June 4, 2022 | Issue 22-05
Science Spotlight
A star called ‘Earendel’ could be the most distant ever seen
A lucky lineup may have revealed a star that started shining before the universe’s one billionth birthday. This star appears to be the most distant one ever seen. Its light began traveling some 12.9 billion years before it reached Earth. That’s about 4 billion years longer than the former record holder.

Researchers reported the news March 30 in Nature.

The universe includes all things that are found today in space and time. Studying this early starlight could help researchers learn more about what the universe was like when it was very young. It is now about 13.8 billion years old.

The researchers plan to use the recently launched James Webb Space Telescope to examine Earendel more closely. That telescope, also known as JWST, will begin studying the distant universe this summer.

JWST can pick up light from more distant objects than can Hubble. That could help it uncover objects from even farther back in the history of our cosmos. Welch hopes that JWST will find many more such hidden, faraway stars. Indeed, he says, “I’m hoping that this record won’t last very long.”

Read more here.
Top 10 tips on how to study smarter, not longer
“No one ever taught me how to study,” Sana says. College got harder, so she worked to find better study skills. She’s now a psychologist at Athabasca University in Alberta, Canada. There she studies how students can learn better.

Having good study skills is always helpful. But it’s even more important now during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many students worry about family or friends who may get sick, Sana notes. Others feel more general stress. Beyond that, students in many countries are facing different formats for learning. Some schools are holding in-person classes again, with rules for spacing and masks. Others schools have staggered classes, with students at school part-time. Still others have all online classes, at least for a while.

These conditions can distract from your lessons. Plus, students are likely to have to do more without a teacher or parent looking over their shoulders. They will have to manage their time and study more on their own. Yet many students never learned those skills. To them, Sana says, it may be like telling students to learn to swim by “just swimming.”

The good news: Science can help.

For more than 100 years, psychologists have done research on which study habits work best. Some tips help for almost every subject. For example, don’t just cram! And test yourself, instead of just rereading the material. Other tactics work best for certain types of classes.

Read more here.