This Week In IFLScience! – November 2-7

First Fast Radio Burst Confirmed To Have Come From Inside The Milky Way 

Preliminary observations reported earlier this year suggested an FRB had been detected originating from a source in our own galaxy. Now, three studies published in the journal Nature have confirmed this event took place from a magnetar – a type of neutron star with an incredible magnetic field –  located in the Milky Way. 

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Artist's impression of a magnetar outburst, showing a complex magnetic field structure and beamed emission of radio and gamma-rays. Mcgill University Graphic Design Team

 

Synthetic Mini-Antibody Inspired By Llama Blood Could Combat SARS-CoV-2 

Unusually small antibodies found in the blood of llamas are the inspiration behind one of the latest weapons against Covid-19. Scientists have identified a synthetic mini-antibody that is capable of blocking SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, from binding to human cells and invading tissues.  

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Nanobodies that can be found in the blood of Camelids, the family of animals that includes camels, llamas, alpacas, and vicuñas. Lisa Stelzel/Shutterstock.com

 

Great Fox-Spider Spotted For The First Time Since 1993 

A rare and elusive spider has made the comeback of the quarter-century in the United Kingdom, as a great fox-spider was spotted by Surrey Wildlife Trust (SWT) creeping about in a Ministry of Defence (MOD) training area in Surrey. The sighting marks the first time this thought-to-be-extinct-in-the-UK spider has been seen since 1993, clocking in an on-the-lam record of 27 years. Not bad. 

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Guess who's back? Images courtesy of Mike Waite 2020, Surrey Wildlife Trust

 

After An 8-Month Hiatus, We Have Communication With Voyager-2 Again 

The only dish in the world that can send commands to the spacecraft is undergoing repairs and upgrades. This means there has been no contact with Voyager-2 for a while. Last week, a few commands were sent to the spacecraft during a test. After 34 hours and 48 minutes, the team received a hello from deep space. Voyager-2 is fine and is able to execute commands 18.8 billion kilometers from Earth. 

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Crews conduct critical upgrades to DSS43 by moving one of the antenna's white feed cones (which house portions of the antenna receivers) with a crane. CSIRO

 

Brainwaves Reveal A Pleasure Overload When Music Gives You Chills 

Every second person says they get “chills” when listening to music they really love. Electroencephalography (EEG) shows electrical activity in the brain when this happens, revealing distinctive patterns across the reward and pleasure centers that help explain the phenomenon. 

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The brainwaves associated with the common experience of "chills" while listening to favorite music have been measured. Fizkes/Shutterstock.com

 

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