Hubble Found an Eerie 'Cosmic Keyhole' Deep in Space And We're in Awe

Hubble Found an Eerie 'Cosmic Keyhole' Deep in Space And We're in Awe

When it comes to dramatic and awe-inspiring pictures of space, few can contend with what appears to be a pic of, well, nothing at all: a fascinating image of what seems to be a hole in the fabric of space, taken by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope.

Described as a "cosmic keyhole" by experts, the phenomenon caught by the telescope is what's known as a reflection nebula – part of the debris left behind by the formation of a newborn star, or in this case, a small, multiple star system known as V380 Orionis in the constellation Orion.

The ghostly celestial object you see here, named NGC 1999, is around 1,350 light-years from our planet; not far from the Orion Nebula – a star factory of significant size that happens to be the closest of its kind to Earth.

(ESA/Hubble & NASA, ESO, K. Noll)

That gap in the middle of the reflection nebula really is an empty part of space, though astronomers initially thought it might be a Bok globule: a dense and cold cloud, made up of gas, molecules, and dust, which appears to block out background light.

Surrounding the hole we can see a cloud of dust reflecting the light from the V380 Orionis star, which is visible close to the center of the cosmic keyhole. That's where the reflection nebula name comes from, nebula meaning "cloud" or "mist" in Latin.

The space agencies describe it as "like a fog curling around a street lamp", but at this point the reason for the gigantic gap in the middle of the cloud is unknown. However, were we filming a sci-fi movie, we might say it's the perfect opening for aliens to arrive through – or an ideal spot to place a portal to another Universe.

Having first been captured by the Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 on Hubble in 1999, the picture was subject to follow-up observations from telescopes including the ESA's Herschel Space Observatory. The final image and the story behind it is really a group effort from numerous instruments.

Hubble has been capturing the stars and galaxies around us for more than 30 years now, and is still going strong. We've recently seen it take a beautiful closeup of the Orion Nebula, and a shot of a strange galaxy 'mirror' created by gravitational lensing.

Of course the telescope is about much more than pretty pictures – it's been helping scientists deepen their understanding of the Universe too, whether that's in discovering new asteroids or predicting the death of the Sun.
Study finds Apple Watch blood oxygen sensor is as reliable as 'medical-grade device'

Study finds Apple Watch blood oxygen sensor is as reliable as 'medical-grade device'

A new validation study published this month puts the blood oxygen feature of the Apple Watch to the test. According to the results of the study, the Apple Watch Series 6 is able to “reliably detect states of reduced blood oxygen saturation” in comparison to medical-grade pulse oximeters. Here’s how the study came to determine this…

How reliable is the Apple Watch’s blood oxygen sensor?

As spotted by MyHealthyApple, the study was published this month in the Digital Health open access journal. The objective of the study was to investigate “how a commercially available smartwatch that measures peripheral blood oxygen saturation (SpO2) can detect hypoxemia compared to a medical-grade pulse oximeter.”

For the study, researchers recruited 24 healthy participants. Each person wore an Apple Watch Series 6 on their left wrist and a pulse oximeter sensor on their left middle finger (the Masimo Radical-7).

The participants breathed via a breathing circuit with a three-way non-rebreathing valve in three phases. First, in the 2-minute initial stabilization phase, the participants inhaled the ambient air. Then in the 5-minute desaturation phase, the participants breathed the oxygen-reduced gas mixture (12% O2), which temporarily reduced their blood oxygen saturation.

In the final stabilization phase, the participants inhaled the ambient air again until SpO2 returned to normal values. Measurements of SpO2 were taken from the smartwatch and the pulse oximeter simultaneously in 30-s intervals.

The study resulted in 642 individual pairs of blood oxygen measurements:

The differences in individual measurements between the smartwatch and oximeter within 6% SpO2 can be expected for SpO2 readings 90%-100% and up to 8% for SpO2 readings less than 90%.

As such, the researchers conclude:

The bias in SpO2 between the smartwatch and the oximeter was 0.0% for all the data points. The bias for SpO2 less than 90% was 1.2%. The differences in individual measurements between the smartwatch and oximeter within 6% SpO2 can be expected for SpO2 readings 90%–100% and up to 8% for SpO2 readings less than 90%.

Apple first added blood oxygen measurement support to the Apple Watch Series 6. It’s also a feature on the newest Apple Watch Series 7, Apple Watch Series 8, and Apple Watch Ultra. Apple has been hesitant to promote the feature with any actual medical claims, and the company hasn’t advertised any significant improvements to the technology since it first debuted on the Series 6 in 2020.
Baton Rouge family court judge suspended for abusing power

Baton Rouge family court judge suspended for abusing power

The Louisiana Supreme Court has suspended a Baton Rouge judge without pay for 180 days for abusing her power to hold people in contempt.

East Baton Rouge Parish Family Court Judge Charlene Charlet Day, who has held the seat since 2011, violated the law when she issued a bench warrant that resulted in a teacher being arrested at the school where she works, the high court ruled Friday.

The Louisiana Judiciary Commission, which investigates complaints of judicial conduct, recommended the six-month suspension in July, finding that Day violated rules of conduct and committed “willful misconduct” when she locked up litigants for contempt of court. Day was directed to pay the commission a $6,260 fine.

The justices unanimously agreed that a suspension was warranted, though one thought a less-severe penalty was required, The Advocate reported.

“Judge Day’s conduct harmed the integrity of and respect for the judiciary,” Justice William Crain wrote in the prevailing opinion. “When a judge abuses the immense power to deprive a person of their liberty, it has a profound effect on public confidence in the judiciary.”
Black hole ‘burps’ up star years after eating it, stumping scientists

Black hole ‘burps’ up star years after eating it, stumping scientists

A supermassive black hole was observed belching up a star it gobbled up three years earlier — leaving astronomers puzzled by the delayed intergalactic indigestion.

“This caught us completely by surprise — no one has ever seen anything like this before,” Yvette Cendes, the lead author of a new study analyzing the unprecedented phenomenon, said.

In October 2018, astronomers witnessed a small star being ripped to shreds and swallowed when it wandered too close to a black hole in a galaxy located 665 million light years away from Earth, according to the study published last week in Astrophysical Journal.

The violent feast itself isn’t unusual, however, when the black hole started mysteriously regurgitating stellar matter in June 2021, scientists were left scratching their heads — because there was no evidence it had eaten another star, the study found.

“It’s as if this black hole has started abruptly burping out a bunch of material from the star it ate years ago,” Cendes, a research associate at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, added.

The long delay in the spewing of celestial matter had never been seen before and perplexed scientists.

Black holes are extraterrestrial regions where gravitational pull has drawn matter into a small space with a force so strong that nothing can escape from them, including light.

They are usually formed by the collapsing remnants of large dying stars, and can consume anything that comes too close to them, NASA explains.

When a black hole devours a star, some of the celestial material that makes up the star occasionally gets flung out back into space, which astronomers liken to black holes being messy eaters, the Centre for Astrophysics explains.

But this process — which Cendes equates to “burping” after a meal — usually happens immediately, not three years later, according to the study.

Researchers scrambled to study the startling discovery using telescopes on three continents and in space.

They found that the black hole, dubbed AT2018hyz, was ejecting material at half the speed of light — five times faster than normal.

However, they remained in the dark about why it took three years to “burp” up the star.

“This is the first time that we have witnessed such a long delay between the feeding and the outflow,” said Edo Berger, professor of astronomy at Harvard University and the CfA, and co-author of the new study.

“The next step is to explore whether this actually happens more regularly and we have simply not been looking at TDEs late enough in their evolution.”

The team hopes the study can help scientists better understand black holes’ feeding behavior.
Porterville woman sentenced to 15 year to life for murder of her baby

Porterville woman sentenced to 15 year to life for murder of her baby

VISALIA, Calif. (KFSN) -- "With a case like this, it's a case that sticks with you."

Four years ago, Angelica Castro was a 21-year-old mom who faced murder charges for the death of her baby girl, who was less than six months old.

Sean Sangree, Supervising Deputy District Attorney, had the case since day one.

He says Castro initially denied knowing what happened to her baby, but later claimed she might have accidentally hit the infant while they were napping together.

Medical experts testified about about the young victim's extensive injuries.

"Abusive head trauma, and she had a number of injuries she had throughout her body that indicated they have inflicted injuries, not accidental," Sangree said.

Back in April, Castro pleaded guilty to second degree murder. Shortly after, she tried withdrawing her plea and fired her attorney.

"A new attorney was appointed to her, and that was litigated over the last few months," Sangree said. "Today, the court ruled there is no valid basis for withdrawing."

Tuesday morning, Castro was sentenced to 15 years to life.

Sangree says cases involving children are gut-wrenching and carry a wave of impact.

"It ripples through the community from first responders to court staff, investigators who had to deal with this case, and hospital staff," he said.

The hope is it never happens to another child.
Homeless woman charged in murder and torture of 12-year-old Paris girl who was found in a suitcase

Homeless woman charged in murder and torture of 12-year-old Paris girl who was found in a suitcase

A homeless woman has been charged with the murder, rape and torture of a 12-year-old Paris girl, who was found stuffed inside a suitcase with her throat slashed – and the numerals 1 and 0 bizarrely placed on her chest.

Dahbia B., 24, originally from Algeria, was indicted Monday in connection with the grisly killing of Lola Daviet, 12, whose mutilated body was found with her hands and feet bound with tape, the Mirror reported.

“The alleged murderer somehow earned her victim’s confidence and led her into a cellar below the building, where the attack happened,” a law enforcement source said, according to Metro UK.

“The attacker had been talking about selling organs and body parts, but none of this makes sense,” the official said, adding that “the suspect is believed to suffer with serious psychological problems. She was living on the street, but had friends and family in the Paris area.”

Chilling surveillance video from Friday shows the alleged killer and Lola near the building where the victim lived with her parents, Delphine and Johan Daviet, who reported her missing about 4 p.m. that day.

“Lola knows that on Fridays you go straight home because we go to Béthune, the family village, a three-hour drive north of Paris,” Delphine said, according to the outlet.

The father, who is a caretaker in their building, decided to check the footage of their building in the city’s 19th arrondissement and noticed their girl entering the building with a stranger.

On Facebook, Delphine wrote that Lola was “last seen in the company of a girl we don’t know, in our residence.”

Tragically, the girl’s mutilated body was discovered about 11 p.m. Friday by a homeless man several streets away from the family’s home.
A homeless woman has been charged with the murder, rape and torture of a 12-year-old Paris girl.

She was found bound and gagged inside the suitcase with the numbers 1 and 0 on her chest.

Witnesses told local media that the suspect entered the building alone, then “came out, half an hour later with a large, very heavy suitcase.”

One person said: “She asked everyone she met to help her carry it. She seemed a little crazy. At one point she left the suitcase in front of a cafe, she came and went, went in and out, we wondered what was inside her but we would never have thought of a body.

“Then she went to the bakery in front of the cafe to buy a croissant, she came back like it was nothing, she looked a little unsteady,” the witness said.
Lola was found stuffed inside a suitcase with her throat slashed – and the numerals 1 and 0 bizarrely placed on her chest.

A law enforcement source said evidence suggests that Lola had been tortured, raped, strangled and slashed across her throat in her building’s basement, the Mirror reported.

Lola reportedly died of asphyxiation following the brutal attack, according to a post-mortem exam.

Local news outlet BFMTV reported that the numbers were “placed” on her body, not drawn or scraped on her skin.

It is unclear what the numbers mean.
Dahbia was arrested Saturday.

“The suspect is believed to suffer from serious psychological problems. She was living on the street, but had friends and family in the Paris area,” the source reportedly said.

Dahbia was arrested Saturday at her sister’s home in the northern suburb of Bois-Colombe, the news outlet reported.

According to BFMTV, a man in his 40s also was arrested on suspicion of helping the alleged killer carry the girl’s body.
Texas woman charged after fatally stabbing child at park, Harris County sheriff says

Texas woman charged after fatally stabbing child at park, Harris County sheriff says

A Houston-area woman has been arrested after authorities say she fatally stabbed her daughter in the neck at a park and wrapped her in plastic and mesh bags.

Melissa White Towne, 37, has been charged with capital murder, according to Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez.

Gonzalez Tweeted that the incident happened around noon Sunday at Spring Creek Park in Tomball, a city about 40 minutes northwest of Houston.

It’s unknown how the incident unfolded, but Gonzalez said Towne allegedly cut or stabbed her child at the park and drove her to the hospital.

She requested a wheelchair because “her daughter’s body was hurting,” HCSO told KPRC, KSAT’s sister station in Houston.

Hospital staff found Towne’s 5-year-old daughter in her Jeep Cherokee, partially wrapped in plastic and mesh bags, Gonzalez said.

“The child had what appeared to be a laceration and possible ligature marks on the child’s neck,” he said.

The girl, who has not been identified, was pronounced dead.

Gonzalez said Monday that Towne “admitted to killing her daughter.” She has since been booked into the Harris County Jail.

Arrest update: on 10/16/22, Melissa White Towne (37) drove to a hospital emergency room. Towne’s 5-yr-old daughter was found partially wrapped in plastic and mesh bags, in Towne’s Jeep Cherokee. The child was unresponsive. The child had what appeared to be a laceration and 1/2— Ed Gonzalez (@SheriffEd_HCSO) October 17, 2022
Woman confronts ex-police officer who raped her while on duty as he’s sentenced to 14 years to life

Woman confronts ex-police officer who raped her while on duty as he’s sentenced to 14 years to life

Standing in a Spokane courtroom Thursday morning, Tatyanna Presnell, boldly addressed the ex-police officer who sexually assaulted her in her own home.

“I am rising out of the ashes and becoming a survivor,” Presnell said.

Nathan Nash, 39, was sentenced to more than 14 years in prison Thursday after a jury convicted him in August of raping Presnell and another woman during follow-up visits for physical assaults to which he responded in his role as a Spokane police officer.

Nash was convicted of third-degree rape of Presnell and acquitted of second-degree rape. She filed a claim against the city in September, alleging the police department ignored “red flags” in Nash’s behavior and allowed him to use his uniform to prey on women.

Another woman, who is now 41 and doesn’t want to be publicly identified, testified that Nash raped her on a follow-up visit, when she thought he was there to photograph her injuries. The jury convicted him of second-degree rape with aggravating circumstances in her case, finding that he violated the trust she had in him as a law enforcement officer.

Presnell and her family spoke emotionally about how the sexual assaults affected their lives.

Nash’s family was also present in the courtroom when he was sentenced.

Presnell, 25, said she was a bubbly child who always tried to see the best in people. When she was 22, she found herself in an abusive relationship. She called police after she was beaten by her boyfriend, and Nash was one of the responding officers. At first, he made her feel safe. But when he returned to her apartment days later on a supposed follow-up visit and sexually assaulted her, she said he violated the trust she had in police.

At the time, Nash was on duty and in uniform.

“You are a monster in human form,” Presnell told him.

After testifying at trial and watching Nash be convicted, Presnell encouraged other women to speak up against abusers.

“It is possible for you to step forward and for your voice to be heard,” Presnell said, choosing to speak out publicly because she didn’t want to feel like she was hiding.

Her mother, Jennifer Presnell, told the court about the constant swing of emotions from anger to depression, and lots of tears she has helped her daughter endure. She constantly reminds her daughter that what happened to her wasn’t her fault.

As a mother, she said she worries she put her daughter in danger by encouraging her to call police to follow up on the domestic violence incident.

“I had no reason not to trust you,” she said to Nash. “You were a police officer, after all.”

Larry Presnell, Tatyanna’s father, was visibly angry as he told the court how the assault affected the family.

“The anger that you have created inside of me is beyond what words can say,” he said.

A veteran, like Nash, Larry Presnell said the brotherhood doesn’t support Nash or his actions.

“I hope that you can someday stop lying to yourself and your family and tell the truth,” he said. “God knows the truth, and may God have vengeance on you from this day forward.”

Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Amanda Fry argued that Nash should be sentenced above the standard range of 8½ to 11 years for raping the 41-year-old woman because of the aggravating circumstances.

“He was an armed, on-duty police officer at the time of this rape,” Fry said.

She asked Spokane County Superior Court Judge John Cooney to sentence Nash to 14 years in prison.

Nash’s attorney, Wayne Fricke, said the 41-year-old victim in her written statement to the court was forgiving of Nash, and therefore the court should be too. He asked for the low end of the sentencing range.

Nash has maintained his innocence and told Cooney there was only one reason he would risk not coming home to his family at the end of the day: to protect others.

“I certainly would never do anything ethically, morally or personally that might cause us to get ripped apart,” Nash said. “Your Honor, I am innocent of these allegations.”

Nash said he has already hired an attorney to appeal the sentence, and that he can prove he didn’t rape the women.

“My family is deserving of the opportunity to present the truth,” Nash said.

Nash shared in a series of Facebook posts some of the evidence he believes exonerates him while the jury was deliberating. In one post, he called one victim “a known crackhead” and accused prosecutors of having an agenda against police officers. He also said the older victim’s mental health conditions made her testimony unreliable.

Cooney acknowledged the years of service Nash gave in both the Marines and in law enforcement, before going on to talk about the large number of people Nash victimized.

“What we have here is two women that were already victims before they met you,” Cooney told him. “They were victims of violence … then they became sexual abuse victims.”

The law enforcement community was victimized too, he said.

“When a police officer engages in this conduct, it gives all of them a black eye,” Cooney said. “So, I think they’ve been victimized as well.”

This is the second time in less than five years that a Spokane police officer has been convicted of a sex crime.

In March 2018, a jury convicted Gordon Ennis of second-degree rape for assaulting a fellow officer at a party. He was sentenced to seven years to life in prison. He is serving his sentence at Monroe Correctional Complex.

Lastly, Cooney said Nash victimized his own family. He scolded the Nash family for bringing Nash’s elementary-school-age son to court. The young boy’s sobs rang through the quiet courtroom when his dad was convicted this summer.

“For some reason, your family decided to bring him into court to see that, see his dad be convicted of rape,” Cooney said.

Ultimately, Cooney sentenced Nash to 172 months to life. A sentencing review board is required to look at Nash’s rehabilitation status before he can be released.

Nash remains charged with official misconduct and is set to be tried on that charge later this year.
Woman who pleaded guilty in husband’s death sentenced to 30 years

Woman who pleaded guilty in husband’s death sentenced to 30 years

The Posey County woman who pleaded guilty to manslaughter in her husband’s death was sentenced to 30 years in prison.

Peggy Higginson of Wadesville pleaded with Posey County Circuit Court Judge Craig Goedde to be lenient with his sentencing.

Judge Goedde sentenced Higginson to the maximum sentence of 30 years for the shooting of her husband, Troy Higginson, back in 2018.

“Our family couldn’t have asked for much more,” said Tyler Higginson, Troy’s son. “Unfortunately, my dad can’t come back, but we at least got some justice and closure.”

Judge Goedde stressed prior to handing down the sentence that the aggravators “heavily outweighed the mitigators” in this case. This means that the factors for a greater sentence outweighed the factors for a lighter sentence.

“I think the max sentence is what she needed, that’s what she deserved,” said Lindsey Bronaugh, Troy’s daughter said. “So inside I was so excited, because my dad finally got the justice he deserved.”

Higginson was originally charged with murder with a firearm enhancement, but reached a plea deal in August.

The level two felony of voluntary manslaughter carries a minimum sentence of 10 years and an advisory sentence of 17.5 years.

“Today is bittersweet for all of us,” said Posey County Prosecutor Thomas Clowers. “We’re happy with the court’s sentence.”

“I absolutely feel closure for the crime that was committed,” Tyler said. “Unfortunately, my dad can’t come back, so that’ll never be healed, but [we’re getting closure for] not only him, but we are getting closure as [a] family too.”

Higginson had been arrested prior to the shooting for hitting Troy in the head with a whiskey bottle, another piece of a “tumultuous” relationship, as Judge Goedde described in court Thursday.

“I feel like Troy’s voice was heard in the courtroom today,” Clowers said. “It always helps when the facts are on your side. The facts were on Troy’s side.”

Even with the maximum sentence handed down, Troy’s friends and family say his absence is still felt to this day.

“I don’t think I’ll ever fully have closure, as much closure as I would like, but this definitely helps,” Bronaugh said.

Higginson said in her allocution, “Not only did someone I care about lose their life, but it was my finger on the trigger of the gun that took that life.”

Higginson added that the night of the shooting will “forever haunt” her, and “if I could reach up to heaven and bring Troy back I would.”

Deputies say they found Troy in the driver’s seat of a car in the middle of Wade Road with a gunshot wound to his chest.

Officials say he had filed for divorce.

Higginson will be credited for time already served, which is a little over four years.

Higginson has 30 days to appeal the sentence.
Mo. farmer pleads guilty to shooting Wis. brothers, burning, dumping their bodies over cattle deal

Mo. farmer pleads guilty to shooting Wis. brothers, burning, dumping their bodies over cattle deal

A farmer has pleaded guilty in connection with the murder of two Wisconsin brothers over a cattle deal.

According to a news release from the Buchanan County Sheriff’s Office, Garland Nelson pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree murder and the burning and disposal of Nick Diemel and Justin Diemel. He was sentenced to two consecutive life sentences without parole.

Nelson avoided the death penalty as part of his plea deal, WDAF-TV reports. The Diemel brothers were the operators of Diemel’s Livestock, which dealt with the trade of cattle and other livestock, and Nelson agreed to feed and pasture the cattle. Nelson also agreed to sell loads of cattle and send Diemel’s Livestock the profits, WDAF reports.

Nelson was sent cattle from November 2018 through April 2019. According to WDAF, Nelson sold, traded, and/or killed many of the Diemels’ cattle without providing the brothers with payment.

Nelson allegedly defrauded the Diemels by continuing to send them bills for feed and yardage for the cattle that had already been sold, traded, or had died. WDAF reports the Diemels went to visit Nelson in Braymer, Missouri, in July 2019, to collect over $200,000 in debt.

Nelson killed the brothers to cover up the cattle scheme, and he tried to hide their bodies, WDAF reports.

The brothers’ remains were later found on Nelson’s farm and in a livestock trailer in Nebraska, KMBC-TV reports.

After shooting the brothers, Nelson confessed that he placed the bodies in barrels, burned them, and then dumped their remains, with one in a pile of cow manure on the Nelson farm and the other in a mineral supplement bucket found in Nebraska.

Before pleading guilty, KMBC reports that Nelson was originally charged with two counts of first-degree murder, armed criminal action, tampering with a motor vehicle, abandonment of a corpse, and stealing of a motor vehicle.

According to WDAF, in December 2019, the Diemel brothers’ families sued Nelson for wrongful death, and the families were eventually awarded a $2 million settlement.

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