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New Zealand quake reveals new land

The 7.8-magnitude earthquake off the coast of New Zealand’s South Island on November 13 created a thin swath of newly exposed land. Before and after images.

Parts of brain sleep, wake up, all day

New research finds that small regions of your brain cycle in and out of sleep, even when you’re awake.

December solstice 2016 coming on 21st

Time to plan a party? December solstice 2016 arrives on December 21 at 10:44 UTC. Whether it means winter or summer for you … it’s celebration time!

Geminid meteor shower 2016 ahead

Peak night for the Geminids in 2016 is December 13 (morning of December 14). Best around 2 a.m. Moonlight interferes but these meteors are bright. Maybe you’ll catch a cool photo!

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More evidence for young Saturn moons

Saturn’s bulging core and twisting gravitational forces suggest new ages for the planet’s moons. They appear younger than previously thought.

Arctic sea ice at record low

So far this year, the Arctic Ocean and neighboring seas have been slow to freeze, setting a record low for the floating cap of sea ice in November.

Star of the week: Menkar

It’s not the most famous star in Cetus, or the brightest, although it carries the designation Alpha. But Menkar has its own claims to fame.

Chip brings exoplanets into clearer view

The new chip will let astronomers peer through the dust cloud in which new planets are forming, in much the same way that firefighters use infrared to see through smoke.

Cassini’s penultimate orbit: 1st images

Cassini spacecraft at Saturn now in its final year. Carolyn Porco said: “Let these images … remind you that we’ve lived a bold and daring adventure around the solar system’s most magnificent planet.”

The spectacular Large Magellanic Cloud

From tropical or Southern Hemisphere latitudes, the Large Magellanic Cloud is easy to see. Look for it in the evening from December to April.

Landing on Mars is hard

Mars’ atmospheric pressure is less than 1% that of Earth, so spacecraft come down hard. Europe has been trying for a Mars’ soft landing since 2003. How they plan to succeed.

Why were prehistoric insects so huge?

Before the dinosaurs, giant insects ruled the world more than 300 million years ago.

Human ancestor Lucy a tree climber

Lucy lived 3.18 million years ago in what’s now Ethiopia. An analysis of high-resolution CT scans of her fossilized skeleton shows she was equipped for climbing trees.