“Weighing In on a Star: A stellar size limit” (SN: 3/12/05, p. 164) includes three images of the Arches cluster near the center of the Milky Way, each taken with a different telescope. I’d be interested to know what the three telescopes are.
In the trio of progressively sharper (left to right) images, the leftmost one was taken in 1994 with a 3-meter telescope at the Lick Observatory in California, the middle image was taken in 1996 by the 10-m Keck 1 telescope atop Hawaii’s Mauna Kea, and the rightmost picture was taken in 1997 by the Hubble Space Telescope’s Near Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer.—R. Cowen
The many reports of the explorations of Mars looking for water (“Martian Landscaping: Spacecraft eyes evidence of a frozen sea,” SN: 3/5/05, p. 149) seem to be motivated by mere curiosity. Even if water is found on Mars, the lack of a Martian magnetic field would expose any life on Mars to the ravages of radiation from space. The high-velocity sandstorms would also be adverse to any life on Mars. In light of these facts, it seems that the current explorations of Mars lack direction and purpose.
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Old news but bad news
You may be aware that nanoparticles from sources such as diesel engines have clearly been shown to be a major component of the exposures causing thousands of human deaths in the London smog of 1952. So, the news regarding synthetic nanoscale particles (“Nano Hazards: Exposure to minute particles harms lungs, circulatory system,” SN: 3/19/05, p. 179) is important but not terribly surprising.
Jerrold L. Abraham
SUNY Upstate Medical University
Cause or effect?
I am troubled by the conclusion drawn in “College may endow memory to old brains” (SN: 3/26/05, p. 205). The report says that college-educated adults do better on memory tests, displaying pronounced frontal brain activity, than do their less-educated peers. Might it not be just as reasonable to hypothesize that those who are able to “recruit the frontal brain into a memory system” do better in school and are, therefore, more likely to extend their educations?
Redwood City, Calif.