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Astronomers discover Milky Way galaxy’s most-distant stars

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WASHINGTON: Astronomers have detected in the stellar halo that represents the Milky Way’s outer limits a group of stars more distant from Earth than any known within our own galaxy — almost halfway to a neighbouring galaxy.

The researchers said these 208 stars inhabit the most remote reaches of the Milky Way’s halo, a spherical stellar cloud dominated by the mysterious invisible substance called dark matter that makes itself known only through its gravitational influence. The furthest of them is 1.08 million light-years from Earth. A light year is the distance light travels in a year, 5.9 trillion miles (9.5 trillion km).

These stars, spotted using the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope on Hawaii’s Mauna Kea mountain, are part of a category of stars called RR Lyrae that are relatively low mass and typically have low abundances of elements heavier than hydrogen and helium. The most distant one appears to have a mass about 70% that of our sun. No other Milky Way stars have been confidently measured farther away than these.

An undated illustration shows the Milky Way galaxys inner and outer halos. A halo is a spherical cloud of stars surrounding a galaxy. NASA, ESA, and A. Feild (STScI).— Reuters
An undated illustration shows the Milky Way galaxy’s inner and outer halos. A halo is a spherical cloud of stars surrounding a galaxy. NASA, ESA, and A. Feild (STScI).— Reuters

The stars that populate the outskirts of the galactic halo can be viewed as stellar orphans, probably originating in smaller galaxies that later collided with the larger Milky Way.

“Our interpretation about the origin of these distant stars is that they are most likely born in the halos of dwarf galaxies and star clusters which were later merged — or more straightforwardly, cannibalized — by the Milky Way,” said Yuting Feng, an astronomy doctoral student at the University of California, Santa Cruz, who led the study, presented this week at an American Astronomical Society meeting in Seattle.

“Their host galaxies have been gravitationally shredded and digested, but these stars are left at that large distance as debris of the merger event,” Feng added.

The Milky Way has grown over time through such calamities.

“The larger galaxy grows by eating smaller galaxies — by eating its own kind,” said study co-author Raja GuhaThakurta, UC Santa Cruz’s chair of astronomy and astrophysics.

Containing an inner and outer layer, the Milky Way’s halo is vastly larger than the galaxy’s main disk and central bulge that are teeming with stars. The galaxy, with a supermassive black hole at its centre about 26,000 light years from Earth, contains perhaps 100 billion–400 billion stars including our sun, which resides in one of the four primary spiral arms that make up the Milky Way’s disk. The halo contains about 5% of the galaxy’s stars.

Dark matter, which dominates the halo, makes up most of the universe’s mass and is thought to be responsible for its basic structure, with its gravity influencing visible matter to come together and form stars and galaxies.

The halo’s remote outer edge is a poorly understood region of the galaxy. These newly identified stars are almost half the distance to the Milky Way’s neighbouring Andromeda galaxy.

“We can see that the suburbs of the Andromeda halo and the Milky Way halo are really extended — and are almost ‘back-to-back,'” Feng said.

The search for life beyond the Earth focuses on rocky planets akin to Earth orbiting in what is called the “habitable zone” around stars. More than 5,000 planets beyond our solar system, called exoplanets, already have been discovered.

“We don’t know for sure, but each of these outer halo stars should be about as likely to have planets orbiting them as the sun and other sun-like stars in the Milky Way,” GuhaThakurta said.

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The recall AI feature rollout by Microsoft will be delayed.

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A computerized history is created via the Recall feature, which records everything from phone conversations to web browsing. This way, even months later, the user may search through it for remembered actions.

In a blog post, Microsoft announced that recall, which was originally going to be widely available for Copilot+ PC users on June 18, will now only be available for a preview on its Windows Insider Program (WIP) in the next weeks.

As to the statement from the Redmond, Washington-based company, the decision is “founded in our dedication to offering a reliable, safe, and comprehensive experience for every client and to obtain more input before releasing the feature to all Copilot+ PC users.”

An artificial intelligence (AI) feature-rich class of personal computers called Copilot+ PCs was introduced in May.

Millions of “Windows biggest fans” can sample new improvements for the operating system through the WIP, a public software testing initiative.

According to the business, following feedback from the WIP community, the Recall preview will soon be accessible for all Copilot+ PCs.

Shortly after the feature’s release, billionaire technologist Elon Musk opened a new tab and referred to it as a “Black Mirror episode,” drawing parallels to the Netflix series that examines the negative effects of advanced technology. However, some social media users expressed concerns about privacy, saying that it could allow for spying.

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TikTok plans to introduce an image search capability in order to directly compete with Google.

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TikTok, a Chinese short video platform, is now conducting a trial of a novel functionality that enables users to capture or submit images in order to discover comparable products within the TikTok Shop, as reported by TechCrunch.

TikTok, the current leader in social media, is now aiming to enter Google’s domain in the field of search, indicating a direct competition against Google’s control in visual search.

The functionality, originally observed by user Jonah Manzano, is presently accessible to users residing in the United States and Southeast Asia. Users that have access to the feature will see a camera symbol that is integrated.
This feature allows users to effortlessly search for products by capturing or uploading photographs, eliminating the requirement for written descriptions.

For example, if you are eating at a restaurant and like the dish that is presented on a certain plate, you can take a fast photo using the TikTok app to discover comparable goods that you can buy.

Similarly, if you come across an expensive item while shopping online, you can save its image and use TikTok’s image search feature to locate similar, more affordable options.

Although TikTok Shop has previously utilized conventional search methods, this new advancement represents a notable deviation by harnessing the capabilities of visual search, similar to Google Lens.

TikTok’s decision is a calculated maneuver aimed at not only attracting users’ interest in finding new products but also promoting sales within its e-commerce network.

This development is not only a criticism of Google or Amazon; it is a more extensive effort to rival other participants in the field of visual search and e-commerce, such as Klarna and rising businesses like Cherry.

TikTok’s shift towards e-commerce is apparent in its recent announcement that TikTok Shop accommodates more than 15 million vendors worldwide, including a significant presence in the United States.

The company has made significant investments in platform safety, dedicating more than $400 million and establishing a staff of 7,500 personnel to guarantee the integrity of TikTok Shop.

TikTok continues to pursue its e-commerce goals, while encountering regulatory obstacles, especially in the United States.

TikTok’s momentum remains unaffected by President Biden’s recent measure, which indicates a possible prohibition if ByteDance does not divest the platform.

However, the corporation regards e-commerce as a strategic source of income and a method to maintain consumer involvement within its ecosystem.

TikTok is continuously expanding and improving its TikTok Shop to encourage more user interaction and spending. This will help establish TikTok as a strong competitor in the e-commerce industry.
in the search bar of TikTok Shop.

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Pakistan experiences substantial expansion in the information technology sector.

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Pakistan experienced significant development in the exports of its IT sector, reaching a total of $2.283 billion, as stated in a recent Economic Survey Report.

The increase in exports emphasized the rising global demand for IT services from Pakistan and the sector’s impact on the national economy.

The survey demonstrated that IT freelancers contributed $35 million in remittances, highlighting their significance in the IT industry.

The study data indicates a significant rise in the number of broadband and telecom customers nationwide, with broadband users reaching 135 million and telecom users growing to 194 million.

Earlier this week, the federal government has suggested a substantial 357 percent rise in the budget for the IT sector for the fiscal year 2024-25.

As to reliable sources, the Ministry of IT has been granted a budget of Rs 27.43 billion in the development budget, out of which Rs 6.28 billion has been allotted for the implementation of 15 new projects.

The government has additionally suggested allotting Rs 21.15 billion for projects that are currently in progress, as well as Rs 3.5 billion for the Digital Economy initiative.

Additional noteworthy allocations consist of Rs 1 billion for fostering innovation in the IT sector, Rs 50 million for the digitalization of the national assembly, and Rs 300 million for the implementation of smart office projects in government ministries.

The government has additionally suggested investing Rs 9.92 billion for the Islamabad Technology Development Park and Rs 6.78 billion for the creation of an IT park in Karachi. The budget additionally comprises a proposition for an allocation of Rs 1 billion for the Cybersecurity Fund for the Digital Pakistan initiative.

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