Astronomers studying an unusual black hole system have spotted a never-before-seen structure in the disk of matter encircling the system.
Swift J1357.2, an X-ray binary system that regularly emits outbursts of high energy, consists of a black hole slowly consuming its companion star. Matter from the doomed star falls into the accretion disk, which surrounds the black hole, feeding it dust and gas.
[Full Story: Black Hole's Mystery 'Wave' Surprises Scientists ]
Astronaut Chris Hadfield, the planet's most popular space shutterbug, snapped a spectacular photo of Italy's Mount Etna volcano streaming ash toward the sea early this morning (Feb. 28).
The volcano erupted yesterday (Feb. 27), the latest in a series of strong paroxysms, or short, violent bursts. For the first time, explosions and ash spewed into the air from Mount Etna's Voragine crater, while webcams trained on the fiery summit showed activity at Bocca Nuova crater as well.
[Full Story: Astronaut Snaps Photo of Mount Etna Erupting ]
A ring of radiation previously unknown to science fleetingly surrounded Earth last year before being virtually annihilated by a powerful interplanetary shock wave, scientists say.
NASA's twin Van Allen space probes, which are studying the Earth's radiation belts, made the cosmic find. The surprising discovery — a new, albeit temporary, radiation belt around Earth — reveals how much remains unknown about outer space, even those regions closest to the planet, researchers added.
[Full Story: NASA Discovers New Radiation Belt Around Earth ]
Eyes hooked up to the tail can help blinded tadpoles see, researchers say.
These findings could help guide therapies involving natural or artificial implants, scientists added.
[Full Story: Whoa! Mutant Tadpoles Sprout Eyeballs on Their Tails ]
This winter, flowers bloomed in the northern Canadian city of Winnipeg. But not the verdant blooms that might come to mind; these were frost flowers.
The University of Manitoba opened a sea ice simulator last year to see how ice forms on the open water of the frigid poles, and how it affects the local climate and plant life.
[Full Story: The Arctic in a Pool: Simulator Grows Sea Ice ]
A canyon more than 800-foot-deep has been discovered on the floor of the Red Sea by the U.K. Royal Navy's HMS Enterprise, using an echo sounder that produce 3D images of the feature.
The survey ship was probing the topography of the bottom of the Red Sea as part of a mission to better understand the waters of the Red Sea west of Suez, Egypt, and their safety for shipping and navigation, according to a release from the U.K. Ministry of Defence (MoD).
[Full Story: Huge Canyon Discovered Beneath Red Sea ]
The Pacific leatherback turtle's last population stronghold could disappear within 20 years if conservation efforts aren't expanded, a new study finds.
Most of the Pacific Ocean's leatherback turtles, at least 75 percent, lay their eggs at Bird's Head Peninsula in Papua Barat, Indonesia. The number of leatherback turtle nests at the peninsula's beaches dropped 78 percent between 1984 and 2011, the study discovered.
[Full Story: Pacific Leatherback Turtles' Alarming Decline Continues ]
Scientists have unearthed extraordinarily preserved fossils of a 520-million-year-old sea creature, one of the earliest animal fossils ever found, according to a new study.
The fossilized animal, an arthropod called a fuxhianhuiid, has primitive limbs under its head, as well as the earliest example of a nervous system that extended past the head. The primitive creature may have used the limbs to push food into its mouth as it crept across the seafloor. The limbs may shed light on the evolutionary history of arthropods, which include crustaceans and insects.
[Full Story: 500-Million-Year-Old Sea Creature With Limbs Under Its Head Unearthed ]
The Milky Way's far outer reaches may harbor a shell of stars left over from a long-ago act of galactic cannibalism, a new study suggests.
The finding supports the idea that our Milky Way has continued to grow over the eons by gobbling up smaller satellite galaxies, researchers said. And the results may help astronomers better understand how mass is distributed throughout the galaxy, which could shed light on the mysterious dark matter that's thought to make up more than 80 percent of all matter in the universe.
[Full Story: Hubble Telescope Reveals Milky Way Galaxy's Cannibal Past ]
A rare glimpse of a "gigantic jet" — a huge and mysterious burst of lightning that connects a thunderstorm with the upper atmosphere — was made over China in 2010 and was recently described by scientists.
The gigantic jet took place in eastern China on Aug. 12, 2010 — the farthest a ground-based one has ever been observed from the equator, according to the research team.
[Full Story: 'Gigantic Jet' Lightning Spotted Over China ]