The five Great Lakes, in all their glory, barely peek out from the veil of clouds and whooshing snowfall above them in a new satellite image captured…Read More »
Monday (Jan. 6) as the Arctic's polar vortex barreled southward.
NOAA's GOES-East satellite snapped this Midwest "whiteout" of sorts at 3:15 p.m. EST (2015 UTC), before sunset, providing side illumination to the clouds and lake-effect snow, which forms when cold air moves over warmer lake waters. That warm water evaporates and heats up the lowest layer of air; since warm air is less dense than cold air, it rises and begins to cool. The result? The water vapor condenses into clouds and falls as snow, sometimes as huge amounts of snow in these "lake-effect" bands.
Marine tubeworms start their lives as floating blobs that drift through the ocean looking for a spot to take up residence as sedentary juveniles. Now,…Read More »
researchers have found the gelatinous larvae need a nudge from pointy bacterial structures to metamorphose.
In recent years, scientists have found that many seafloor creatures — including some species of coral, sea urchins and tubeworms — require bacteria to go through metamorphosis. But researchers haven't understood exactly what bacteria do to instigate this important transition.
A new four-year study of tiger sharks off the coast of Australia has revealed patterns in the animals' mysterious migratory wanderings, including curious…Read More »
differences based on the gender and age of the sharks.
The study, led by Jonathan Werry, a researcher at Griffith University in Australia, tracked 33 tiger sharks (Galeocerdo cuvier) using satellite and acoustic transmitters as they traveled across the Coral Sea, which lies between the Great Barrier Reef, off the east coast of Australia, and the Pacific island of New Caledonia. The sharks ranged in length from 5 feet (1.5 meters) to nearly 13 feet (4 m).
Well-camouflaged, neutral-colored fish may appear drab to the naked eye, but many actually live secret lives cloaked in flamboyantly bright colors visible…Read More »
only to other fish, new research suggests.
Lots of marine animals — including certain fish, jellies and plankton — glow colors that are visible to the human eye through a chemical process called bioluminescence. Animals also produce bright colors that are not visible to the human eye, through a process called biofluorescence, in which electrons within certain proteins absorb light at one wavelength and then re-emit it at a lower-energy wavelength. With special filters, humans can see this fluorescence appear as bright red, green or orange light.
Religion and astronomy may not overlap often, but a new NASA X-ray image captures a celestial object that resembles the "Hand of God."
The cosmic "hand…Read More »
of God" photo was produced when a star exploded and ejected an enormous cloud of material, which NASA's Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, or NuSTAR, glimpsed in high-energy X-rays, shown in blue in the photo. NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory had imaged the green and red parts previously, using lower-energy X-rays.
Who do you call when your coral-reef neighborhood starts going downhill? The goby fish. These inch-long, biotic hedge trimmers enjoy nothing more than…Read More »
removing toxic algae from the knobby skyscraper villages erected by Acropora coral. Good thing, too. Without the gobies' compulsive cleaning, the alga commonly known as turtleweed can severely damage a coral reef through bleaching.
"The gobies are very defensive about their territory. They live in this coral their entire lives and feel like this is their house," says Mark Hay, a Georgia Institute of Technology biologist who studies the unique relationship shared by the gobies, algae and coral.
In this ridiculously cute new video from the Toronto Zoo, a 2-month-old baby polar bear takes his first shaky steps.
Weighing just 1.5 lbs. (700 g) when…Read More »
he was born on Nov. 9, 2013, the cub has grown to 9.7 lbs. (4.4 kg), according to the zoo. Among his other recent milestones, the bear has started to teethe and grow more fur and whiskers; he's even started lapping up milk from a bowl instead feeding exclusively from a bottle, zoo officials say.
Twenty-two century-old images of Antarctica have been developed for the first time in New Zealand, providing a glimpse of the historic exploration of…Read More »
the southernmost continent.
Damaged negatives pulled from Capt. Robert Falcon Scott's last expedition base at Cape Evans on Antarctica's Ross Island reveal landscapes and icebergs from between 1914 and 1917 — and one striking portrait of an expedition geologist.
Emperor penguins may be one of the most awkward birds on land, but it turns out they can clamber up Antarctica's steep ice cliffs and start new breeding…Read More »
colonies if their sea ice homes disappear, a new study of the birds' behaviors finds.
"This is a new breeding behavior we're witnessing here," said Peter Fretwell, a geographer with the British Antarctic Survey and lead study author. "This has totally taken us by surprise. We didn't know they could go and breed up on the ice shelves," Fretwell told LiveScience.
Credit: Jesse Allen and Robert Simmon, LANCE/NASA Earth Observatory
A NASA satellite captured these dreamlike swirls of plankton blooms on Dec. 30, 2013, roughly 370 miles (600 kilometers) off the coast of Australia, in…Read More »
the southeastern Indian Ocean. The agency's Earth-watching Aqua satellite snapped this image of the colorful blooms, which provide food for a diverse array of sea creatures, ranging from tiny zooplankton to large whales.
Phytoplankton blooms require sunlight, water and nutrients to grow. Unlike in coastal waters, nutrients in the open ocean can be sparse. In the case of this bloom, however, nutrients are being churned up by the motion of the ocean currents, according to NASA officials. [Related: 50 Interesting Facts About The Earth] Less «
The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) telescope captured new views of the supernova brimming with freshly formed dust. If large amounts of this dust drift into interstellar space, it could explain how many galaxies in the universe acquire their dusty appearance, according to ALMA officials.
This artist's illustration of supernova 1987A shows the cold, inner regions of the exploded star (in red), where ALMA detected tremendous amounts of dust. The findings were reported Monday (Jan. 6) at the 223rd meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Washington, D.C. [Related: Amazing Images of Star Explosions] Less «
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A New Year Dawns at Canyonlands National Park"
Credit: Sarah Chah/US Department of the Interior.
As a new year dawns across America's national parks, adventure awaits in Utah's high desert.
The above photo captured a recent sunrise at Mesa Arch in…Read More »
Canyonlands National Park in Utah. The famous Washer Woman arch can be seen in the background.
Canyonlands is a wilderness of countless canyons and buttes carved by the Colorado River and its tributaries. Rivers divide the park into four districts, with names that beckon outdoor enthusiasts: the Island in the Sky, the Needles, the Maze and the rivers themselves. These areas share a primitive desert atmosphere, but each offers different opportunities for sightseeing and adventure.
People have visited what is now Canyonlands National Park for over 10,000 years. Today's visitors enjoy hiking, biking, boating, four-wheel driving — or enjoying a beautiful sunrise.
There is more to Canyonlands than meets the high. This high desert is home to a hidden world of microscopic life. A living crust called "Biological Soil Crust" covers much of Canyonlands. The crust is composed of algae, lichens and bacteria, and provides a secure foundation for desert plants.