Earth is 2,000 light years closer to the Milky Way’s supermassive black hole than previously thought

A new map of the Milky Way created by the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan shows Earth is spiraling faster and is 2,000 light years closer to the supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy than was previously thought. 

In 1985, the International Astronomical Union announced that Earth was 27,700 light years away from the black hole, named Sagittarius A*. But a 15-year analysis through Japanese radio astronomy project VERA found that the Earth is actually only 25,800 light years away. They also found that Earth is moving 7 km/s faster than they previously believed.

Sagittarius A* and black holes of the like are dubbed “supermassive” for a reason — they are billions of times more massive than the sun. 

But the NAOJ said there is no need to worry, as the latest data does not indicate the planet is “plunging towards the black hole.” It just means there is now a “better model of the Milky Way galaxy.” 

20201126-mizusawa-fig-full.jpg
Position and velocity map of the Milky Way Galaxy. Arrows show position and velocity data for the 224 objects used to model the Milky Way Galaxy. The solid black lines show the positions of the Galaxy’s spiral arms. The colors indicate groups of objects belonging the same arm. The background is a simulation image. 

NAOJ


Using the VERA Astrometry Catalog, scientists created a position and velocity map that lays out the center of the Milky Way galaxy and the objects that reside within. The first VERA Astrometry Catalog was published this year and includes data for 99 objects. 

Positioning indicates that Earth orbits the Galactic Center, where the black hole is located, at 227 km/s. Astronomers originally thought the orbit was at a speed of 220 km/s.

“Because Earth is located inside the Milky Way Galaxy, we can’t step back and see what the Galaxy looks like from the outside,” NAOJ said in a press statement. “Astrometry, accurate measurement of the positions and motions of objects, is a vital tool to understand the overall structure of the Galaxy and our place in it.”

VERA, Very Long Baseline Interferometry Exploration of Radio Astrometry, was created in 2000 and uses interferometry to aggregate data from radio telescopes located throughout Japan. Through the project, scientists can create the same resolution as a 2,300 km diameter telescope, which “is sharp enough in theory to resolve a United States penny placed on the surface of the moon,” NAOJ said. 

NAOJ scientists are hoping to gather data on even more objects, with a focus on those that are close to Sagittarius A*. 

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3 Ways To Move On In Your Career After A Bad Job Experience

How can I psyche myself up to do a job search? I am still so angry at my former employer. I’m afraid it will come across in an interview. And, I’m also having a really hard time writing accomplishment statements as I feel like my work was not valued at all. – Marion

Marion’s question encapsulates the multiple reasons why a bad experience in your last job can negatively impact your career going forward. That said, your career is more than just one job. For most people, you hold more than one job and work with more than one employer over the course of your career. Even if you stay in one company your whole career, what you do outside your day-to-day job (e.g., professional memberships, volunteer activity), your individual skills and expertise and your training and education also make an impact.

If your most recent job left you angry, undervalued or [insert negative feeling here], it’s critical that you proactively prevent this one negative from dragging the rest of your career down. Here are three steps you can take to move on in your career after a bad job experience:

1 – Structure your job search so you are not relying on motivation alone

Marion pointed out how difficult it can be to get psyched for a job search because of lingering negative feelings about the last job. However, even if you liked your last job, you still probably won’t enjoy a job search, given how frustrating, disappointing, anxiety-inducing and time-consuming in can be. You don’t want to rely on motivation to get your job search done.

The fix? Structure your day, weeks and months ahead to ensure you do your job search activities whether or not you feel like it. Make a clear list of what you need to do and deadlines for time-sensitive tasks. Create a routine for when you are going to tackle different things. Enlist an accountability partner to keep you on track. By building a structure for how your job search will get done you ensure that your search continues even when your motivation wanes.

2 – Practice talking about your last job till it no longer bothers you

Bad feelings about your last job will come out in interviews and negatively impact your performance, unless you get to a point where you can talk about your last job unemotionally and ideally positively. Your next employer will definitely ask about your most recent job and why you left that job. Some interviewers dig deeper when they sense you are uncomfortable about something, and some interviewers are just hostile or mean. You need a game plan for handling the hostile interview and certainly for handling reasonable inquiry into your last work experience and why you left.

The fix? Plan in advance for how you will explain why you left. If you were laid off, keep it factual and concise. If you didn’t like your boss,

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Earth just got 2,000 light-years closer to Milky Way’s supermassive black hole

At the center of the our galaxy there’s a supermassive black hole called Sagittarius A*. It has a mass roughly 4 million times that of our sun.



Earth is a little closer to the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way than we believed. NAOJ


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Earth is a little closer to the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way than we believed. NAOJ

Great news! It turns out scientists have discovered that we’re 2,000 light-years closer to Sagittarius A* than we thought.

This doesn’t mean we’re currently on a collision course with a black hole. No, it’s simply the result of a more accurate model of the Milky Way based on new data.

Over the last 15 years, a Japanese radio astronomy project, VERA, has been gathering data. Using a technique called interferometry, VERA gathered data from telescopes across Japan and combined them with data from other existing projects to create what is essentially the most accurate map of the Milky Way yet. 



Earth is a little closer to the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way than we believed.


© NAOJ

Earth is a little closer to the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way than we believed.


By pinpointing the location and velocity of around 99 specific points in our galaxy, VERA has concluded that the supermassive black hole Sagittarius A, at the center of our galaxy, is actually 25,800 light-years from Earth — almost 2,000 light-years closer than what we previously believed. 

In addition, the new model calculates Earth is moving faster than we believed. Older models clocked Earth’s speed at 220 kilometers (136 miles) per second, orbiting around the galaxy’s centre. VERA’s new model has us moving at 227 kilometers (141 miles) per second.

Not bad!

VERA is now hoping to increase the accuracy of its model by increasing the amount of points it’s gathering data from by expanding into EAVN (East Asian VLBI Network) and gathering data from a larger suite of radio telescopes located throughout Japan, Korea and China. 

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Earth just got 2,000 light years closer to Milky Way’s supermassive black hole

20201126-mizusawa-fig

Earth is a little closer to the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way than we believed.


NAOJ

At the centre of the our galaxy there’s a supermassive black hole called Sagittarius A*. It has a mass roughly 4 million times that of our Sun.

Great news! It turns out scientists have discovered that we’re 2,000 light years closer to Sagittarius A* than we thought.

This doesn’t mean we’re currently on a collision course with a black hole. No, it’s simply the result of a more accurate model of the Milky Way based on new data.

Over the last 15 years, a Japanese radio astronomy project, VERA, has been gathering data. Using a technique called interferometry, VERA gathered data from telescopes across Japan and combined them with data from other existing projects to create what is essentially the most accurate map of the Milky Way yet. 

By pinpointing the location and velocity of around 99 specific points in our galaxy, VERA has concluded the supermassive black hole Sagittarius A, at the centre of our galaxy, is actually 25,800 light-years from Earth — almost 2,000 light years closer than what we previously believed. 

In addition, the new model calculates Earth is moving faster than we believed. Older models clocked Earth’s speed at 220 kilometers (136 miles) per second, orbiting around the galaxy’s centre. VERA’s new model has us moving at 227 kilometres (141 miles) per second.

Not bad!

VERA is now hoping to increase the accuracy of its model by increasing the amount of points it’s gathering data from. By expanding into EAVN (East Asian VLBI Network) and gathering data from a larger suite of radio telescopes located throughout Japan, Korea and China. 

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4 ways to help a college student find a career | Natasha Frost

Your college-age son or daughter, statistically speaking, is likely clueless about the vast range of careers on offer in the world.

Oh sure, they know what you and the spouse do, we hope, and maybe have in mind a half-dozen occupations they’ve either come into contact with or admired from afar. A survey of 600,000 teens by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development found them narrowly focused on a tiny handful of occupations, from the plausible (teacher, doctor, engineer) to significantly more unlikely (designer, actor, professional musician).

If your kid is approaching college age, or already enrolled, you may have wished your heavy lifting — helping with the algebra homework, critiquing the essays — was over. But now, if you value your current or future status as a happy empty-nester (that couch; all that’s in your refrigerator; honestly, your liquor cabinet), your job is to help acquaint your adult child with the working world in all its complex glory.

Yes, it’s quite possible that your offspring isn’t taking your suggestions quite like they did a few years ago, and it might seem more comfortable to let them work all this out on their own. Unless they’re already dialed in to a high-demand, higher-income vocational track — nursing, premed, engineering, computer science — don’t. The country is awash in underemployed liberal arts grads, and you want to help your kid avoid a similar fate.

This list will get you and them started finding a satisfying career.

Get a job now. No matter how demanding the field of study your child is in, they should be working part-time during college. To learn to show up on time. Do what’s asked. Work with others no matter how annoying they are. It matters less what job they do at this point and, in fact, having a crummy job is a great motivator to seek a good one in the future.

Discover occupations. It’s fine to say, “Dear, ask your Uncle Al about his work as a CPA.” But it’s best to be more systematic. Bloomberg, the world’s largest business news organization, and its fabulous weekly magazine, Bloomberg Businessweek, feature countless companies you and your child have probably never heard of, and those firms have jobs you’ve likely never imagined. Make it a monthly conversation (you can save up a few articles on interesting employers) to discuss what each of you has read.

Businessweek costs $99 a year, so $198 for the two of you. It’s old-fashioned to subscribe to a print publication, but having the thing land in your or your offspring’s mailbox weekly will prod you to have a look. Sound expensive? Think of the $100,000 to $200,000 you’re likely shelling out for college.

The yearly Bloomberg 50 list (Google it) profiles fast-growing employers whose business is often part of a large economic trend. Learn about legal cannabis, direct to consumer retail, the booming world of batteries and more.

And about that liberal arts major. It’s OK — even tech companies hire

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Four Ways Parents Can Help Launch Recent College Grads’ Careers

Co-Founder of Early Stage Careers, providing tailored career guidance exclusively to college students, recent grads and 20-somethings.

For early careerists, the current job marketplace presents unique difficulties, and many have been unable to immediately launch their careers after graduating college. Parents of these job seekers face a similarly challenging situation: They want to see their adult children successfully launch their careers, but many do not understand how to effectively support them through this process.

With the holidays approaching — and pandemic restrictions still in place — parents and job seekers may be spending time together, so it’s vital for parents to understand the important role they play in this process.

Here are four ways parents can help their early careerist get hired.

1. Recognize today’s reality.

It’s vital for parents to understand that the hiring landscape for early careerists has changed dramatically since they sought their first jobs. Recruiters no longer travel in droves to college campuses, and in-person recruitment has been majorly impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

While it was not uncommon for college students to choose from a number of job offers a few decades ago, it is far more common for today’s college students to graduate without an employment offer in hand. Similarly, on-the-job training is becoming less and less common: Today’s entry-level hires are often expected to contribute on day one, and a job seeker may need to do additional skill-building through internships and/or coursework before they’re even considered for a job — a degree is simply no longer enough.

Even those parents who have recently embarked on their own job search must understand that the hiring process is very different for senior- and executive-level employees than it is for those just launching their careers.

2. Counsel with compassion.

Parents should not see an immediate lack of employment as failure. They should manage their expectations for their young adult’s job search — it may take time as they build the skills and experience needed to secure employment.

Instead of lecturing their early careerist on next steps, a parent should strive to practice active listening. Ask open-ended questions, practice active curiosity, and fight the urge to drive the job search.

Remember, a parent’s purpose in this process is not to provide a solution. Above all, parents should strive to engage and empathize with their adult child, especially as rejection is a natural part of the process that can challenge an early careerist’s resilience.

3. Practice ‘rolo-dexterity.’

The arena of networking provides an avenue for parents to aid in their early careerist’s job search more actively. Parents can practice “rolo-dexterity” by providing a few key contacts for a young job seeker to contact.

It’s important to be intentional when opening your network to an early careerist — this is where the dexterity comes in. Providing a twenty-something with the entire list of contacts you’ve developed over a multiple-decades-long career is likely to be more overwhelming than helpful. Choose one or two people who you think might

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Six Ways To Write A Press Release That Gets Noticed

By Jon Clark, managing partner at Moving Traffic Media, a digital agency in Westchester, NY offering PPC, display and SEO services.

A well-written press release is an introduction to your company and increases your visibility as an industry expert within your community and beyond. You can create a brilliant press release even if you didn’t do great in your composition class. 

These are the six facets of a well-written press release. Falling short on just one could have a negative effect on your success. Luckily, there are simple steps to follow.

The Most Important Question

Does this really deserve a press release? A press release highlights the story. It’s newsworthy and contains information with wide audience appeal. It probably isn’t about your brand, and it isn’t geared toward a niche market segment. It also has facts, figures, findings and a hook

Press release-worthy events include breaking industry news, an industry or community event, or the launch of a new product or service. They can also the publication of original research, winning a prestigious award, partnering with another company on a project, a change in your executive staff or even sometimes company rebranding.

If you don’t have these things, then you probably don’t have a press release. 

The Big Three

A great press release starts with a strong, attention-grabbing subject line, an opening paragraph that summarizes the subject and language that cuts to the chase (this isn’t creative writing).

Many press releases are skipped after a simple glance at the subject line. To write a subject line that will get your email opened, you should personalize when possible. Be casual but professional, and avoid tired attention-grabbing tactics like all caps, exaggerated claims and emoticons.

The Power Of Paragraph One

The first paragraph needs to contain the most important information because chances are your audience is only going to skim the rest. If there are current statistics or recent findings that support the subject of your press release, get them in the first paragraph. It’s easier to skim, so use bullet points of key takeaways to make the press release easier to read and to hold your audience’s interest. 

The Background Work

You’re more likely to create a mutually beneficial, ongoing relationship with the press if you’re viewed as a credible source. Always source your facts and statistics using credible citations because it makes it easy to check the validity of your claims. It also saves journalists and your general audience time and builds a reputation of credibility.

If you’re the source of the data, make that clear, and briefly define how your facts and numbers came about.

The Funnel Of Information

If you’re struggling to come up with a press release template, don’t worry. You can find plenty of them online. Some are even tailored to specific industries. But if you keep the “funnel of information” in mind, you have everything you need to format your press release. 

The funnel, or inverted pyramid, is the outline of your press

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6 Ways To Level The Playing Field

Companies are seeking ways to level the playing field when it comes to diversity and inclusion amongst employees. Here are a few ways to level the playing field that can be implemented in companies to ensure underrepresented groups of people are provided with equal opportunities.

1.   Hire from a diverse talent pool

In order to level the playing field, it is important to talk about hiring black talent. To do this it is important that companies train hiring managers to recruit fairly from a diverse pool of candidates . It is important that companies hire people based on their abilities and value to the job role rather than their physical appearance and making assumptions. 

2.   Board of directors

Having a diverse board of directors is extremely important for all companies. There needs to be diversity across the ranks especially at the highest positions. By having this, this will lead to workforce diversity and positive business performance. By having a diverse board of directors this shows the businesses commitment to searching and recruiting incredible talent regardless of the persons race. Board directors are also the most influential in the company so by being diverse and sharing different opinions from individuals with different backgrounds, this leads to excellent business decision making which impacts the overall workplace and bottom line.

3.   Training

In the workplace there are many ways employers can implement race equality in their organisations :

–          There should be a clear zero tolerance policy to racism and how this would be dealt with in the company if racism occurs. This is something that has to be communicated throughout the whole organisation and taken seriously.

–         Employees must be trained in how to handle situations considered to be racist – if they experience or witness it.

–         It is also important to ensure that senior staff always take action and follow through if there are any signs of harassment and racism.

Most importantly, workplaces need to implement mandatory training on race equality that has to be completed by all staff.

4.   Mentoring

Mentoring is a vital aspect in the workplace when retaining diverse talent. Mentors play a huge role in the progression of the employees’ role and help them throughout their career. It is important that there are mentorship programs available and that employees from underrepresented backgrounds are able to find and be informed about getting a mentor when they are working.

5.   Fair recruitment

Fair recruitment is important in the workplace and needs to be implemented so that everyone has the same chance of gaining a new role. When recruiting new talent, it is extremely important that potential candidates are judged on their abilities rather than their characteristics. This method has to be carried out from the initial application stage to when they are employed to ensure their

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Four Ways To Zoom Out For Bigger Vision And Greater Impact

Is your goal for the week to plow through your email and to-do list? While being goal-oriented is generally helpful, laser focus on a checklist can result in forgoing the larger impact of seeing and doing the right things.

Head of sales for a 7,000-person, manufacturing company, Larry’s legendary productivity earned him the nickname, “The Machine.” His daily yield of items outstripped the contributions of other team members. Yet one day, Larry’s CEO confronted him with a moment of reckoning. In his singular focus on getting things done, Larry had undermined multiple big-picture efforts. While many team members were struggling with the Covid-19 pandemic and transition to remote work, he pressured them to toughen up and double down, threatening “changes” if results didn’t follow. In his rush to close new prospects, he had short-changed a current customer. He missed a key market indicator while heads down on the daily deliverables.

Larry realized he needed to reset. During coaching sessions, we discussed the importance of periodically zooming out to gain perspective and create space for reflection. Larry needed a broader view of his impact on his team and the bigger trends and strategic shifts affecting the business. Several of his relationships with co-workers were on shaky ground because of his single-minded focus on delivering more tangible results. He would have to adjust his habitual pattern of immediate action to allow for sustained reflection.

The blank spaces in written communication are critical to understanding; similarly, the space created when we stop acting and start reflecting is essential to big picture comprehension. We have to create this space. It doesn’t automatically present itself. Any of the following four types of reflective activities can help you reclaim your perspective. Choose a mode (or two) of reflection best suited to your desired outcome.

1.      Learning. Reflect on a significant event that occurs each week using these questions: a) what was the situation; b) what was my role; c) what am I learning; and d) how will I apply my insights going forward? This pause in the action provides space to process a significant event and introspect for personal insights before the specifics recede in the rearview mirror. One of my clients has a leadership development program where I coach groups of six people for ten months. Utilizing this weekly format, participants experience new realizations, share the results of their reflections with peers, and benefit from replaying the action from additional vantage points. 

2.      Planning. Review each week’s entire activities and plan for the following week using these prompts: a) successes last week; b) failures last week; c) distractions last week; d) lessons learned; e) priorities for this week. This template keeps you accountable to your biggest priorities while highlighting smarter future objectives based on lessons learned.

3.      Habit changing. If you’ve repeatedly tried to break the same bad habit or adopt a healthy one, consider a fact-based approach instead of revisionist history. Use a Yes List to track

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4 Ways to Reward Employees When Cash Is Tight

Salary is, without a doubt, a key factor in attracting, gratifying, and retaining employees. But as important as financial compensation is, it is not the sole source of employee satisfaction and fulfillment. For some, it’s not even the main source. This is good news for businesses who need to tighten their purse strings.

While financial rewards provide external encouragement, according to Carl Greenberg, Ph.D., founder of Pragmatic HR, non-monetary rewards that show employees they are appreciated, valued members of your organization help build their self-esteem. This enhances intrinsic motivation, which has been scientifically proven to have a positive impact; data from McKinsey’s Organizational Health Index found employees who are intrinsically motivated to be 32 percent more committed to their job, have 46 percent higher job satisfaction, and perform 16 percent better than other employees.

Here are some suggestions for how to reward employees in ways that are meaningful but won’t break the bank.

Feedback and Engagement

I think it’s fair to say that most people want to feel seen and heard, and it’s as true in the workplace as it as at home.

Consider hosting a face-to-face or virtual feedback lunch where commendable employees have an opportunity to share and receive feedback on their ideas and concerns. A growing trend in virtual meetings is having a meal delivered to attendees’ homes, a tactic used to both delight individuals and address the collective challenge of finding time to eat during busy workdays.  Back in June, Uber for Business launched Vouchers for Uber Eats, which lets businesses customize meal plans for employees and customers, whether it’s a one-on-one meeting or a 1,000-person virtual event. 

Others options that can demonstrate your confidence and investment in an employee include providing them with one-on-one mentoring, nominating them for an industry award, or inviting all senior team members to share–in a note or video recording–what that individual brings to the organization and present the compilation to the employee.

Flexibility 

According to data from career site Comparably, of 2,248 employees from small, midsize, and large public and private U.S. companies surveyed, 39 percent identified being a micromanager as the worst trait a boss can have. Correspondingly, data from global staffing firm Robert Half showed that, of more than 2,800 professionals surveyed from 28 major U.S. cities, nearly half (49 percent) have quit a job due to a bad boss. 

Allowing more flexibility in an employee’s schedule or role is a great way to show them that they are a trusted member of the organization. Whether this means they are deciding what time their workday starts or ends, choosing how often they telecommute, or allocating tasks and pace of work, putting them in the driver’s seat can make a big impact on how they feel about their work. In addition to potentially increasing morale, this move could also improve employee retention.

Autonomy

Researchers from the University of Birmingham studied two years’ worth of data on 20,000 workers to determine the effects of autonomy on employee morale and well-being.

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