New research is helping to explain one of the big questions that has perplexed astrophysicists for the past 30 years — what causes the changing brightness of distant stars called magnetars.
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Magnetars were formed from stellar explosions or supernovae and they have extremely strong magnetic fields, estimated to be around 100 million, million times greater than the magnetic field found on earth.
The magnetic field generates intense heat and x-rays. It is so strong it also affects the physical properties of matter, most notably the way that heat is conducted through the crust of the star and across its surface, creating the variations in brightness across the star which has puzzled astrophysicists and astronomers.
A team of scientists — led by Dr Andrei Igoshev at the University of Leeds — has developed a mathematical model that simulates the way the magnetic field disrupts the conventional understanding of heat being distributed
Scientists from the University of Bristol and the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) used three-dimensional computer modelling to investigate the hindlimb of Euparkeria capensis-a small reptile that lived in the Triassic Period 245 million years ago-and inferred that it had a “mosaic” of functions in locomotion.
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The study, which was published today in Scientific Reports, was led by researcher Oliver Demuth, joined by Professors Emily Rayfield (Bristol) and John Hutchinson (RVC). Their new micro-computed tomography scans of multiple specimens revealed unprecedented information about the previously hidden shape of the hip bones and structure of the foot and ankle joint.
Euparkeria has been known from numerous fossil specimens since the early 1900s and was found to be a close relative of the last common ancestor of both crocodiles and birds. While birds and crocodiles show different locomotion strategies, two-legged birds with an upright (erect) posture, shared with two and four-legged dinosaurs,