a merger, and LIGO hasn’t released detailed data about the detection. But the good news is Graham’s team might get extra verification in the future that the flare they recorded did indeed come from swirling black holes. When the black holes merged, it’s likely the resulting black hole that was formed got kicked out of the surrounding dusty disc. However, that hole is still orbiting around the supermassive black hole at the center of the galaxy, and it’s probably going to cross paths with the hot disc of gas in a year or two, heating up the material and causing another bright flare. So if the team sees another brightening in the same galaxy, they’ll be pretty certain their findings were correct.

When that happens, the measurement of the flare could help the team learn more about this galaxy and better constrain just how massive the supermassive black hole is at the center. “It will actually allow us to directly probe these disks around supermassive black holes in ways that we that we couldn’t do before,” says Mingarelli.

This discovery also gives astronomers another clue about how some faraway galaxies form. It tells them that there may be strange objects doing strange things in the discs that surround supermassive black holes. “It’s not just a large gas disc falling into a supermassive black hole,” says Graham. “You’ve got stars and black holes in there doing things as well.”

Plus, this bizarre dance of black holes inside a giant gaseous disc may be the only way we can actually “see” black holes merging in deep space. And that’s even more information that researchers can use to study the cosmos. “We actually now have this probe, both from the electromagnetic signature, and the gravitational wave — both of which provide information,” says Ford. “It’s a brand new, totally different tool for studying how galaxies got to be the way they are.”

Read More

Categories
First Photos

The first photos of Tom Brady in his Buccaneers uniform are here and they’re as jarring as you’d expect – CNN

(CNN)Patriot fans, you may want to look away.

Tom Brady, the former beloved quarterback of the New England team, has officially traded in the Patriots blue and white for his new colors of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
On Tuesday, the Buccaneers unveiled the first photos of Brady in his new uniform. And because one photo wasn’t enough to rub it into New England’s face, the football team revealed a total of 41 pictures — of Brady in his away and home uniforms in many different poses.
The six-time Super Bowl winner, who spent 20 seasons with the Patriots, signed with the Buccaneers back in March.
“Excited, humble and hungry … if there is one thing I have learned about football, it’s that nobody cares what you did last year or the year before that …you earn the trust and respect of those around through your commitment every single day,” the 42-year-old quarterback wrote on Instagram at the time. “I’m starting a new football journey and thankful for the Buccaneers for giving me an opportunity to do what I love to do.”
Buccaneer fans and Brady’s new teammates shared their excitement at the sight of him in the uniform.
“Grew up a @TomBrady fan! Now I actually get to be his teammate! Just hold your side down bro, I got the D Block,” linebacker Devin White tweeted.
But Patriots’ fans were obviously upset at the fresh reminder that they were losing the six-time Super Bowl winner who is widely regarded as the greatest NFL quarterback in history.
“I refuse to accept Tom Brady in any other uniform. I’m delusional and I don’t care,” one Patriots fan tweeted.
The first time the world will get to see Brady donning his new threads in a game setting is on August 14 when the Bucs go against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the preseason opener. The Bucs’ first prime-time appearance will be against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on October 8.

Read More