This is the sun as you've never seen it before. NASA researchers applied extra processing to a sun snapshot taken by the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) to create this trippy image. Loops of plasma are held in place by the sun's strong magnetic fields, concentrated in active regions that are visible to the naked eye as sunspots. This is a look at the sun on Sept. 25, 2011.
Four billion years from now, the Milky Way galaxy as we know it will cease to exist.
Our Milky Way is bound for a head-on collision with the similar-sized Andromeda galaxy, researchers announced today (May 31). Over time, the huge galactic smashup will create an entirely new hybrid galaxy, one likely bearing an elliptical shape rather than the Milky Way's trademark spiral-armed disk.
"We do know of other galaxies in the local universe around us that are in the process of colliding and merging," Roeland van der Marel, of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, told reporters today. "However, what makes the future merger of the Andromeda galaxy and the Milky Way so special is that it will happen to us."
[Full Story: Milky Way Galaxy Doomed to Head-On Crash with Andromeda]
At an upcoming art exhibit, glowing images of heavenly objects — stars, galaxies, nebulae and remnants of supernovae — will have unusual frames: the clear rims of Petri dishes, the sort typically used to grow microbes.
There's no coincidence here. The images of these astronomical structures have been created from the bacterium E. coli, a more typical resident of the cell culture dishes.
[Full Story: Cosmic Art Glows with Fluorescent Bacteria]
After severe spinal cord damage, paralyzed rats are able to walk again with the help of a robot to hold them up and stimulate their nerves, a new study shows.
After the rats are trained on the machine for about two months, they gained the ability to control their hind legs — which had previously been cut off from communicating with the brain — with enough dexterity to climb stairs and navigate around objects. This control means that the brain has forged new connections to get around the spinal cord injury.
[Full Story: Paralyzed Rats Regain Strut in Lab]
It’s not easy looking for life on Jupiter’s moon Europa. Just getting there can be a problem. So scientists would love to find a place on Earth that resembles the sulfur-laden surface of Europa. And now they have.
In a fjord in Canada scientists found a frozen landscape with loads of sulfur where, conveniently, bacteria reside. It doesn’t mean there are microorganisms on Europa, but the newfound environment gives researchers a place to study in advance of a possible future mission to the icy moon.
[Full Story: Strange Arctic Landscape Similar to Jupiter's Moon Europa]
What may have been an exorcism of a vampire in Venice is now drawing bad blood among scientists arguing over whether gravediggers were attempting to defeat an undead monster.
The controversy begins with a mass grave of 16th-century plague victims on the Venetian island of Nuovo Lazzaretto. The remains of a woman there apparently had a brick shoved in her mouth, perhaps to exorcise the corpse in what may have been the first vampire burial known in archaeology, said forensic anthropologist Matteo Borrini of the University of Florence in Italy.
[Full Story: 'Vampire' Plague Victim Spurs Gruesome Debate]
A set of 80-year-old photographs discovered in a basement archive reveals the remarkable sensitivity of Greenland's glaciers to climate change, according to a new study that one scientist called "glaciological research with a splash of Indiana Jones."
The research, published online May 27 in the journal Nature Geoscience, reveals a pattern of stop-and-go melting along Greenland's southeastern coast. Aerial photographs dating back to 1931 show a period of glacier retreat between 1933 and 1943, followed by a cool period of advancing ice until 1972. More recently, most of those gains have been lost as temperatures creep upward.
[Full Story: Lost Photographs Reveal History of Greenland's Glaciers]
Today the Milky Way Galaxy is a relatively quiet place. Our galaxy has grown up, and intense activity seen in other galaxies is a thing of our past. But scientists have long assumed the past was more hectic. A new study finds ghosts of past activity in the form of twin jets spat into space from the Milky Way’s central black hole.
[Full Story: Ghosts of Milky Way's Powerful Past Revealed]
A mummified child in Korea whose organs were relatively well preserved has produced the oldest full viral genome description. A liver biopsy of the mummy
revealed a unique hepatitis B virus (HBV) known as a genotype C2 sequence, which is said to be common in Southeast Asia.
The first discovery of hepatitis in a Korean mummy came in 2007. The new work provided more detailed analysis.
[Full Story: Ancient Mummy Child Had Hepatitis B]
A new photo from a NASA sun-watching spacecraft highlights a huge solar feature that looks a lot like the beloved Big Bird from the children's television show "Sesame Street."
The image, snapped today (June 1) by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) probe, actually shows a so-called coronal hole — an area where the sun's corona, or outer atmosphere, is dark. But the resemblance to Big Bird, or one of his feathered kin anyway, is uncanny.
[Full Story: 'Big Bird' on the Sun Spotted in Spacecraft Photo]
Chunks of glacial ice stand out in brilliant blue at Jokulsarlon, a glacial lagoon in southeast Iceland. The stunning scenery at Jokulsarlon has made it not only a popular tourist attraction, but a top spot for shooting movies. Two James Bond flicks ("A View to a Kill" and "Die Another Day") featured this icy lake, as did "Tomb Raider" and "Batman Begins."
Jokulsarlon is fed by the Breidamerkurjokull glacier, and the lagoon has been growing as the glacier retreats. In the 1970s, Jokulsarlon covered about 3 square miles (8 square kilometers). By 1998, it doubled in size to nearly 6 square miles (15 square km).