Within the Realm of a Dying Star NASA – The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has been on the forefront of research into the lives of stars like our sun. At the ends of their lives, these stars run out of nuclear fuel in a phase that is called the preplanetary or protoplanetary nebula stage. This Hubble image of the Egg Nebula shows one of the best views to date of this brief, but dramatic, phase in a star’s life.
During the preplanetary nebula phase, the hot remains of an aging star in the center of the nebula heat it up, excite the gas and make it glow over several thousand years. The short lifespan of preplanetary nebulae means there are relatively few of them in existence at any one time. Moreover, they are very dim, requiring powerful telescopes to be seen. This combination of rarity and faintness means they were only discovered comparatively recently. The Egg Nebula, the first to be discovered, was first spotted less than 40 years ago, and many aspects of this class of object remain shrouded in mystery.
At the center of this image, and hidden in a thick cloud of dust, is the nebula’s central star. While scientists can’t see the star directly, four searchlight beams of light coming from it shine out through the nebula. Researchers hypothesize that ring-shaped holes in the thick cocoon of dust, carved by jets coming from the star, let the beams of light emerge through the otherwise opaque cloud. The precise mechanism by which stellar jets produce these holes is not known, but one explanation is that a binary star system, rather than a single star, exists at the center of the nebula.
The onion-like layered structure of the more diffuse cloud surrounding the central cocoon is caused by periodic bursts of material being ejected from the dying star. The bursts typically occur every few hundred years.
By Richard W. Stevenson – To many Republicans, Europe today represents what will happen to the United States if it does not act now to rein in spending, cut taxes and free businesses from many of the costs of regulation.
“What we’re seeing here is what happens when politicians make so many empty promises to their citizens, and then they turn into broken promises when they can’t keep spending other people’s money,” said RepresentativePaul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, the Republican chairman of the House Budget Committee.
The United States, unlike, Europe, faces little immediate pressure from financial markets and has the ability to operate its fiscal and monetary policy in tandem, while European governments gave up direct national control of monetary policy when they agreed to adopt a common currency. more> http://is.gd/oaeMFC
By Michael Sivy – Quite simply, in most of the countries that make up the euro zone, there is no longer a substantial majority willing to make the sacrifices needed to keep the euro currency system together. This has always been true to some extent. Commentators have long talked about the euro zone’s “democratic deficit,”meaning Europe’s economic system is largely the creation of powerful political and business interests and lacks transparency, accountability and a broad popular mandate. But up until now, support by the elites has been more than sufficient to keep the system intact.
Over the next few weeks, however, the elites are likely to start losing their grip. A number of key European countries are facing elections, and the political parties that support the euro are expected to fare badly. In the most financially troubled European countries, popular resistance to austerity policies is mounting. At the same time, in those countries that are still financially stable, the electorate is growing increasingly unwilling to keep doling out money to keep the weaker countries from insolvency. more> http://is.gd/z46Q9E
By Ian Verrender – [Australia] Telstra’s management has struck a clever deal, one that largely insulates the company from any change of plan to the NBN rollout.
The $11 billion deal is comprised of three main payments. The first is $5 billion for a 30-year lease over Telstra’s fixed-line infrastructure. Thanks to some clever negotiations by Telstra’s Tony Warren, the company receives that money even if the network is not built.
The second component is $4 billion, which it only receives as it switches customers over to the NBN. But again, there is a clever clause that protects the company. Customers who want to maintain their old service will continue to pay Telstra for the privilege.