Lenticular clouds form when waves of moist, fast-moving air are pushed upward over high mountains by strong winds. At this higher altitude, water droplets in the moist air cool and expand, and the water vapor condenses. As the air passes over the mountaintop and descends to more uniformly humid conditions, pancake-type lenticular clouds form.
Credit: Greg Shirah and Horace Mitchell (NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center—SVS); Tom Bridgman (Global Science & Technology, Inc.)
An animated film that reveals the beauty of the sun's interactions with Earth is one of the winners of an international contest in science visualization.
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"Dynamic Earth" took first place in the video category of the 2013 International Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge. Other winners include a dreamy image of the miniscule micro-currents made by reef-building coral, and an eye-opening illustration of bacterial growth on the human hand.
Credit: Vicente I. Fernandez, Orr H. Shapiro, Melissa S. Garren, Assaf Vardi, and Roman Stocker; Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Water swirls in a tiny vortex created by coral polyps, which create miniscule currents by beating whip-like appendages called cilia. The resulting whirlpool…Read More »
helps coral draw in nutrients and push away waste. This image won first place in the photography category of the 2013 International Science & Engineering Visualization Challenge and graces the cover of the Feb. 7 issue of the journal Science. [More Images:
Vivid Visualizations: Prize-Winning Science Images
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Credit: U.S. Department of the Interior | Twitter
For the first time in five years, intrepid visitors to the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore can make the icy trek along the frozen waters of Lake Superior…Read More »
to glimpse the millions of icicles — some several stories tall — that embellish the region's incredible ice caves.
The Apostle Islands National Lakeshore is made up of 22 islands in Lake Superior, located off the coast of northern Wisconsin. The area boasts some of the most impressive sea caves in the Great Lakes region, and during warmer months, visitors can paddle along the sculpted shorelines and navigate through the caves' scenic passageways and arched chambers. But, during the winter, witnessing the caves' icy transformation is much trickier.
In the clear waters off the coast of Peru, researchers have found a stunning new red coral species that was not previously described by scientists.
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The corals' hand-size colonies were discovered at water depths of about 82 feet (25 meters), near Isla San Gallán in Peru's Paracas National Reserve. Small pieces of the coral were also found attached to mussels from Independence Bay, at a fish market nearby.
Hawaii's Kilauea volcano conceals a deeply buried magma chamber beneath its East Rift Zone, where lava hasn't stopped streaming from the surface for 31…Read More »
years, a new study reports.
The chamber's molten mush, about 90 percent crystal and 10 percent magma, sits in oceanic crust about 5 to 7 miles (8 to 11 kilometers) beneath Kilauea's south slopes, researchers report Jan. 10 in the journal Geology. The deep magma system may help lubricate the volcano's ongoing collapse into the ocean, the authors report.
An amazing landscape left behind by melting ice sheets offers clues to the future of Greenland's shrinking glaciers, a new study suggests.
The incredible…Read More »
terrain is in northern Canada, which is ridged with thousands of eskers — the sinuous, gravelly remains of streams and rivers that flowed beneath the ice. Canada was once buried beneath miles of ice, similar to the way Greenland is today. Called the Laurentide Ice Sheet, this massive ice cap covered all of Canada and parts of the northern United States 15,000 years ago. When the Laurentide Ice Sheet started melting, the retreating ice left behind a record of its demise, such as the eskers, still visible on the Arctic tundra. Deciphering this record could provide a better forecast of the future of Greenland's changing ice sheet, scientists think.
Credit: NASA Earth Observatory images by Robert Simmon, using Landsat 8 data from the USGS Earth Explorer
Finally, storms are bringing some desperately needed rain to California, which is suffering from one of the worst droughts in centuries.
The storms, which…Read More »
began today (Feb. 6) and should continue through the weekend, may provide California with 2 to 4 inches (5 to 10 centimeters) of rain and blanket the Sierra Nevada mountains with as much as 2 feet (0.6 meters) of snow. Some areas of the state can expect between 4 and 8 inches (10 to 20 centimeters) of rain over the next week, and the rains are gracing the driest portions of the state — Northern and Central California, Climate Central reported.
A NASA spacecraft has snapped a stunning photo of a fresh Martian crater that was gouged out of the Red Planet just in the last three years or so.
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The new photo by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) was captured by the probe's powerful HiRISE camera on Nov. 19, though the space agency unveiled the image on Wednesday (Feb. 5). Scientists know the feature formed sometime between July 2010 and May 2012, because other MRO observations show big changes in the area between those two dates.
Credit: Cyril Fré sillon at Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique
The first-ever investigation of the honeybee ability to taste with their front feet may explain a persistent bee mystery: Why they swarm saltwater swimming…Read More »
Saltwater swimming pools don't require chlorine or other chemicals, but online home and garden forums are full of complaints about these swimming holes' dark side. Apparently, they attract honeybees en masse. Now, scientists find that bees have taste receptors on their feet that are so sensitive to salt, that they even dwarf the bees' capacity to taste sweets.