A meteor streaks across the sky in eastern Russia in this picture released by the Russian Emergency Ministry. Hundreds were injured in the Friday (Feb. 15) morning blast, mostly from falling glass shattered by the shock wave.
The shock wave from the brightest stellar explosion ever seen with the naked eye in recorded history is revealing secrets about the origins of mysterious cosmic rays.
That explosion was seen all over Earth in the spring of 1006. At its peak, supernova SN 1006, which occurred some 7,100 light-years away, was about one-quarter the brightness of the moon, bright enough to cast shadows during the day and for people to read by its light at midnight. Itwas seen above the southern horizon of the night sky, in the constellation Lupus, the Wolf.
[Full Story: Ancient Star Explosion Helps Solve Cosmic Ray Mystery]
Giant black holes are famous for their appetites, but these matter-munching monsters are even greedier than scientists once thought, a new study suggests.
The supermassive black holes that lurk at the center of most (if not all) galaxies are growing surprisingly quickly, the study found. The result implies that these cosmic behemoths are sustained primarily by frequent small meals rather than rare and dramatic galactic mergers, as was previously believed.
[Full Story: Monster Black Holes Grow Surprisingly Fast]
NASA's Mars rover Curiosity has photographed a shiny, metallic-looking object that bears a passing resemblance to a door handle or a hood ornament.
The Curiosity rover has not stumbled onto evidence of an ancient civilization that took the family van to Olympus Mons for vacation, however. The object is simply a rock that the wind has sculpted into an interesting shape, scientists said.
[Full Story: NASA's Curiosity Rover Finds Weird 'Hood Ornament' on Mars]
A bizarre, hermaphrodite sea slug may give new meaning to the word "quickie." The nudibranch uses a disposable penis to have sex more frequently, according to a new study.
The animal, described today (Feb. 12) in the journal Biology Letters, is the first discovered to use an easily regenerated, disposable penis.
[Full Story: Hermaphrodite Sea Slug Mates With Throwaway Penis ]
If this Cupid hit you with an arrow, you'd never feel it — its weapon is a mere fraction of the width of a human hair.
But this tiny Valentine is an example of big technology. Just a few hundred nanometers from foot to bow (a nanometer is a billionth of a meter), Cupid here is made from carbon nanotubules in a process that has been used in fields as diverse as mining and health care.
[Full Story: Cute Cupid Is Year's Tiniest Valentine ]
Seeing the Earth from outer space gives people flying above the planet a new perspective, and no one knows that better than Piers Sellers, a former NASA astronaut who flew three space shuttle missions to the International Space Station.
A new NOVA documentary premiering on PBS Wednesday (Feb. 13) details how satellites have changed the ways scientists like Sellers look at how the Earth works. Called "Earth from Space," the two-hour documentary uses interviews with scientists like Sellers to explain exactly how important satellites are to research today.
[Full Story: Seeing Earth From Space: 6 Questions for Former Astronaut Piers Sellers]
Between secret rendezvous, deleted messages and outright lies, people will go to great lengths to cover up unfaithful acts. But it now seems we aren't unique in our deception — gelada baboons also actively try to hide their infidelity, new research suggests.
"This kind of deception is common in our society, but it is so difficult to prove that any other animal does it," said lead researcher Aliza le Roux, a behavioral ecologist at the University of the Free State in South Africa. "Here's some evidence that we aren't alone in the world in this, and there are evolutionary roots to our behavior."
[Full Story: Gelada Baboons Keep Sexual Infidelity Hush-Hush]
Particle colliders and rare-isotope accelerators not only help scientists understand how the universe was formed. The immense machines can be beautiful, too.
Last September, nearly 400 photographers toured some of the world's leading physics labs to capture the exquisite forms of technology inside. Forty images that came out of the second so-called Particle Physics Photowalk were chosen as finalists, and the InterAction collaboration, which represents the labs, wants your votes for the winner.
[Full Story: Atom-Smashing Photos: Vote For Your Favorite ]
You may have seen pictures of our planet from space, but never quite like this. A new NOVA show on PBS, "Earth from Space," features amazing images captured by satellites used to observe the planet, and these pictures have given scientists a better view and understanding of the Earth than ever before. The NOVA program features photos, videos, computer models and other data that the show's creators have combined to create a comprehensive image of Earth's interconnected ecosystems.
OurAmazingPlanet caught up with NOVA senior executive producer Paula Apsell to hear more about the new program, which debuts Wednesday, Feb. 13, at 9 p.m. ET (8 p.m. Central) on PBS (check local listings).
[Full Story: 'Earth from Space': See the Planet Like Never Before]
Forecasting when stars will die in giant explosions may one day be possible by looking for the warning outbursts they release beforehand, researchers say.
Supernovas are the most powerful stellar explosions in the universe, visible all the way to the edge of the cosmos. These stars detonate for two known reasons: either from gorging on too much mass stolen from a companion star or by running out of fuel and abruptly collapsing.
[Full Story: Supernova Alert! Astronomers Spot Warning Outburst]