10-Year-Old Girl Discovers Supernova

Supernova 2010lt discovered by Kathryn Aurora Gray. Image credit: Dave Lane

By Nancy Atkinson on January 3, 2011:

10-Year-Old Girl Discovers a Supernova

A ten-year old girl from Canada has discovered a supernova, making her the youngest person ever to find a stellar explosion. The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada announced the discovery by Kathryn Aurora Gray of Fredericton, New Brunswick, (wonderful middle name!) who was assisted by astronomers Paul Gray and David Lane.

Supernova 2010lt is a magnitude 17 supernova in galaxy UGC 3378 in the constellation of Camelopardalis, as reported on IAU Electronic Telegram 2618. The galaxy was imaged on New Year’s Eve 2010, and the supernova was discovered on January 2, 2011 by Kathryn and her father Paul.

See also here.

Brightest supernovae are in a class of their own: here.

Most Distant Supernova May Shed Light on Dark Energy: here.


Sea lampreys feed on whales

This is a sea lamprey video.

From the BBC:

Monday, 3 January 2011

Blood-sucking fish feed on whales

By Ella Davies
Earth News reporter

Blood-sucking sea lampreys feed on prey as big as minke whales, according to new research.

Scientists studying whales in Canada have challenged previous theories that lampreys attach to whales purely to “hitch a ride”.

Photographs show bloody lesions after lampreys detached from whale hosts, indicating feeding.

Sea lampreys are parasitic fish that feed on others’ blood, attaching to the skin with a suction-cup like mouth.

Sea lampreys (Petromyzon marinus) are known to feed on a wide variety of fish using a funnel-like mouth filled with teeth and a razor-like tongue.

In the past lamprey teeth-marks have been identified on whale and porpoise bodies.

Sea lampreys have also been photographed attached to Pacific humpback and North Atlantic right whales.

Based on these rare glimpses, certain scientists theorised that sea lampreys feed on cetaceans, but it was not possible from this evidence to say conclusively that they were drawing blood.

Others in the scientific community argued that P. marinus could merely be using cetaceans for transport, biting into their flesh in order to travel long distances.

However, during studies in the St Lawrence estuary, where the Great Lakes enter the Atlantic Ocean in eastern Canada, researchers resolved the debate.

The long-term study of minke whales in the area provided the first ongoing observations of sea lamprey and whale interaction.

Their findings were published in the Journal of Fish Biology. …


They are sometimes called ‘lamprey eels’ because adults are similarly long and lack scales

Sea lampreys secrete an anticoagulant from their mouths to stop prey’s blood from clotting

Humpback whale in the North Sea: here.

Ireland: A whale watching trip with Martin Colfer on the Rebecca C from Dunmore East 9th January produces the first inshore humpback whale sighting of 2011.

Whale evolution: here.

Antarctic minke whales are mating with Arctic cousins, DNA shows: here.

Lampreys give clues to evolution of immune system: here.

A repellant for sea lampreys could be the key to better controlling one of the most destructive invasive species in the Great Lakes, says a Michigan State University researcher: here.

‘Vampire’ sea lampreys heat up for sex: here.

Field study suggests that sex determination in sea lamprey is directly influenced by larval growth rate: here.