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Interesting Headlines of April 2009
Posted In: Other Exciting News  4/29/09
By: Yona Williams

Researchers have announced that a newly discovered primordial blob may shed light on the most intense object connected to the early universe. In this article, you will learn more about the mystery blob in the sky, as well as a great find uncovered in the grave of a rich Londoner.

Mystery Blob in the Sky

Located 12.9 billion light-years away, a gas cloud could answer questions that researchers have about the formation of the galaxy when it was undergoing its earliest stages of development – all when the universe was only 800 million years old. Masami Ouchi – a researcher working at the Carnegie Institution in Pasadena, California, gives a record-breaking seal of approval for the discovery. To date, no other objects have been found at this distance.

If you were wondering just how to gauge a light-year, you should know that it is the distance light travels in a year – roughly 6 trillion miles (or 10 trillion kilometers). When an object is set at 12.9 billion light-years away, it appears as it was 12.9 billion years ago, but its light is only just now visible to us. The cloud is dated before similar blobs and is known as Lyman-Alpha blobs, and existed when the universe was 2 billion to 3 billion years old.

This new blob has been given the name Himiko, paying homage to an ancient Japanese queen. An interesting feature associated with Himiko is that it holds more than 10 times as much mass as the next largest object found in early dated parts of the universe. This mass is equivalent to 40 billion suns. Measuring 55,000 light years across, it takes up ½ the diameter of the Milky Way Galaxy.

Researchers get a kick out of studying Lyman-Alpha blobs because they give us a glimpse into the past, as far as the universe is concerned. Understanding the ins and outs of the early universe is a complicated process and whenever any shred of evidence pops up, researchers are most interested in seeing how it will unfold to unlock the secrets of the past.

Rare Dish Found

It's always exciting when something rare and unusual emerges during an archeological excavation. Uncovered about the remains of a wealthy Roman Londoner, a rare millefiori dish has been found and put back together. An archaeology conservator at the Museum of London mentioned that it is quite uncommon to get a chance to work with an entire artifact.

The final product was pieced together from a collection of fragments, but in the end – you can see hundreds of translucent blue indented glass petals that are bordered with white embedded, set in a bright red glass background. Since the dish was made with great detail, it was probably quite valuable in its day. Experts in glasswares say that it is the first occasion that a complete dish has ever been located outside eastern Rome.

The dish was once part of the excavations in Prescot Street, in Aldgate (East London), where other ceramic and glass vessels were found along the sides of the casket.  The dish has now been put on display at the Museum of London in Docklands. If you were wondering what exactly what 'millefiori' means, it stands for 1,000 flowers, which is a glass-working technique that uses glass rods with multi-hued patterns that only become visible at the cut ends.


 

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