It’s the second meteor shower of 2018.
Here’s what you need to know about the Lyrid meteor shower and how to watch the celestial spectacle:
What are Lyrids?
The Lyrid meteors are named after their radiant, defined as the point in the sky from which they appear to come from, the constellation Lyra.
According to NASA, Lyrids are one of the oldest known meteor showers and have been observed for 2,700 years. The first recorded sighting of a Lyrid meteor shower dates back to 687 BC by the Chinese.
What causes the meteor shower?
The meteors’ particles come from comet C/1861 G1 Thatcher, named after A. E. Thatcher, who first discovered it on April 5, 1861.
The Lyrids occur as the comet passes Earth and leaves behind “a trail of comet crumbs” or space debris.
What’s the difference between a meteoroid, a meteor and a meteorite?
Bill Cooke, head of NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office, told Space.com that a meteoroid is essentially space debris. For example, the “crumbs” left behind from Halley’s Comet trail are meteoroids.
These “crumbs” can also be left behind by asteroids, such as the 3200 Phaethon.
Once the meteoroids enter Earth’s atmosphere, they become meteors, or shooting stars.
Though most meteors disintegrate before hitting the ground, meteors that do strike the surface of the planet are called meteorites, Cooke said.
When will the Lyrid meteor shower peak?
The Lyrids are expected to illuminate the night sky between April 16 and April 25, but the shower will peak on the morning of Sunday, April 22. According to NASA, the shower will be active April 21-22.
How many meteors will I see?
With no moon in the sky, stargazers typically notice about 10 to 20 Lyrid meteors per hour.
Cooke told Space.com that this year, you’re likely to see about 18 meteors per hour.
But in the past, people have reported that they experienced as many as 100 meteors per hour during the Lyrids.
How bright will the meteors be?
The Lyrid meteor shower is known for its bright fireballs, but isn’t as luminous as August’s famous Perseid meteor shower.
What is the best time to see the meteors?
According to NASA, the Lyrids are viewed best in the Northern Hemisphere after the moon sets and before dawn.
Where can I watch the meteor shower?
Clear skies are essential for prime meteor shower viewing. Skyglow, the light pollution caused by localized street lights, will block out the stars and negatively affect your viewing experience, so head somewhere far from city lights.
NASA recommends viewers lie flat on their back, with their feet facing south, looking up at the sky. Viewers should give themselves 30 minutes for their eyes to adapt to the environment and bring warm clothing, a sleeping bag, blanket or lawn chair and leave telescopes at home.
A new study debunks the idea that old age causes people to lose the ability to grow new brain cells, New Scientist reported. Healthy people in their 70s seem to generate just as many new neurons as teenagers, the study reveals.
The new findings give a positive snapshot of the healthy aging brain, researchers said.
"It's good news that these cells are there in older adults' brains," lead researcher Dr. Maura Boldrini, an associate professor at Columbia University in New York City, told CBS News.
The study was published online April 5 in the journal “Cell Stem Cell.”
It's not clear if new brain cells would function the same way as younger adult brain cells do, said Dr. Ezriel Kornel, an assistant clinical professor of neurosurgery at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City.
Kornel, who was not involved in the study, told CBS News the findings offer a "hopeful" message.
"Even as we age," he said, "we still have the capability of producing new neurons."
Boldrini’s team examined brain tissue from 28 people between the ages of 14 and 79 who had died suddenly, but had previously been healthy, CBS News reported.
According to the study, older and younger brains had similar numbers of "intermediate" progenitor cells and "immature" neurons -- a sign that older people had the same ability to generate new cells as young people, CBS News reported.
A woman from Washington state claims that an Ancestry.com DNA test identified her parents' fertility doctor as her biological father.
USA Today reported that Kelli Rowlette, 36, of Benton County, initially believed that Ancestry had botched her DNA test last July when Gerald Mortimer, someone she had never met, was identified as her father, according to a lawsuit she filed last week in Idaho.
According to the lawsuit, Rowlette's now-divorced parents, Sally Ashby and Howard Fowler, lived in Idaho when they started seeing Mortimer, then a doctor with the Obstetrics and Gynecology Associates of Idaho Falls, in 1979, USA Today reported. Mortimer suggested the couple, who faced fertility struggles while trying to conceive, try artificial insemination using an "85 percent mixture of [Fowler's] genetic material, and 15 percent of the mixture would be from anonymous donor," the lawsuit says, according to CBS News.
According to the Washington Post, although "the couple requested a donor who was in college and taller than 6 feet with brown hair and blue eyes," the lawsuit alleges that Mortimer, who didn't fit that description, used his own "genetic material" instead without telling them.
After Rowlette got her test results, she said she complained to her mother, who later examined the results and recognized the name of her former fertility doctor. Ashby told Fowler the news, and the pair grappled with whether to tell Rowlette who Mortimer was, the lawsuit says. Three months later, Rowlette found Mortimer named as her delivery doctor on her birth certificate, the lawsuit says.
The lawsuit accuses Mortimer and his former practice of "medical negligence, fraud, battery, negligent infliction of emotional distress, and breach of contract," the Washington Post reported.
From the Sydney Opera House to Paris' Eiffel Tower, landmarks around the world went dark Saturday night for Earth Hour.
The "symbolic lights-out event," which began in Sydney in 2007, is designed to raise awareness about climate change, according to the World Wildlife Fund.
A space enthusiast from Texas believes photographs taken by a NASA rover reveal an “alien skeleton” on Mars, KTRK reported.
A person from Waxahachie said a group of what looks like rocks is actually the skull and spine of a possible Martian.
The person filed a report with the Mutual UFO Network, which investigates UFO sightings in the United States and beyond, KTRK reported.
According to the report, the alleged skeleton was photographed by the Opportunity rover on Feb. 1 in Perseverance Valley on the west rim of Mars' Endeavour Crater.
The person who submitted the report to the UFO Network said a 3-D image revealed the bone detail of a spine, KTRK reported.
A safe and effective birth control pill for men is one step closer to becoming a reality.
That’s according to new research presented this week at ENDO 2018, the Endocrine Society's 100th annual meeting in Chicago, which found that the new pill, called dimethandrolone undecanoate (or DMAU), successfully reduced testosterone and other hormone levels responsible for sperm production without causing major side effects.
"People have been working on male hormonal contraception for 40 to 50 years," Dr. Stephanie Page, an endocrinologist at the University of Washington School of Medicine and lead author of the study, told CNN. "There are ways of delivering male contraceptives with long-acting implants and injections, but men are interested in having an oral pill available, and the work we presented here is a step forward."
For the study, researchers carried out a trial with 83 men, aged 18 to 50. Each man was randomly assigned to either one of three treatment groups, or a control group. The treatment groups received varying doses (100, 200 and 400 milligrams) of the drug, and the control group took a placebo.
After 28 days, the men taking the drug saw a significant reduction in testosterone. In fact, their testosterone levels dropped to "castrate levels" with all three doses. The group receiving 400 mg, the highest dose of the drug, also saw a significant reduction in LH and FSH, hormones that work to regulate sperm and testosterone production by the testes.
"Normal testosterone in a man is anywhere from 350 to 1,100 nanograms per deciliter," Dr. Seth Cohen, an assistant professor of urology at NYU Langone Health, who was not involved in the study, told CNN. "And they got these guys down to 13 nanograms per deciliter."
But the study did have its limitations. Considering the relatively small sample size, more trials need to be undertaken to fully understand the effects of the drug. Nine of the participants in the study experienced a major decrease in libido, or sex drive, as well.
"When you put that on a large, multimillion-person basis, you have a huge portion of men running around with very low libido," Cohen said.
Nonetheless, Page remains confident that the drug appears safe for men, allowing them to maintain all important male characteristics.
"The brain, which is important in sex drive, maintain muscle, all of those important male characteristics are maintained by the hormone that we're giving the men," she told CBS News. "The very important point here is that despite having those low levels of testosterone, the steroid that is given in this prototyped male pill provides the androgen activity in the man in all the other parts of their body."
Page also stressed that there needs to be more birth control options available to men.
"The important next step is to show that this does, in fact, suppress the production of sperm, and that requires at least a three-month study, which we're going to be undertaking starting next month," Page said. "After that, we'll need longer-term studies to look in detail about fine-tuning any potential side effects and ultimately doing a study in couples that actually demonstrates that it works in a real-world use."
This isn't the first time that researchers have attempted to develop an effective male birth control method. A study published in 2016 revealed that men can take hormone injections to prevent pregnancy in their partners with nearly the same success rate that women have with the pill. However, the shot caused a variety of negative side-effects – including depression, acne and lowered sex drive.
Need a way to hold on to your memories forever? One startup is offering a special, but fatal, procedure to help you keep your brain active.
Researchers at Nectome, a medical company founded by MIT graduates, have discovered a way to maintain brain functionality after death with high-tech embalming, a process used to prevent a body from decay.
“Our mission is to preserve your brain well enough to keep all its memories intact: from that great chapter of your favorite book to the feeling of cold winter air, baking an apple pie, or having dinner with your friends and family,” co-founders Robert McIntyre and Michael McCanna wrote on the business’ website.
They will target patients suffering from terminal illnesses. The individuals will be sedated, connected to heart and lung machines, and injected with the embalming chemicals while they are alive.
The procedure is “100 percent fatal,” the founders warned, but the solution “can keep a body intact for hundreds of years, maybe thousands, as a statue of frozen glass.”
The analysts believe their investigations will help future scientists “recreate consciousness” and retrieve information from the brain’s molecular details.
“You can think of what we do as a fancy form of embalming that preserves not just the outer details but the inner details,” McIntyre told MIT Technology Review.
“If the brain is dead, it’s like your computer is off, but that doesn’t mean the information isn’t there,” added Ken Hayworth, a neuroscientist and president of the Brain Preservation Foundation -- the organization that awarded McIntyre for his recent work on preserving the pig brain.
The surgery is not yet available to the public as they are still unsure if the memories will be found in the dead tissues. However, they are inviting prospective customers to join a wait list for a $10,000 deposit, which is fully refundable. So far, 25 people have signed up.
“When a generation of people die, we lose all their collective wisdom. You can transmit knowledge to the next generation, but it’s harder to transmit wisdom, which is learned,” McIntyre said. “That was fine for a while, but we get more powerful every generation. The sheer immense potential of what we can do increases, but the wisdom does not.”
A trip to space would be a life-changing experience. But scientists didn’t realize how much it changes astronauts when it comes to the building blocks of life.
Scott Kelly was in space from March 2015 to March 2016, Newsweek reported.
His identical twin brother Mark kept his feet firmly planted on Earth.
The two men were identical, down to their cellular level, before the trip, but that can’t be said now.
Scott now differs from Mark when it comes to their DNA.
Getting into the science specifics.
Scientists looked at the spaceman’s metabolites, cytokines and proteins before and after his voyage. They said the mission caused Scott’s “space genes” to switch on, and they didn’t turn off after he returned to Earth. The experts believe they were turned on because of the stress of space travel, KTLA reported.
NASA said in the study that Scott’s cells showed changes in the length of telomeres, the ends of chromosomes that show biological aging. They were lengthened while he was in space, but they returned to almost normal days after he landed. There was also damage to his DNA that was caused by radiation and the restriction on his calories. His collagen, blood clotting and bone formation also changed and because of zero gravity and fluid shifts.
Kelly’s year-long trip in space was a precursor to planned three-year missions to Mars. Scientists needed to test how space missions that are longer than what is currently done impacts astronauts, KTLA reported.
Click here to read NASA’s study.
Stephen Hawking, the renowned British physicist, professor, author and pop culture icon, died Wednesday at age 76.
Hawking, whose life was chronicled in the 2014 film "The Theory of Everything," had battled amyotrophic lateral sclerosis – aka ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease – for more than five decades.
Scientists, public figures and celebrities, including astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson and pop singer Katy Perry, flocked to social media to pay tribute to Hawking. Here's what they had to say:
World-renowned physicist and pop culture icon Stephen Hawking not only had a brilliant scientific mind but also a way with words. Here are nine memorable quotes from Hawking, who died Wednesday at age 76:
1. "Life would be tragic if it weren't funny."
– New York Times interview, 2004
2. "So next time someone complains that you have made a mistake, tell him that may be a good thing. Because without imperfection, neither you nor I would exist."
3. "People who boast about their IQ are losers."
– New York Times interview, 2004
4. "Mankind's greatest achievements have come about by talking, and its greatest failures by not talking."
– British Telecom ad, 1993
5. "Women. They are a complete mystery."
– New Scientist interview, 2012
6. "However bad life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at. While there's life, there is hope."
– Hong Kong press conference, 2006
7. "I have noticed that even people who claim everything is predetermined and that we can do nothing to change it, look before they cross the road."
8. "We only have to look at ourselves to see how intelligent life might develop into something we wouldn't want to meet."
9. "My goal is simple. It is a complete understanding of the universe, why it is as it is and why it exists at all."
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