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Image credit: NASA Earth Observatory
Blogs | Dec 20, 2014

Where does noon come only once a year, on the December solstice?

Yes, at the Earth’s South Pole, high noon comes only once a year, on the December solstice.

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Science Wire | Dec 20, 2014

Wisdom has a new egg!

Recent photos of Wisdom – the world’s oldest known, banded wild bird at an estimated age of 63 – with her newest egg. Go, Wisdom!

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Science Wire | Dec 19, 2014

Why do most evergreen trees have a pyramid shape?

Those who admire the shape of a Christmas tree might like to know that its shape has evolved in response to wind, snow, and light.

Winter solstice at Stonehenge.
Blogs | Dec 18, 2014

Winter solstice as seen from Stonehenge

At Stonehenge in England on the northern winter solstice, people watch the sunrise and sunset. Learn more and see photos here.

December solstice
Blogs | Tonight | Dec 18, 2014

Everything you need to know: December solstice 2014

December solstice 2014 is coming up this Sunday, December 21 at 23:03 UTC. Celebration time!

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Science Wire | Dec 16, 2014

Why does Earth have four seasons?

Many believe Earth’s changing distance from the sun causes the change in the seasons. But that is not the case.

Photo credit: Mr. TinDC/Flickr
Science Wire | Dec 15, 2014

How birds get by without external ears

A new study looks at how birds localize sounds. It seems that their slightly oval-shaped head transforms sound waves in a similar way to external ears.

Parrots have a unique pattern of gene expression in their brains, creating a super-charged speech center that may give them the ability to quickly pick up “dialects” of parrot speech. Photo credit: Michael Whytle/Flickr
Science Wire | Dec 15, 2014

Genes link birdsong and human speech

Humans and vocal birds like parrots use essentially the same genes to speak.

Bird tree of life, by Julie McMahon, U. Illinois
Science Wire | Dec 15, 2014

Probing the Big Bang of bird evolution

Big bird news! A consortium of 200 scientists in 20 countries has released its first results on the origins and diversity of birds. Overview plus video here.

Photo credit: Brigham Young University
Science Wire | Dec 15, 2014

Chickens and turkeys closer to dinos than other birds

Songbirds and other birds sprang from dinosaurs, too. But new work indicates that chickens and turkeys are genetically closest to their dino ancestors.

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Science Wire | Dec 11, 2014

Video: Best storm footage ever?

High plains storms. The opening is brilliant …. the end is awesome. (You’ll like the rest too.) Video by Nicolaus Wegner.

Still from Moonlight Skating by Göran Strand
Videos | Dec 11, 2014

Video: Moonlight skating in Sweden

“Nights like these are almost to good to be true.” See this touching, just-released video.

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Blogs | Dec 11, 2014

Audubon’s Christmas Bird Count starts December 14

Audubon Society’s Christmas Bird Count starts December 14 and runs through January 5. It’s free and anyone can participate, but you have to sign up in advance. Here’s how.

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Blogs | Dec 11, 2014

Is El Nino here? Not quite yet, scientists say

Despite warm waters in the equatorial Pacific Ocean, the latest update from NOAA explains why El Nino has still not fully developed.

Dallas, Dec. 9, 2014, via Mike Alvstad
Blogs | Videos | Dec 09, 2014

Incredible video of dense fog over Dallas

Video capture by a drone of dense fog with zero visibility on Tuesday, December 9, in Dallas, Texas. Amazing visuals!

ISS, as captured by Dave Walker
Blogs | Dec 09, 2014

How to spot the International Space Station

Every so often, the International Space Station (ISS) becomes visible in your night sky. Here’s how you can spot it.

Photo credit: Stephen Williams/Flickr
Blogs | Dec 08, 2014

Killing rats to save birds as glaciers recede

Glacier melt means rats can reach bird nests on South Georgia, an island north of Antarctica and east of the Falklands. What to do? Send in helicopters!

Photo via Flickr member Peter Bowers
FAQs | Dec 07, 2014

Why aren’t the earliest sunsets on the shortest day?

The year’s shortest day comes at the winter solstice. But, for the Northern Hemisphere, the earliest sunsets are in early December.

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Science Wire | Dec 04, 2014

The yin-yang of sea ice at Earth’s poles

Arctic sea ice is decreasing. Antarctic sea ice is at an all-time high. How can that be? This 3-minute video offers an explanation.

Image credit: NOAA
Science Wire | Dec 03, 2014

2014 shaping up to be warmest year on record

The global average temperature over land and ocean surfaces for January to October 2014 was the highest on record, according to a NOAA report.

View larger. | Antarctic glaciers, via the American Geophysical Union.
Science Wire | Dec 03, 2014

Glacier melt rate in West Antarctica tripled in last decade

A comprehensive, 21-year analysis reconciling four different techniques. A word about this year’s sea ice extent. And why is info about Antarctica so hard to come by?