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Science Wire

The latest science media releases highlighting exciting news and research from around the globe.

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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.

Comet Finlay on December 16th shows a bright coma and short tail. Its sudden rise  to 9th magnitude was confirmed on December 18th by Australian comet observer Paul Camilleri. The moderately condensed object is about 3 arc minutes in diameter. Credit: J. Cerny, M. Masek, K. Honkova, J. Jurysek, J. Ebr, P. Kubanek, M. Prouza, M. Jelinek
Science Wire | Dec 18, 2014

Comet Finlay is in outburst!

With a small ‘scope or large binoculars, you can catch Comet Finlay. It’ll be near Mars on December 23 and 24. Cool photo opportunity for those equipped to catch it!

Earth from space in northern summer via NASA
Science Wire | Dec 18, 2014

Watching solstices and equinoxes from space

How sunlight falls on Earth’s surface during the solstices and equinoxes, as seen from geosynchronous orbit.

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Science Wire | Dec 17, 2014

Video: 100 trillion microorganisms that live on and in you

There’s a unique collage of more than 100 trillion microorganisms living on and in you that are essential to your life and part of what makes you, well, you. It’s your microbiome.

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Science Wire | Dec 17, 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!

spacecraft voyager 1
Science Wire | Dec 17, 2014

Voyager spacecraft rides tsunami wave in interstellar space

Listen to how these waves cause surrounding ionized matter to ring like a bell. You’ve never heard anything from farther away …

The first definitive detection of Martian organic chemicals in material on the surface of Mars came from analysis by NASA's Curiosity Mars rover of sample powder from this mudstone target, "Cumberland." Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS
Science Wire | Dec 16, 2014

Questions of life on Mars revive with methane spike

Curiosity rover has now measured a dramatic spike in methane, an organic chemical, in the Martian air, plus other organic molecules in a Martian rock.

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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.

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Science Wire | Dec 16, 2014

Help name craters on Mercury

Competition to name five impact craters on Mercury. Submit ideas December 15, 2014, to January 15, 2015. Finalists go to the IAU for selection of five winners.

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.

Science Wire | Dec 11, 2014

Rosetta’s comet fuels debate on origin of Earth’s oceans

There’s three times the concentration of deuterium-enriched water (heavy water) in the vapor from Rosetta’s comet as in the water on Earth.

An artist's concept of graphene, buckyballs and C70 superimposed on an image of the Helix planetary nebula, a puffed-out cloud of material expelled by a dying star. Image credit: IAC/NASA/NOAO/ESA/STScI/NRAO
Science Wire | Dec 11, 2014

Buckyballs in space born in molecular striptease?

Oo la la! Big organic compounds called PAHs may “strip” to create buckyballs in space.

Science Wire | Dec 11, 2014

Mars’ Mount Sharp built of lake sediments?

The Curiosity rover on Mars is exploring the base of Mount Sharp, within the Gale Crater. Did the crater hold a series of lakes? Did lake sediments create the mountain?

Artist's concept of an asteroid breaking up, via NASA/JPL
Science Wire | Dec 10, 2014

Asteroid 2014 UR116 is no threat to Earth

Calculations by NASA and Harvard say the closest the asteroid will get to Earth is about 2.7 million miles – over 10 times the moon’s distance – in April 2047.

Image Credit: NASA
Science Wire | Dec 08, 2014

New Horizon spacecraft wakes up for encounter with Pluto system

It’s awake! On Saturday, the New Horizons spacecraft came out of hibernation, at the doorstep of Pluto.

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Science Wire | Dec 06, 2014

As Dawn approaches, new image of dwarf planet Ceres

1 Ceres is the largest and most massive object in the main asteroid belt, between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. Dawn will reach it in March, 2015.

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Science Wire | Dec 05, 2014

Video: We are dead stars

Every atom in our bodies was processed in the body of an ancient star.