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Astronomers Have Discovered the Oldest Stars Ever Seen in Our Galaxy

Cosmology studies suggest that the first stars did not appear until 100 million years after the Big Bang. Scientists have recently discovered stars at the center of the galaxy that they believe are not only more ancient than the approximately 13.2-billion-year-old Milky Way, but may be among the oldest objects ever discovered. 

Documented in a Nature article published earlier this week, the discovery was made by a team of astronomers using the Australian National University SkyMapper telescope. The team included ANU Ph.D. student Louise Howes, who explains in the video above that the lack of metals in the atmosphere of the stars is one reason they suspect the stars are very old. The early universe was composed of hydrogen, helium, and small amounts of lithium; all other elements were created later in the supernova explosions of stars.

"We expected them to be lacking in metals, but we also found that they were lacking in elements such as carbon and magnesium," Howes says. Those elements would have come from "pollution" caused by older exploded stars. Because these stars lack those elements, they appear to be quite ancient. "The relatively small stars, for some reason, had 10 times the amount of energy that we would expect, and exploded in what we call a 'hypernova,'" she said. The hypernova would have released a lot of other elements, like iron and nickel, but not much carbon or magnesium.

Their proximity to the center of the galaxy was another clue, because it's thought the first stars formed at the galaxy center, where the effects of gravity are the strongest. 

"The chemical signature imprinted on those stars tells us about an epoch in the universe that's otherwise completely inaccessible," said study co-author Andrew Casey, of Cambridge University's Institute of Astronomy, in a press statement. "The universe was probably very different early on, but to know by how much, we've really just got to find more of these stars: more needles in bigger haystacks."

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Afternoon Map
The Most Searched Shows on Netflix in 2017, By State

Orange is the New Black is the new black, at least as far as Netflix viewers are concerned. The women-in-prison dramedy may have premiered in 2013, but it’s still got viewers hooked. Just as they did in 2017, HighSpeedInternet.com took a deep dive into Netflix analytics using Google Trends to find out which shows people in each state were searching Netflix for throughout the year. While there was a little bit of crossover between 2016 and 2017, new series like American Vandal and Mindhunter gave viewers a host of new content. But that didn’t stop Orange is the New Black from dominating the map; it was the most searched show in 15 states.

Coming in at a faraway second place was American Vandal, a new true crime satire that captured the attention of five states (Illinois, Kansas, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Wisconsin). Even more impressive is the fact that the series premiered in mid-September, meaning that it found a large and rabid audience in a very short amount of time.

Folks in Alaska, Colorado, and Oregon were all destined to be disappointed; Star Trek: Discovery was the most searched-for series in each of these states, but it’s not yet available on Netflix in America (you’ve got to get CBS All Access for that, folks). Fourteen states broke the mold a bit with shows that were unique to their state only; this included Big Mouth in Delaware, The Keepers in Maryland, The OA in Pennsylvania, GLOW in Rhode Island, and Black Mirror in Hawaii.

Check out the map above to see if your favorite Netflix binge-watch matches up with your neighbors'. For more detailed findings, visit HighSpeedInternet.com.

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Afternoon Map
Monthly Internet Costs in Every Country

Thanks to the internet, people around the world can conduct global research, trade tips, and find faraway friends without ever leaving their couch. Not everyone pays the same price for these digital privileges, though, according to new data visualizations spotted by Thrillist.

To compare internet user prices in each country, cost information site HowMuch.net created a series of maps. The data comes courtesy of English market research consultancy BDRC and Cable.co.uk, which teamed up to analyze 3351 broadband packages in 196 nations between August 18, 2017 and October 12, 2017.

In the U.S., for example, the average cost for internet service is $66 per month. That’s substantially more than what browsers pay in neighboring Mexico ($27) and Canada ($55). Still, we don’t have it bad compared to either Namibia or Burkina Faso, where users shell out a staggering $464 and $924, respectively, for monthly broadband access. In fact, internet in the U.S. is far cheaper than what residents in 113 countries pay, including those in Saudi Arabia ($84), Indonesia ($72), and Greenland ($84).

On average, internet costs in Asia and Russia tend to be among the lowest, while access is prohibitively expensive in sub-Saharan Africa and in certain parts of Oceania. As for the world’s cheapest internet, you’ll find it in Ukraine and Iran.

Check out the maps below for more broadband insights, or view HowMuch.net’s full findings here.

Map of Internet costs in each country created by information site HowMuch.net.
HowMuch.net

Map of Internet costs in each country created by information site HowMuch.net.
HowMuch.net

Map of Internet costs in each country created by information site HowMuch.net.
HowMuch.net

Map of Internet costs in each country created by information site HowMuch.net.
HowMuch.net

Map of Internet costs in each country created by information site HowMuch.net.
HowMuch.net

[h/t Thrillist]

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