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NASA telescopes capture birth of black hole or neutron star

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NASA Black Hole
Photo Credit- The Pioneer

Washington, Jan 11: An international team of astronomers, using NASA telescopes, have captured the first ever image of a star that collapsed to form a compact object, and are debating whether it is a black hole or a neutron star.

NASA’s Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Last Alert System telescope in Hawaii
picked up a brief and unusual burst in the night sky on June 16, 2018, the US space agency said in a statement.

The celestial outburst — called AT2018cow and nicknamed “the Cow” — occurred inside or near a star-forming galaxy known as CGCG 137-068, located about 200 million light-years away in the constellation Hercules.

For over three days, the Cow produced a sudden explosion of light at least 10 times brighter than a typical supernova, and then it faded over the next few months, NASA said.

The stellar debris, approaching and swirling around the object’s event horizon, caused the remarkably bright glow.

Using data from multiple NASA missions, including the Neil Gehrels Swift Observatory and the Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR), a team of scientists speculate that the Cow is a monster black hole shredding a passing star.

In a paper forthcoming in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, they say that the shredded star was a white dwarf – a hot, roughly Earth-sized stellar remnant marking the final state of stars like our Sun.

“The Cow produced a large cloud of debris in a very short time,” said Paul Kuin, an astrophysicist at University College London (UCL).

“Shredding a bigger star to produce a cloud like this would take a bigger black hole, result in a slower brightness increase and take longer for the debris to be consumed.”

Another team of scientists, analysing data from multiple observatories, including NASA’s NuSTAR, ESA’s (the European Space Agency’s) XMM-Newton and INTEGRAL satellites, and the National Science Foundation’s Very Large Array, claimed that it is a supernova — a stellar explosion — could be the source of the Cow.

“We saw features in the Cow that we have never seen before in a transient, or rapidly changing object,” said Raffaella Margutti, an astrophysicist at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.

In the study, forthcoming in The Astrophysical Journal, they propose that the bright optical and ultraviolet flash from the Cow signalled a supernova and that the X-ray emissions that followed shortly after the outburst arose from gas radiating energy as it fell onto a compact object.

IANS

India

Enterprises must be prepared for mega cyber attacks: Check Point CEO

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global cyber-attack

Bangkok, Jan 22 : The world is on the brink of facing mega cyber attacks and the enterprises need to be prepared more than ever before, a top executive of Israel-based cybersecurity solution provider Check Point Software Technologies said here on Tuesday.

“Large-scale and fast-moving across mobile, Cloud and on premise networks, 5th Generation cyber attacks have increased over the past year, impacting more companies than ever before,” Gil Shwed, Check Point Founder and CEO, said in his keynote address during the company’s annual event here.

Cyber attacks and data fraud or theft were listed in the top five of the World Economic Forum’s 14th edition of “Global Risks Report 2019”.

“This is indicative of the fact that how much cyber risks have intensified, particularly in 2017 — both in their prevalence and disruptive potential,” noted Shwed.

According to him, most companies focus particularly on detecting the fraud. By the time a cyber attack is detected, which, according to the industry standard, is 5-6 months, the damage is already done.

“A good malware can breach critical data in a matter of minutes and shut down the networks in seconds. The need is to be future-ready and protect before the advent of such an event,” Shwed emphasised.

Most enterprises today are generally protected for only Gen 2 and Gen 3 viruses.

“They need to close the security ‘generation gap’ by deploying infrastructures which combine real-time threat prevention, shared intelligence and the most-advanced security across all enterprise environments.

Shwed also unveiled “Maestro”, an industry-first hyperscale network security solution.

“Maestro” is a new architecture that enables businesses of any size enjoy the power of flexible Cloud-level security platforms and seamlessly expand their existing security gateways to hyperscale capacity.

Shwed also introduced “Nano Security” — Gen VI of cyber security which can be embedded on every device, web or Cloud service, applications and network, to protect the hyper-connected, hyperscale world.

The three-day “CPX360” event is aimed at addressing most-pressing cyber security challenges and helping organisations of all sizes develop strategies to prevent cyber threats and sophisticated hackers impacting their business.

(Rachel V. Thomas is in Bangkok at the invitation of Check Point Software Technologies. She can be contacted at [email protected])

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India

India to issue chip-based e-passport: Modi

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Indian Passport

Varanasi, Jan 22 : Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said work is on to issue chip-based e-passports to Indian citizens under a centralized passport system.

“Our embassies and consulates are being connected to the Passport Seva Project worldwide,” he said addressing the inaugural ceremony of Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) 2019 here.

“This will prepare a centralized system connected to the passport service for all of you,” he added. “Going one step ahead, work is on for issuing of the chip-based e-passport.”

He also said that work was on to simplify the process of issuing visas to PIO (Person of Indian Origin) and OCI (Overseas Citizen of India) cards.

The government’s endeavour was to see to it that Indians were happy and safe wherever they live abroad, he said.

“In the last four-and-a-half years, more than two lakh Indians stranded in crisis situations abroad have been helped by the government and its efforts,” he said.

Modi’s Mauritius counterpart Pravind Jugnauth, the chief guest at the event, commended India’s efforts in reaching out to the diaspora.

Earlier, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj welcomed the gathering.

Organised by the External Affairs Ministry and the Uttar Pradesh government, the Indian diaspora conclave this year has over 5,000 delegates registered.

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Madhavan’s painfully long transformation for ‘Rocketry…’

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ROCKETRY - THE NAMBI EFFECT

Mumbai, Jan 22 : Actor R. Madhavan says getting the look of scientist and aerospace engineer S. Nambi Narayanan for “Rocketry – The Nambi Effect” was a “painfully long” process.

“The process took painfully long…about 2 days of sitting on a chair for 14 hours at a stretch,” Madhavan said in a statement.

“Initially it looked easy but later I realised how tough it was on the body,” he added.

The actor says getting the look right is “definitely half the battle won”.

“But the other half was really really tough because the age group I’m playing is around 70-75. Mr. Nambi is a very good-looking man and he has got his own charm and charisma so it took me around two-and-a-half years to actually imbibe him and learn how to walk like him.It wasn’t easy and it’s probably one of the toughest looks and characters I’ve had to pull off”.

The film is based on the life of the scientist. As a senior official at the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), Narayanan was in-charge of the cryogenics division. In 1994, he was charged with espionage and arrested. The charges against him were dismissed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in 1996 and the Supreme Court declared him not guilty in 1998.

Madhavan has got the look right, and the actor says the biggest encouragement came from Narayanan himself.

“Nambi sir couldn’t stop laughing and getting amused by my look. There are so many pictures on the set that it looks almost eeriely how similar we both look.”

The film is slated for a release later this year.

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