Aside from its 2 moons, dwarf planet Haumea has a ring: study

This handout photo released by Nature shows an artistic view of Haumea and its ring system with correct proportions for the main body and the ring. Move over Saturn! Scientists have found a ring around an unassuming mini-planet in our Solar System to debunk the theory that only giant planets can be so adorned. (AFP / NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP / Handout)
Updated 11 October 2017
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Aside from its 2 moons, dwarf planet Haumea has a ring: study

PARIS: Move over Saturn! Scientists have found a ring around an unassuming mini-planet in our Solar System to debunk the theory that only giant planets can be so adorned.
The planet, dubbed Haumea, orbits the Sun far beyond Neptune — the eighth and furthest recognized “full” planet in our star system since Pluto was downgraded to dwarf status in 2006.
About eight billion kilometers (five billion miles) from the Sun, Haumea spins rapidly on its own axis, and has a flattened, cigar-like shape.
It takes 285 years to circle the Sun.
Named after the Hawaiian deity of childbirth, it is among a handful of known dwarf planets beyond the orbit of Neptune, which with the other so-called giant planets — Saturn, Uranus and Jupiter — all have rings.
“Our discovery proves that there is a lot more diversity and imagination in our solar system than we had thought,” study co-author Bruno Sicardy of the Paris Observatory told AFP.
The findings were published Wednesday in the journal Nature.
A ring system had previously been discovered around a centaur dubbed Chariklo. Centaurs, which have unstable orbits, are considered large comets, not planets, which means this is the first observation of a ring around a dwarf planet.
The new discovery came when Sicardy and a team predicted that Haumea would cross in front of a specific star, from Earth’s perspective, on January 21 this year.
They trained 12 telescopes at 10 different laboratories on the spot, and were able to measure many of the physical characteristics of the little-known planet discovered in 2004.
Scientists can infer much about a planet’s density and size by how much light it blocks out as it moves in front of a star.
In Haumea’s case, they found it sported a dense, Saturn-like ring some 70 kilometers wide, made of frozen particles.
The planet has two moons.


Japan to trial ‘world’s first urine test’ to spot cancer

Updated 17 April 2018
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Japan to trial ‘world’s first urine test’ to spot cancer

  • Previous research has shown a new blood test has potential to detect eight different kinds of tumors before they spread
  • The research starts in April and will run until September

TOKYO: A Japanese firm is poised to carry out what it hailed as the world’s first experiment to test for cancer using urine samples, which would greatly facilitate screening for the deadly disease.
Engineering and IT conglomerate Hitachi developed the basic technology to detect breast or colon cancer from urine samples two years ago.
It will now begin testing the method using some 250 urine samples, to see if samples at room temperature are suitable for analysis, Hitachi spokesman Chiharu Odaira told AFP.
“If this method is put to practical use, it will be a lot easier for people to get a cancer test, as there will be no need to go to a medical organization for a blood test,” he said.
It is also intended to be used to detect paediatric cancers.
“That will be especially beneficial in testing for small children” who are often afraid of needles, added Odaira.
Research published earlier this year demonstrated that a new blood test has shown promise toward detecting eight different kinds of tumors before they spread elsewhere in the body.
Usual diagnostic methods for breast cancer consist of a mammogram followed by a biopsy if a risk is detected.
For colon cancer, screening is generally conducted via a stool test and a colonoscopy for patients at high risk.
The Hitachi technology centers around detecting waste materials inside urine samples that act as a “biomarker” — a naturally occurring substance by which a particular disease can be identified, the company said in a statement.
The procedure aims to improve the early detection of cancer, saving lives and reducing the medical and social cost to the country, Odaira explained.
The experiment will start this month until through September in cooperation with Nagoya University in central Japan.
“We aim to put the technology in use in the 2020s, although this depends on various things such as getting approval from the authorities,” Odaira said.