1. Science and Technology News February 2013

Largest celestial body to hit Earth in 100 years

The meteor which closely missed the Russian city of Chelyabinsk on Friday is likely to go down in history as the largest celestial body to have hit the Earth over the past hundred years. NASA scientists said the object was a tiny asteroid that released 300 to 500 kilotons of energy when it exploded, which is roughly equivalent to 20 atomic bombs of the type dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This would make the Chelyabinsk meteor the largest since 1908 when a meteor hit Tunguska in Siberia, levelling an estimated 80 million trees. The energy of the Tunguska blast is estimated to have been up to 50 megatons. 
Scientists believe the Chelyabinsk meteor was about 17 metres across and weighed 10,000 tons. Shock waves from its explosion over Chelyabinsk wounded 1,200 people and shattered doors and windows in 3,724 apartment houses, 671 schools and 235 hospitals and outpatient clinics. What saved the city was that the explosion occurred 30 to 50 km above the ground. (thehindu)

Cosmic rays originate in the aftermath of exploding stars

Hundred years after Victor Hess discovered cosmic rays in 1912, astronomers have finally found proof of what they had always suspected — but could not find direct evidence — that these highly energetic particles, which are constantly bombarding the Earth’s atmosphere from all directions, originate in the aftermath of exploding stars, or supernovae as they are called, which are the most energetic events in the galaxy. Importantly, the proof is doubly strengthened as the evidence has come from two different experiments — one space-based and the other ground-based — which have looked at different supernova remnants (SNRs) in different parts of the sky and interpreted their observations from different physical perspectives. (thehindu)

Olive Ridley Turtles mass nesting begins in Odisha coast

A record number of over 3 lakh Olive Ridley turtles have laid eggs in Odisha coast within a span of only one week, officials said. This time the turtles mostly laid their eggs near the river Rushikulya mouth in Ganjam district, about 60 km from here. The mass nesting of turtles began in Rushikulya river mouth on February 13.(ptinews)

Raman spectroscopy modulated for broader medical application

Scientists have modulated Indian Nobel laureate C V Raman's spectroscopy signals, opening the door to wider biomedical and clinical applications such as real-time assessment of tissues during surgery. Raman spectroscopy has enabled incredible advances in numerous scientific fields and is a powerful tool for tissue classification and disease recognition, although there have been considerable challenges to using the method in a clinical setting. The inelastic scattering of light from any sample is called the Raman effect, named after the Indian scientists and Nobel prize- winner C V Raman, according to the study published in Biomedical Spectroscopy and Imaging. (ET)

Digital data created in country to grow by 50%

The digital information explosion driven by continued growth of internet usage, social networks, and smart phones among and falling cost of technology, digitization among others will results in a 23-fold growth of India's digital universe between 2012 and 2020. According to a EMC-sponsored IDC Digital Universe, the digital bits captured or created each year in India is expected to grow from 127 exabytes to 2.9 zettabytes between 2012 and 2020. The study also reveals that 22% of the digital universe in the country in 2012 is cloud enabled and is estimated to double by 2020 with 42% of digital information to be based on cloud technology. India and China together contribute 17% of the digital universe and by 2020 the contribution from these two countries to the total digital universe is expected to be as high as 29%, it added.(BS)

Apple second-largest smartphone maker by revenue in India

Apple's iPhone has become the second largest smartphone brand in terms of revenue and the fifth largest by volume in India, muscling its way up the league tables helped by an advertising blitzkrieg and some aggressive pricing. In value terms, it was still way behind Samsung's 38.8% share, but ahead of BlackBerry's 6%, while its volume grew more than three times, putting the iPhone at fifth spot behind Samsung, Micromax, Sony and Nokia.(TOI)

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