Enjoying EarthSky? Subscribe.

150,543 subscribers and counting ...

EarthSky // Page 2

Newly named dinosaur had a keen nose

Saurornitholestes sullivani would have been a fierce predator.  Illustration by Mary P. Williams.

Saurornitholestes sullivani would have been a fierce predator. Illustration by Mary P. Williams.

When you discover a new dinosaur species, you get to name it. Steven Jasinski has just named a brand new dinosaur species Saurornitholestes sullivani. This new dinosaur is thought to be related to Velociraptor, the fleet-footed dinosaur villain of the Jurassic Park franchise. Like the creatures portrayed in the movies, the newly named species likely was agile and fast. Plus it had something else: a keen sense of smell. Jasinski says it would have been a fierce predator.

Video: Paddle boarders meet orcas

Imagine you’re paddle-boarding, and an orca – killer whale – pops up on the ocean surface near you. Two amazing and beautiful videos, here.

Give me five minutes and I’ll give you Saturn in 2015

Saturn as captured by the Cassini spacecraft in early February 2014.  Cassini has been in orbit around Saturn since 2004.  Many awesome images!

View larger. | Saturn as captured by the Cassini spacecraft. Cassini has been in orbit around Saturn since 2004. Image via NASA.

The best time to see the planet Saturn in 2015 is here! On May 22-23, 2015, Earth passes between this planet and the sun. As a result, the ringed planet is at its brightest and out all night long. Saturn is the sixth planet outward from the sun and farthest world that’s easily visible to the unaided eye. You need a telescope to see the planet’s wide, encircling rings, but Saturn is also fun to watch with the eye alone. It shines with a steady light and golden color. Clouded out this week? Never fear. Follow the links below to learn more about seeing Saturn throughout 2015.

SpaceX Dragon is back on Earth

The view from ISS as Dragon departs on May 21, 2015.  Video still from NASA TV.

The view from ISS as Dragon departs on May 21, 2015. Video still from NASA TV.

After delivering more than two tons of supplies and research to the International Space Station that will help prepare NASA astronauts and robotic explorers for future missions to Mars, the SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft successfully departed from the orbital laboratory on Thursday, May 21, 2015. The release took place as scheduled at 7:04 a.m. EDT (1104 UTC). Dragon is now on its way back to Earth. The trip to Earth will take about 6 hours.

Moon and Venus closest on May 21

2015-may-21-venus-moon-night-sky-chart

Tonight – May 21, 2015 – the dazzling starlike point of light near the waxing crescent moon is the planet Venus. This world ranks as the third-brightest celestial object in all the heavens, after the sun and moon. Enjoy watching the brightest and second-brightest orbs of nighttime – the moon and Venus, respectively – as they pair up together in your western sky on this evening.

Oldest stone tools found in Kenya

Tool in situ, being unearthed at excavation. Photo via West Turkana Archaeological Project, copyright 2014.  Used with permission.

Tool in situ, being unearthed at excavation. Photo via West Turkana Archaeological Project, copyright 2014. Used with permission.

The Earth Institute at Columbia University announced today (May 20, 2015) that scientists working in the desert badlands of northwestern Kenya have found stone tools dating back 3.3 million years, long before the advent of modern humans. They are by far the oldest such artifacts yet discovered. The tools’ makers may or may not have been some sort of human ancestor and may challenge the notion that our own most direct ancestors were the first to bang two rocks together to create a new technology.

North Atlantic circulation slowing down already?

Image of thermohaline (heat, salt) driven ocean circulation in the North Atlantic and other ocean basins. Image Credit: NASA.

Image of thermohaline (heat, salt) driven ocean circulation in the North Atlantic and other ocean basins. Image Credit: NASA.

New research has found that recent decreases in North Atlantic Ocean circulation are unprecedented over the past 1,100 years.

Opah, the first truly warm-blooded fish

Southwest Fisheries Science Center biologist Nick Wegner holds captured opah.  Via NOAA Fisheries West Coast on Flickr

Southwest Fisheries Science Center biologist Nick Wegner holds captured opah. Via NOAA Fisheries West Coast on Flickr

Fisheries researchers announced this month that the opah now holds the distinction of being the first fish on Earth known to be truly warm-blooded.

See it! Best photos of moon, Venus, Jupiter

The moon is just now returning to the evening sky.  See it low in the sky, below Venus (brightest) and Jupiter (top of photo) in this shot by Ken Christison in Northampton County, North Carolina?  Thanks, Ken!

The moon is just now returning to the evening sky. See it low in the sky, below Venus (brightest) and Jupiter (top of photo) in this shot by Ken Christison in Northampton County, North Carolina? Thanks, Ken!

The moon has returned to the evening sky! And what a sight it will be in the coming days as it sweeps up past Venus and Jupiter. Enjoy these photos from EarthSky’s community. We’ll be posting more in the days ahead.

LightSail launch success!

Artist's concept of LightSail, via the Planetary Society

Artist’s concept of LightSail, via the Planetary Society

LightSail successfully launched May 20 at 11:05am EDT (1505 UTC). Info on how to follow from here, inside.