In 1797, English scientist Henry Cavendish measured the strength of gravity with a contraption made of lead spheres, wooden rods and wire. In the 21st century, scientists are doing something very similar with rather more sophisticated tools: atoms.
One of the world’s most dangerous volcanoes, Mount Vesuvius, appears to “peer up” into the sky through an eerily circular hole in the clouds in this striking satellite image.
The Operational Land Imager onboard the Landsat-8 satellite snapped the photo, which was released Jan. 10 by NASA’s Earth Observatory. The volcano’s summit caldera — a large bowl-like depression that forms when a volcano erupts and collapses — is clearly visible in the new image, as well as a section of large mountainous ridge to the north, which is a remnant of Mount Somma — an ancient volcano that once stood in the same spot as Mount Vesuvius, before the newer volcano’s cone grew from it’s center.
The Earth seems to inhale and exhale in a new animation that shows how carbon is taken up and released as the seasons change.
The animated continents seem to deflate during summertimes, indicating times and places where vegetation is growing and plants are sucking carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. When it’s winter, the continents seem to inflate, indicating that vegetation is dying off and carbon is being released.
Stalactites and stalagmites decorate caves the world over. Stalactites hang down from the ceiling, while stalagmites rise up from the ground. They grow incredibly slowly, and some are so ancient that they predate modern humans, Live Science previously reported.
These tooth-like rock formations grow when dripping water comes into contact with the cave air, according to the National Park Service website. The water carries dissolved minerals, picked up on its journey from Earth’s surface. As it passes through the cave, it leaves tiny traces of those minerals behind, building each stalactite drip by drip.
A small pile of pebbles is clogging up the Perseverance Mars rover’s operations.
The rover, which is collecting rock samples for eventual return to Earth, began to struggle on Dec. 29, after extracting a core from a rock the mission team nicknamed “Issole.” According to a NASA blog, the problem occurred in the device that transfers the drill bit and sample out of the rover’s drill arm and into a carousel inside the rover’s chassis for storage. During the transfer, sensors within the rover recorded a higher-than-normal amount of friction at an unexpected point in the process.
Multiple sclerosis — an autoimmune disease that affects the brain and spinal cord — may emerge after infection with Epstein-Barr virus (EBV).
An estimated 90% to 95% of people catch EBV, also called human herpesvirus 4, by the time they reach adulthood, according to the clinical resource UpToDate. In children, the virus typically causes an asymptomatic or very mild infection, but in teens and young adults, EBV can cause infectious mononucleosis, better known as “mono.” Despite EBV being a commonly-caught virus, there’s evidence to suggest that infections with the virus are a risk factor for multiple sclerosis, a far less common condition.
A million years ago, the soundtrack of the “sky island” mountains of East Africa may have been very similar to what it is today. That’s because a group of tiny, colorful birds has been singing the exact same tunes for more than 500,000 years — and maybe as long as 1 million years, according to a new study.
Sunbirds in the family Nectariniidae are colorful, tiny, nectar-feeding birds that resemble hummingbirds and are common throughout Africa and Asia. They are the “little jewels that appear before you,” senior author Rauri Bowie, a professor of integrative biology at the University of California, Berkeley, and a curator in the school’s Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, said in a statement.
Doctors have transplanted the heart from a genetically modified pig into the chest of a man from Maryland in a last-ditch effort to save his life. The first-of-its-kind surgery is being hailed as a major step forward in the decades-long effort to successfully transplant animal organs into humans.
Although it’s been tried before — one of the earliest subjects, known as Baby Fae, survived 21 days with a baboon’s heart in 1984, according to Time — the practice has fallen into disuse because the animal organs are usually quickly rejected by their human host.
But doctors say this new transplant is a breakthrough because the donor pig had undergone gene-editing to remove a specific type of sugar from its cells that’s thought to be responsible for previous organ rejections in patients.
About 2,500 years ago, a man in northwest China was buried with armor made of more than 5,000 leather scales, a military garment fashioned so intricately, its design looks like the overlapping scales of a fish, a new study finds.
The armor, which resembles an apron-like waistcoat, could be donned quickly without the help of another person. “It is a light, highly efficient one-size-fits-all defensive garment for soldiers of a mass army,” said study lead researcher Patrick Wertmann, a researcher at the Institute of Asian and Oriental Studies of the University of Zurich.
A hungry badger searching for food seems to have uncovered what turned out to be hundreds of Roman coins in a Spanish cave, according to a new study.
Archaeologists first discovered several coins laying on the ground at the entrance to a small cave in the woodlands outside Grado in northern Spain in April 2021. The researchers suspect that the coins were unearthed by a European badger (Meles meles) from a nearby den after a heavy storm dumped several feet of snow on the ground, making it harder for animals to find food. The hungry badger probably ventured into the cave looking for something to eat but came across the coins instead.
Roughly 3,600 years ago, the massive Thera volcano in the Aegean Sea blew its top, unleashing massive tsunamis. Now, archaeologists in western Turkey have unearthed the bones of a young man and a dog killed by one of those tsunamis.
It’s the first time that any victims of the ancient eruption have been found in their archaeological context, and it’s the northernmost evidence found of the tsunamis that followed it.
The remains of a monstrous, 33-foot-long (10 meters) “sea dragon” that swam in the seas when dinosaurs were alive some 180 million years ago have been unearthed on a nature reserve in England. The behemoth is the biggest and most complete fossil of its kind ever discovered in the U.K.
“It is a truly unprecedented discovery and one of the greatest finds in British palaeontological history,” excavation leader Dean Lomax, a paleontologist and visiting scientist at the University of Manchester, said in a statement.
Though many such ichthyosaurs have been found in the U.K., none have been as large as the current discovery.
Energy saving light bulbs were invented as a greener alternative to traditional bulbs, needing 90% less electricity to produce the same light, according to the Centre of Sustainable Energy. But how do they do it?
As bright ideas go, it’s almost impossible to overstate the impact the humble light bulb has had on human civilization. Before Thomas Edison had the original ‘light bulb moment’ and patented his invention all the way back in 1879 people were literally living in the dark ages, according to the Franklin Institute. People depended on oil or gas lamps and candles to light their rooms and streets, and when the sun went down the world would look much duller than it does today.
(Greg Stewart/SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory)
The ice giants Uranus and Neptune don’t get nearly enough press; all the attention goes to their larger siblings, mighty Jupiter and magnificent Saturn.
At first glance, Uranus and Neptune are just bland, boring balls of uninteresting molecules. But hiding beneath the outer layers of those worlds, there may be something spectacular: a constant rain of diamonds.
Astronomers have watched a giant star blow up in a fiery supernova for the first time ever — and the spectacle was even more explosive than the researchers anticipated.
Scientists began watching the doomed star — a red supergiant named SN 2020tlf and located about 120 million light-years from Earth — more than 100 days before its final, violent collapse, according to a new study published Jan. 6 in the Astrophysical Journal. During that lead-up, the researchers saw the star erupt with bright flashes of light as great globs of gas exploded out of the star’s surface.
(ESA/Gaia/DPAC, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO & T. Müller/J. Syed/MPIA)
Astronomers have discovered what may be the longest structure in the Milky Way: an unusual cloud of hydrogen.
The gigantic structure, which is more than 3,900 light-years long and around 150 light-years wide, is located roughly 55,000 light-years away from the solar system, according to a statement by researchers. (Previously, the largest known clouds of gas in the Milky Way were thought to be about 800 light-years across.) The team named the lengthy cloud “Maggie,” which is short for the Magdalena River, the longest river in Colombia.
Rapid antigen tests for COVID-19 may not reliably detect the omicron variant during the first few days of infection, even when a person is shedding the virus in high enough quantities to be contagious, preliminary evidence hints.
For the new study, posted Wednesday (Jan. 5) to the preprint database medRxiv, researchers looked at 30 people from five different workplaces in New York and California, all of whom tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 in December 2021.
Buried in Australia’s so-called dead heart, a trove of exceptional fossils, including those of trapdoor spiders, giant cicadas, tiny fish and a feather from an ancient bird, reveal a unique snapshot of a time when rainforests carpeted the now mostly-arid continent.
Paleontologists discovered the fossil treasure-trove, known as a Lagerstätte (“storage site” in German) in New South Wales, in a region so arid that British geologist John Walter Gregory famously dubbed it the “dead heart of Australia” over 100 years ago. The Lagerstätte’s location on private land was kept secret to protect it from illegal fossil collectors, while scientists excavated the remains of plants and animals that lived there sometime between 16 million and 11 million years ago.
A group of mysterious, ultradense structures just outside Earth’s core may be the remnants of an ancient interplanetary collision, new research suggests.
These strange structures are known as ultralow-velocity zones (ULVZs), because seismic waves generated by earthquakes travel about 50% more slowly through these zones than through the surrounding mantle. That means the ULVZs are also much denser than the rest of the mantle, and possibly made of heavier elements.
China’s “artificial sun” has set a new world record after superheating a loop of plasma to temperatures five times hotter than the sun for more than 17 minutes, state media reported.
The EAST (Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak) nuclear fusion reactor maintained a temperature of 158 million degrees Fahrenheit (70 million degrees Celsius) for 1,056 seconds, according to the Xinhua News Agency. The achievement brings scientists a small yet significant step closer to the creation of a source of near-unlimited clean energy.
A nuclear-powered U.S. submarine that ran aground in the South China Sea last month collided with an uncharted seamount, according to a U.S. Navy investigation.
The USS Connecticut, a Seawolf-class fast-attack submarine, collided with an unknown object in international waters on Oct. 2, causing minor to moderate injuries to 11 crewmembers, NPR reported. The damaged submarine surfaced and made it to a port in Guam unassisted. The Navy hasn’t disclosed the full extent of the damage, and all the Navy said about the incident at the time was that “it was not another submarine” that had collided with the vessel, The Associated Press reported.
A 79-year-old man named Alan Gosling, who kept pet ducks at his home in Devon, England, recently became the first U.K. resident to catch the H5N1 strain of bird flu, DevonLive reported.
A flock of more than 100 ducks lived outside on Gosling’s property in Buckfastleigh, and after feeding the animals for some time, Gosling brought 20 of the ducks into his home to keep as pets. In December 2021, a few of the ducks in the outdoor flock fell ill, Gosling noticed.
Before Earth and the other planets in our solar system existed, the sun may have been surrounded by giant rings of dust similar to Saturn’s, according to a new study.
Those rings of dust may have prevented Earth from growing into a “super-Earth” — a type of planet that is about twice the size of Earth and up to 10 times its mass, according to NASA. Astronomers have discovered super-Earths orbiting about 30% of sun-like stars in our galaxy.
A fiery new photograph of the Flame Nebula depicts the emissions from brand-new stars, burning through space like cosmic wildfires.
These wildfires don’t actually burn hot — the orange and yellow regions captured in this image are actually only a few tens of degrees warmer than absolute zero, the point at which the movement of atoms and other fundamental particles freezes, according to the European Southern Observatory (ESO). But the emissions are revealing. By pointing the SuperCam instrument aboard the Atacama Pathfinder Experiment in the Chilean desert at this region, researchers were able to discover a brand-new nebula and explore two dusty interstellar clouds, Messier 78 and NGC 2071.
(Shachar Givon, Matan Samina, Prof. Ohad Ben Shahar, Prof. Ronen Segev/BGU)
Fish may not need bicycles, but they seem to like cars.
A supremely weird new video shows a goldfish driving a water-filled, motorized “car” from one end of a room to another, bobbing and weaving to avoid obstacles along the way. Scientists performed the odd experiment to better understand how goldfish navigate terrestrial environments.
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