Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Malin Space Science Systems
When NASA's Jupiter-bound Juno spacecraft zipped around Earth earlier this month, it peered back at our planet for a photo op.
The $1.1 billion Juno mission,…Read More »
which launched in 2011, is taking a long circuitous route to the largest planet in our solar system. The space probe's flyby of Earth on Oct. 9 was intended to give it a speed boost from our planet's gravity and put it on the correct path toward Jupiter.
The twin giant panda cubs born at Zoo Atlanta in July have reached their 100-day mark today (Oct. 23), and they now have names: Mei Lun (may loon) and…Read More »
Mei Huan (may hwaan), which originate from a Chinese idiom that translates to "something indescribably beautiful and magnificent."
The twin giant panda cubs born at Zoo Atlanta in July have reached their 100-day mark today (Oct. 23), and they now have names: Mei Lun (may loon) and Mei Huan (may hwaan), which originate from a Chinese idiom that translates to "something indescribably beautiful and magnificent."
Now that U.S. National Parks are open again, get out and explore!
In the Alabama Hills Recreation Area, one intrepid photographer took an amazing photo…Read More »
of lighting striking over the park's famous rock formations. Despite their name, the Alabama Hills are not actually in Alabama, but about 200 miles (321 kilometers) north of Los Angeles. The Alabama Hills are a range of hills, so to speak, and include rock formations near the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
The Alabama Hills were named after the CSS Alabama, a Confederate battleship. Confederate sympathizers in the hills named their mining claims after the storied Civil War ship. Eventually the name spread to the entire hilly range. A nearby mining district, mountain pass and mountain peak were named after the USS Kearsarge, which sunk the Alabama in 1864.
In the Alabama Hills today, you'll find a different kind of history — ancient rocks. One kind of rock here is a volcanic rock that is 150 million to 200 million years old. The hills are also home to an 82 million- to 85 million-year-old rock that in many locations in the park has weathered into large potato-shaped boulders, many of which stand on end. Dozens of natural arches are also found in the Alabama Hills.
Australia's massive wildfires have sparked billowing pyrocumulus clouds — menacing columns of water vapor and smoke that tower over raging firestorms.
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Just like thunderstorms, the anvil-shaped clouds appear when warm air rises from the ground. But instead of summertime heat spurring the convection, it's the raging fire that forces hot air upward. Higher in the atmosphere, the air then cools, and water vapor condenses into pyrocumulus clouds, explained Glenn Yue, an atmospheric scientist at NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va. Sometimes, the pyrocumulus clouds become storms, with strong winds, lightning and even rain, Yue said.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona/University of Idaho
NASA's Cassini space probe is getting an exceptional look at the vast liquid lakes of Titan's north pole, where dense winter clouds are finally retreating…Read More »
thanks to a change in seasons on Saturn's largest moon.
A clearer view of Titan's wet northern region could provide clues about the moon's hydrologic cycle and the evolution of its seas. New images released by NASA this week even revealed the Titan equivalent of salt flats surrounding its northern lakes, some of which are as big as the Caspian Sea and Lake Superior combined.
Six weeks after devastating floods swept through the Colorado Front Range, scientists are already working to improve their response for next time.
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The effort was slowed slightly by the government shutdown, which put U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and some National Weather Service scientists temporarily out of work soon after the flooding. The process of understanding exactly what happened in the Colorado foothills in September will take time: One major data-collection push is scheduled for next summer.
Credit: V. Tilvi (Texas A&M), S. Finkelstein (UT Austin), the CANDELS team, and HST/NASA
Scientists have discovered the most distant and ancient galaxy ever spotted.
By using data collected by the Hubble Space Telescope and observations from…Read More »
the Keck I telescope at the Keck Observatory in Hawaii, astronomers have now confirmed that the galaxy designated z8_GND_5296 formed within 700 million years after the beginning of the universe, making it the oldest and most distant galaxy ever verified.
A purple, cube-shaped crystal topped sales at a minerals-focused public auction, held Sunday (Oct. 20) in Dallas. The auction house, Heritage Auctions,…Read More »
had expected the specimen, which primarily featured a mineral known as fluorite, to be the top seller. But, at $125,000, the selling price fell short of the $200,000-plus expected by the auction house.
In total, the items for sale— which also included meteorites, fossils and an elephant-bird egg — brought in a little more than $2 million, short of the total gleaned from a similar auction in June, which brought in more than $3.57 million.
The giant panda's immune system is fairly diverse, genetically speaking, suggesting the endangered species may be more resilient to environmental change…Read More »
than previously thought, scientists say.
Biologists estimate that only about 1,500 giant pandas live in the wild today, confined to six isolated mountain ranges in south-central China. Panda fossil remains suggest the charismatic bears once roamed through parts of Burma and northern Vietnam as well, but have since suffered from environmental change and habitat fragmentation, and have been listed as endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature since 1990.