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How the Mammoth Got its Wool: Genetic changes are identified that helped the woolly mammoth survive in the Arctic
How the Mammoth Got its Wool: Genetic changes are identified that helped the woolly mammoth survive in the Arctic 02 July 2015Evolutionary change in a gene resurrected in the lab from the extinct woolly mammoth altered the gene's temperature sensitivity and likely was part of a suite of adaptations that allowed the mammoth to survive in harsh arctic environments, according to new research. In a study published in Cell Reports on July 2, 2015, researchers determined the whole-genome sequence of two woolly mammoths and three modern Asian elephants, predicted the function of genetic changes found only in the mammoths, and then experimentally validated the function of a woolly mammoth gene reconstructed in the lab. The research team includes scientists from Penn State University, Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, and the University of Chicago.
Black hole, quiet since 1989, now caught burping a rare X-ray flare
Black hole, quiet since 1989, now caught burping a rare X-ray flare 30 June 2015A NASA satellite controlled by Penn State University has detected a brief, super-bright, high-energy flare -- an X-ray nova -- erupting from a star system 8,000 light-years away from Earth named V404 Cygni. This system is in the constellation Cygnus and includes a black hole and a star just slightly smaller than the Sun. This black hole has been known to burp up an X-ray nova occasionally, but it had been slumbering since 1989 until the detection by NASA's Swift Gamma-ray Burst Explorer on June 15, just before 2:32 p.m. EDT. About 10 minutes after the detection by Swift, the Japanese " MAXI" experiment (Monitor of All-sky X-ray Image) on the International Space Station also picked up the flare.
Lord of the Rings: Astronomers Pinpoint the Location of a Mysterious Neutron Star with Superlative Rings of X-ray Light
Lord of the Rings: Astronomers Pinpoint the Location  of a Mysterious Neutron Star with Superlative  Rings of X-ray Light 23 June 2015The largest and brightest set of cosmic rings resulting from echoes of X-ray light has been discovered by a science team that includes a Penn State astronomer. The team used NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory to discover the beautiful and extraordinary rings, which were produced by an intense burst of energy from a neutron star. Rings of this type give astronomers a rare chance to determine the distance from Earth to an object in our Milky Way Galaxy.

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