Brilliant stars shine like dusty diamonds in the tail of a cosmic scorpion in a dazzling new image and video captured by a telescope in Chile.
The new…Read More »
photo, taken by astronomers with the European Southern Observatory in Chile's Atacama Desert, shows the stars of Messier 7 (M7), a star cluster so bright that it can be seen with the naked eye. The cluster is about 800 light-years away in the tail of the constellation Scorpius (The Scorpion), and is one of the prominent ones in Earth's sky, ESO scientists said. The researchers used the ESO telescope observations to create a stunning video tour of the M7 star cluster, which Space.com set to the song "I Wonder" by the band Super 400.
It's no instant replay, but West Antarctica's Pine Island Glacier, one of the continent's fastest-changing ice streams, looks to be recreating 8,000-year-old…Read More »
history as it melts away, a new study suggests.
Melting from Pine Island Glacier contributes 25 percent of Antarctica's total ice loss. Scientists think the shrinking glacier could raise global sea level by up to 0.4 inches (10 millimeters) in the next few decades. Since the 1990s, Pine Island Glacier has thinned by about 5 feet (1.6 meters) per year and its flow to the sea has sped up. The glacier's grounding line, the point at which it detaches from land to become floating ice, has also retreated by more than 0.6 miles (1 kilometer) each year.
The giant magma blob beneath Yellowstone National Park unleashed tons of ancient helium gas when it torched North America, according to a new study. …Read More »
"The amount of crustal helium coming out is way more than anyone would have expected," said Jacob Lowenstern, lead study author and scientist-in-charge at the U.S. Geological Survey's Yellowstone Volcano Observatory. The findings appear in today's (Feb. 19) issue of the journal Nature.
The northern lights spilled over into New England last night, courtesy of an eruption on the sun that supercharged a geomagnetic storm.
From the top…Read More »
of the Northeast's highest peak, a night observer at New Hampshire's Mount Washington Observatory snapped pictures of the greenish glow of auroras around 1:00 a.m. EST, and then again just after 2:00 a.m. EST. At 6,288 feet (1,916 meters) tall, Mount Washington is famous for its erratic weather and whipping winds, but skies were clear over the observatory overnight.
A massive landslide appears to have pummeled a remote region of southeast Alaska on Sunday (Feb. 16). If confirmed, it may be the largest natural landslide…Read More »
to have fallen anywhere since 2010, a blogger for the American Geophysical Union reported today (Feb. 20).
Geologists identified what they believe to be a landslide based on data from remote seismic instruments that detect the unique types of reverberations, or seismic waves, produced when rocks pound on the Earth during landslides. These reverberations are similar to those produced by classic earthquakes but are longer-waved, since landslides occur over a longer period of time than the nearly instantaneous tectonic slips that cause classic earthquakes.
Lake Oroumieh, the largest lake in Iran and one of the largest saltwater lakes on the planet, has shrunk more than 80 percent in the past decade, but…Read More »
the nation's president, Hassan Rouhani, is now making it a priority to save the lake from drying up.
Rouhani is tackling some of the long-standing environmental problems that are causing the lake, which has been a popular spot for tourists and a key refuge for migrating wildlife, to disappear, reported the Associated Press. Intensive irrigation, the damming of rivers that flow into Lake Oroumieh, and the effects of climate change, have all contributed to the problem, and experts caution that, if left unaddressed, the lake could run dry within two years, according to the AP.
While hockey players and figure skaters are competing inside Sochi's monumental new stadiums along the Black Sea coast, skiers and snowboarders are striving…Read More »
for Olympic glory farther inland in the Caucasus Mountains.
The Advanced Land Imager (ALI) aboard NASA's Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) snapped this image on Feb. 8, showing the steep snow-covered peaks that loom in the background of Sochi, according to NASA's Earth Observatory.
Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/Rutgers/K. Eriksen et al.; Optical: DSS
Astronomers studying the remnants of a well-known stellar explosion discovered a blisteringly fast shock wave that is rushing inward at 1,000 times the…Read More »
speed of sound, lighting up what remains of the powerful cosmic explosion.
When a star reaches the end of its life, it explodes in a supernova that can briefly outshine entire galaxies. Typically, these blasts fade away after a few weeks or months, but the material left behind from these violent explosions can continue to glow for hundreds or thousands of years. Scientists have now observed a formidable inward-racing shock wave that keeps one of these stellar corpses glowing.
Miguel Claro captured the stunning scene in the Alqueva Dark Sky Reserve on June 15, 2013. Alqueva has been designated a "Starlight Tourism Destination" by the Starlight Foundation, which means the region is characterized by the excellent quality of its starry skies.
Cute Camouflage: Eastern Screech Owl of Shenandoah
Credit: National Park Service
This adorable little owl blends in perfectly with its wooded habitat. If not for the one open eye, this Eastern Screech Owl would disappear into the trees.…Read More »
Eastern Screech Owls (Megascops asio) are the smallest resident birds of prey in Shenandoah National Park, weighing only about 5-8 ounces (140 to 230 grams). That’s about the size of a couple of candy bars. These birds are active all winter, leaving their cozy tree-cavity nests at night in search of food. In winter, there is usually an abundance of mice and shrews, but other popular dinners — frogs, salamanders, small snakes, lizards, moths, caterpillars and other insects — are hiding out until spring. Wiley Screech Owls in Shenandoah have been observed on frosty autumn mornings walking around farm fields, picking off inert grasshoppers like grapes.
Just 75 miles (120 kilometers) from the bustle of Washington, D.C., Shenandoah National Park is a popular place for urbanites to escape. Cascading waterfalls, spectacular vistas and quiet wooded hollows await adventurous hikers or leisurely family picnickers. The park encompasses 200,000 acres of protected lands.
Look closely and you just might see an Eastern Screech Owl staring back at you.