And no, we’re not talking of antipodean sports in the outback.
One of the more interesting science finds in 2010 was the discovery of a bushcricket species with testicles that account for up to 14% of its body weight. A real ball-buster in the animal kingdom. Tricky landing I
Karim Vahed of the University of Derby and his team began their studies by measuring the testicle size of 21 species of bushcrickets (also known as katydids).Now there’s a job you don’t often hear about, I wonder if the bushcricket was asked to cough. While proportional testicle size ranged widely across the species, the team found that one species, Platycleis affinis, far surpassed the previous record for the proportionally largest testicles. Titanic testicles then?
And just to put this momentous discovery in proportion, they calculated that this would make the equivalent human testes weigh a ball-dragging amount of 11lbs each. Now that’s a heavy load.
And talking of large globular structures!
November 2010 saw the announcement of massive gamma-ray bubbles that extend above and below the plane of the Milky Way galaxy.
Image via Wikipedia
“What we see are two gamma-ray-emitting bubbles that extend 25,000 light-years north and south of the galactic center,” said Doug Finkbeiner, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass., who first recognized the feature. “We don’t fully understand their nature or origin.”
Finkbeiner and Harvard graduate students Meng Su and Tracy Slatyer discovered the bubbles by processing publicly available data from Fermi’s Large Area Telescope (LAT). The LAT is the most sensitive and highest-resolution gamma-ray detector ever launched. Gamma rays are the highest-energy form of light. Scientists now are conducting more analyses to better understand how the never-before-seen structure was formed. The bubble emissions are much more energetic than the gamma-ray fog seen elsewhere in the Milky Way. The bubbles also appear to have well-defined edges. The structure’s shape and emissions suggest it was formed as a result of a large and relatively rapid energy release — the source of which remains a mystery.
One possibility includes a particle jet from the supermassive black hole at the galactic center. In many other galaxies, astronomers see fast particle jets powered by matter falling toward a central black hole. While there is no evidence the Milky Way’s black hole has such a jet today, it may have in the past. The bubbles also may have formed as a result of gas outflows from a burst of star formation, perhaps the one that produced many massive star clusters in the Milky Way’s center several million years ago.
Given that the Sirius the “dog-star” is a constellation in the Milky Way Galaxy, would that make them the Dog’s Bollocks? (a British phrase, like the “bees knees”)
Finally, composer Karlheinz Stockhausen has been claimed to have said on several occasions that he came from a planet in the Sirius system. Well, that would explain a lot.