The moon sets over Chief Mountain on the eastern border of Glacier National Park, Mont. The mountain rises abruptly from the surrounding plains, earning…Read More »
it the name "Tower Mountain" from the Lewis and Clark Expedition. It was later renamed to honor the original Blackfoot monikor, "Great Chief."
Chief Mountain is a geological feature called a klippe. It was once part of a larger slab of tock thrust over this area of the Montana-Canada border by a fault. The rest of the slab gradually eroded away, leaving this 9,080-foot (2,768 m) tall holdout standing in isolation. Less «
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Cracks in the Ice
Credit: NASA Earth Observatory
A spidery series of cracks mars the sea ice off the coast of Alaska in this picture taken by the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership satellite. According…Read More »
to NASA Earth Observatory, a high-pressure system hovering over the region in late January brought warm temperatures and southwesterly winds, which in turn fueled ocean currents that fractured the ice. February storms later fueled the fracturing. Less «
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Credit: Courtesy Stephanie Pappas, LiveScience
Clouds encroach over the plains in this picture taken from an airplane just east of Denver on the afternoon of April 8, 2013. The storm system moved across…Read More »
the state, bringing spring snows and sending temperatures plummeting. In two hours Monday evening, the temperature in Denver dropped from a spring-like 68 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius) down to 42 degrees F (5.5 degrees C). By 5:20 a.m. on Tuesday, Denver was shivering in mere 16 degree F (-8.8 degree C) temperatures. Less «
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Spiking Out to Settle Down
Credit: Brian Gaylord/UC Davis
Sea urchin larvae begin their transformation into adulthood by sprouting spikes. These microscopic larvae ply the tides for about a month before settling…Read More »
down on rocky shorelines. New research published April 8, 2013 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences finds that high turbulence near rocky reefs gives larvae a clue to start searching for a grown-up home. The turbulence signals keeps larvae from wasting their time looking for rocks on sandy beaches. Less «
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Light in the Dark
In microgravity, flames behave differently than here on Earth. This beautiful blue bubble is part of a combustion experiment conducted aboard the International…Read More »
Space Station by astronaut Chris Cassidy. The goal was to learn how different fuels burn in space in order to develop better strategies for extinguishing fires in microgravity. Cassidy took this image on April 10, 2013. Less «
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Bad News for Bats
Credit: Darwin Brock
Bad news for everyone's favorite flying mammals: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has confirmed that bats at Fern Cave National Wildlife Refuge in Alabama…Read More »
have white-nose syndrome. The disease is a fungus that grows on hibernating bats, causing them to exhibit often-fatal behavior such as flying outside in cold weather. In eastern North America alone. 5.7 million to 6.7 million bats have died of white-nose syndrome.
Fern Cave is the winter home for multiple bat species, including the largest documented colony of gray bats, which are federally endangered. So far, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had detected the syndrome in two groups of tri-colored bats in the cave. Less «
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What in the World?
Credit: Dekker Lab, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.
Here's a hump day guessing game for the visually inclined: What is this odd black-and-white object? Helpful hint: It acts something like your nose.
…Read More »
Are all the guesses in? This is an ultra-close look at a moth antenna. Male moths use their antennae to detect pheromones from females, which travel through the air in plumes (look out, your porch light may be surrounded). A new study published April 15, 2013 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that male moths aren't perfect at sniffing out the chemicals in these plumes, so they sometimes mate with strains of moths they wouldn't otherwise approach. The finding explains the number of hybrid moths in nature. Less «
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Credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (AURA/STScI)
This new Hubble image, which was captured and released on April 19, 2013, to celebrate the orbiting telescope’s 23rd year in orbit, reveals part of the…Read More »
sky in the constellation of Orion (The Hunter).
The Hubble observatory, which launched on April 24, 1990, captured the Horsehead Nebula (also known as Barnard 33) rising like a giant seahorse from the turbulent waves of gas and dust in this stunning infrared light image. "The result is a rather ethereal and fragile-looking structure, made of delicate folds of gas — very different to the nebula’s appearance in visible light," mission officials wrote in an image description Friday (April 19). Less «
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Amazing Electromagnetic Winds
The interaction between the sun and Earth isn't limited to light. This artist's conception shows how electromagnetic solar winds influence the Earth's…Read More »
magnetosphere and upper atmosphere. University of Texas at Arlington physicist Yue Deng is currently studying these solar winds and how their energy is distributed in the atmosphere.
"Right now, estimation of the amount of energy entering the Earth's thermosphere is not very precise and can be underestimated by 100 percent. We know even less about how that energy is distributed," Deng said in a March 11, 2013 statement. "This information is critical because if you put the same amount of energy at 400 kilometers the impact can be 100 times larger than if you put it at 100 kilometers." Less «
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Credit: J.A. Peñas - SINC.
This dinosaur mama has quite the brood to prepare for. An artist's reconstruction of Ampelosaurus shows this titanosaurian sauropod laying a clutch of…Read More »
eggs. These dinosaurs, which hailed from the Late Cretaceaous in Europe, would have measured about 50 feet (15 m) long from nose to tail.
Dinosaur eggs are big news in Spain, where paleontologists have just announced the discovery of eggs from four species of dinosaur in Lleida. Previously, only one type of dinosaur egg had been documented — now there are five, researchers report in the March 2013 issue of the journal Cretaceous Research. Less «
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Arctic Through a Porthole
Credit: Fabien Darrouzet, Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy (BIRA-IASB), distributed by EGU under a Creative Commons License
A view of the icy Arctic at Svalbard, an archipelago halfway between Norway and the North Pole. Sixty percent of these remote islands are covered by glacial ice.
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Credit: NASA, ESA
An unexpected and unexplained stellar flash echoes 20,000 light years from Earth in the constellation Monoceros (the Unicorn), looking like a peering red…Read More »
eye. This is V838 Mon, a star that abruptly expanded in January 2002, temporarily becoming the brightest star in the Milky Way galaxy. The stellar flash faded just as quickly as it appeared, a phenomenon never observed before. The Hubble image above shows light from the flash moving outward from the star, reflected in the interstellar dust surrounding V838 Mon. Less «
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Down By the Bay
Credit: NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory Photojournal
Baytown, Tex., home to the largest oil refinery in the United States, shows up in brilliant red in this image from NASA's Terra satellite. The instrument…Read More »
that snapped this image combines multiple wavelengths of light to represent water in blue, buildings and pavement in beige and gray and vegetation in red, according to NASA's Earth Observatory.
The refinery covers 5 square miles (13 square kilometers) near the mouth of the San Jacinto River (it stands out in beige here and continues on the south shore of the river). Less «
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The Baby Universe
Credit: ESA and the Planck Collaboration
Awww, look at its little cheeks! Okay, the universe's baby photo isn't as cute as some, but it shows the seeds of today's stars and galaxies. This map…Read More »
of the universe, acquired by the European Space Agency's Planck space telescope, shows cosmic microwave background, the radiation left over from the Big Bang. In other words, this is a snapshot of the oldest light in the universe.
Temperature fluctuations in this cosmic microwave background reveal density differences that would eventually coalesce into galaxies and stars. The new look at the old universe also provides a more refined age estimate for the universe: 13.82 billion years. [See More: Best Telescopes for Beginners] Less «
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Credit: Owen Shieh, University of Hawaii
A graceful three-layered cloud structure develops over the Indian Ocean in this award-winning photo snapped in 2011. As part of a projected called DYNAMO,…Read More »
researchers are studying the dynamics of the Madden-Julian Oscillation, a travelling atmospheric pattern over the Indian and Pacific Oceans. The pattern creates anomalous phases of tropical rain and then unusual dryness in patterns lasting a month or two. Understanding this pattern helps scientists build better models for climate and weather. [Read More: Best Digital Cameras for Stunning Shots] Less «
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Credit: Bao D, Gong M, Zheng H, Chen M, Zhang L, et al. (2013) Sequencing and Comparative Analysis of the Straw Mushroom (Volvariella volvacea) Genome. PLoS ONE 8(3): e58294. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0058294
Volvariella volvacea, the edible straw mushroom, is a major food source in Asia. Researchers writing in the …Read More »
journal PLOS ONE recently sequenced the genome of this mushroom in order to help improve cultivation techniques. Less «
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Credit: Fred Kruijen
Know your minerals? Here's a hint: This one is far from rare, but typically overlooked. It's also used in ceramics and paints.
Made your guesses? This…Read More »
is rutile, a mineral made of titanium dioxide. It's named after the Latin rutilus, which means red. Researchers at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden announced March 25, 2013 that they have a new method that can track the origin of rutile from even the tiniest grains. But most people will likely be more interested in where rutile ends up: It's the mineral responsible for turning regular sapphires, rubies and other precious stones into "star" gems. Rutile impurities in a stone create lined patterns that look like shining stars when cut. Star gems are rarer (and pricier) than their unstarry counterparts. Less «
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Colorado and the Southwest are known for beautiful views, but they look even more amazing from space. This astronaut snapshot from the International Space…Read More »
Station reveals the Colorado Plateau, made up of northern Arizona, southern Utah, northwestern New Mexico and southwestern Colorado. Here, the Colorado River crosses from east to west, meeting the San Juan River. (East is to the left in this photo, as the view is toward the south.) Less «
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Solar Prominence March 16 2013
Credit: Solar Dynamics Observatory/NASA
A solar prominence began to bow out and the broke apart in a graceful, floating style in a little less than four hours on March 16, 2013.
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Credit: Vira V. Artym, LCDB/NIDCR
This shot may look like a far-off alien galaxy, but it's quite close to home. Using fluorescent dyes and a laser-scanning confocal microscope, researchers…Read More »
captured this image of an embryonic smooth muscle cell. Smooth muscle is the muscle not under voluntary control, such as the muscle lining the gut. Here, the structural underpinning, or cytoskeleton, of the cell glows in green. Less «
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Glittering Big Apple
New York, New York … The city that never sleeps shines into space at night in this snapshot taken by a member of the Expedition 35 crew on the International…Read More »
Space Station. Manhattan runs from left to right in the center of the frame, with Central Park visible as a dark rectangle in the center of the island. Less «