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Two Stunning Track Records With Evolving Technological Progress To The Fore

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The unwavering advance of technology continues unabated in athletics as two long-standing world records were obliterated within an hour at the same meeting by runners wearing Nike’s controversial track spikes and guided by pacemaking lights.

At a stadium in Valencia that was almost empty because of coronavirus restrictions, Ugandan Joshua Cheptegei smashed the men’s 10,000m world record on Wednesday, clocking 26min 11.00 sec to slice an astonishing six seconds off the mark set in 2005 by Kenenisa Bekele.

Cheptegei’s performance came after Ethiopia’s Letesenbet Gidey chalked off an equally remarkable four seconds from the previous record for the women’s 5,000m set by Tirunesh Dibaba in 2008. Gidey was timed in 14:06.62.

Two world records in highly competitive events set in one heady hour did not just come about by accident.

They were premeditated and both performances factored in the latest technological advances, something that threatens to produce a rash of new marks, just as swimming had its record book rewritten with the introduction of the full-body suits that were later banned.

Both Cheptegei and Gidey were wearing Nike ZoomX Dragonfly spikes, a super-light shoe with a rigid plate and a unique foam that lends a propulsive sensation to every stride.

Uganda's Joshua Cheptegei beat the men's 10,000m world record previously set in 2005 by Kenenisa Bekele by an astonishing six seconds Uganda’s Joshua Cheptegei beat the men’s 10,000m world record previously set in 2005 by Kenenisa Bekele by an astonishing six seconds Photo: AFP / JOSE JORDAN

Critics claim the shoes are the equivalent of mechanical doping, while supporters hail them as a revolutionary technical advance.

The spikes, nevertheless, are approved by track and field’s governing body.

Not only were the two athletes wearing the controversial Nike spikes, but they had a team of metronomic pacemakers around them who utilised Wavelight technology — a trackside visual time guidance system which lights up to indicate the world record pace.

“It will likely

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Stunning images from Hubble, Chandra, and more reveal value of space telescope teamwork

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What do you get when you put a space telescope to work with another space telescope or two? Amazing compilation images of our universe.

NASA recently highlighted some collaborations between its Chandra X-ray Observatory and other telescopes, particularly the Hubble Space Telescope, showing what sorts of images can be produced when you look at the same object in different wavelengths of light.

Gallery: Amazing nebula photos from Chandra & Hubble

M82

(Image credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC; Optical: NASA/STScI)

The galaxy M82 can be seen edge-on from Earth, allowing scientists a great perspective whenever star formation occurs, since there is little to block our view. Chandra observations, visible in blue and pink, show bursts of high temperatures created when gas is heated by supernova explosions. The Hubble Space Telescope’s optical images (shown in red and orange) reveal the galaxy’s shape.

Abell 2744

(Image credit: NASA/CXC; Optical: NASA/STScI)

The galaxy cluster Abell 2744 includes a lot of superheated gas that glows brightly in X-rays. The X-rays are seen in Chandra data as blue clouds, juxtaposed with the optical light detected by Hubble and shown in red, green and blue. Galaxy clusters are enormous collections of galaxies held together by gravity, and these behemoths teach astronomers about the structure of the universe.

Supernova 1987A (SN 1987A)

(Image credit: Radio: ALMA/ESO/NAOJ/NRAO)/P. Cigan/R. Indebetouw/NRAO/AUI/NSF/B. Saxton; X-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO/PSU/K. Frank et al.; Optical: NASA/STScI)

A supernova explosion that occurred on Feb. 24, 1987, is still producing valuable scientific data a generation later. Telescopes regularly revisit Supernova 1987A to see how its gas and dust morph over the years. Chandra data (in blue) show the shockwave of the supernova hitting a shell roughly four light-years in diameter of material surrounding the exploded star. Hubble’s view also shows some of the interaction in optical wavelengths, shown here in