Enjoying EarthSky? Subscribe.

208,709 subscribers and counting ...

Science Wire

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

Nile crocodile. Nile crocodiles, Crocodylus niloticus, were responsible for at least 480 attacks on people and 123 fatalities in Africa between 2010 and 2014. Image © mariswanepoel / Fotolia
Science Wire | May 23, 2016

Man-eating crocodiles captured in Florida

Monster Nile crocodiles might be Florida’s newest invasive species.

Jim Elliott of Powell, Ohio, contributed this photo. He wrote: “The moon over Jupiter over Columbus, Ohio, at the OSU planetarium star party. April 16, 2016.”
Science Wire | May 23, 2016

Astronomy events, star parties, festivals, workshops

Summertime star parties! We’ve added many new events to this list of astronomical events throughout the U.S. and Canada. Find one near you, join in and have fun.

he Valles Marineris region on Mars, where astronomers examined tsunami-affected shorelines from meteor impacts. Image via NASA/JPL-Caltech
Science Wire | May 23, 2016

Ancient tsunamis on Mars?

A study suggests that 2 large meteorites hit Mars billions of years ago and triggered mega-tsunamis in Martian water oceans.

This image shows a view of the trailing hemisphere of Jupiter's ice-covered satellite, Europa, in approximate natural color. Long, dark lines are fractures in the crust, some of which are more than 3,000 kilometers (1,850 miles) long.   Image via Galileo spacecraft in 1996.
Science Wire | May 23, 2016

Is Europa’s ocean like Earth’s?

New research finds the ocean on Jupiter’s moon Europa could have the necessary balance of chemicals for life, even without active volcanoes.

Artist's illustration of asteroid headed toward Earth.
Science Wire | May 21, 2016

New clues about ancient asteroid strike

New evidence from Australia of an enormous asteroid that struck Earth 3.4 billion years ago, triggering earthquakes and tsunamis and causing cliffs to crumble.

Photo credit: Paul Chartier
Science Wire | May 21, 2016

Clouds that look like ocean waves

They’re called Kelvin Helmholzt clouds, aka billow clouds or shear-gravity clouds, and they look like breaking ocean waves.

Photo via Tim Geers
Science Wire | May 21, 2016

Only 2 full moons in a season possible?

The May 21 Blue Moon carries that name because it’s the 3rd of 4 full moons in a season. But can a season have just 2 full moons?

Image Credit: Luz Adriana Villa A.
Science Wire | May 21, 2016

Can you tell me the full moon names?

For both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, full moons have names corresponding to calendar months or seasons of the year.

Science Wire | May 20, 2016

New Horizons, heading out, spies 1994 JR1

New Horizons imaged this distant Kuiper Belt Object twice. It has learned its location and spin, and dispelled a theory that 1994 JR1 is a quasi-satellite of Pluto.

Ivory gull. Image via Ed Schneider/Flickr
Science Wire | May 20, 2016

Seagulls on an iceberg

A group of ivory gulls – a threatened species of seagull – has made a colony in an unusual place: On an iceberg.

Artist’s concept of a celestial body roughly the size of Earth's moon slamming into a body the size of Mercury.  Image via NASA/JPL-Caltech.
Science Wire | May 18, 2016

Giant impacts typical for Earth-like worlds

An advanced computer simulation suggests that newly forming Earth-like worlds are likely to suffer a giant impact, like that thought to have created our moon.

Detail from a portrait of a young woman - from a fresco from Pompeii - thought to be Sappho. Via Museo Archeologico Nazionale (Naples) via Wikimedia Commons.
Science Wire | May 18, 2016

Pleiades setting through Sappho’s eyes

Sappho, a renowned poet of ancient Greece, wrote of the Pleiades star cluster setting at midnight. Scientists have wondered, what time of year did she see it?

Don't try this at home: Researchers study tornadoes from a safe distance.  Image via Josh Wurman, CSWR
Science Wire | May 17, 2016

Top 4 questions about tornadoes

May is the peak month for twisters here in the U.S.

View larger. | Comet C/2013 X1 (PanSTARRS) captured earlier this year by Efraín Morales, of the Sociedad de Astronomía del Caribe.
Science Wire | May 17, 2016

A new binocular comet before dawn

Comet C/2013 X1 (PanSTARRS) is now visible in binoculars before dawn. This post has charts and other info that can help you spot the comet in the coming weeks!

Earth will between between the sun and Mars on May 22, 2016.  Then, the distance between our two worlds will be at its least for this two-year period, and Mars will appear brightest in our sky.  Image via Fourmilab.
Science Wire | May 17, 2016

Mars is bright! Here’s why

We’re beginning to get questions about that red “star” in the east each evening. It’s Mars! We’ll pass between Mars and the sun this weekend.

Most Blue Moons are not blue in color.  This photo of a moon among fast-moving clouds was created using special filters. Image via EarthSky Facebook friend Jv Noriega.
Science Wire | May 16, 2016

Upcoming Blue Moon near red Mars

The May 21 full moon is a seasonal Blue Moon – an older definition of the term. Watch for it this weekend, near brilliant Mars.

An image of the galaxy AGC 198691 (nicknamed Leoncino, or "little lion") taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. | Photo by NASA; A. Hirschauer & J. Salzer, Indiana University; J. Cannon, Macalester College; and K. McQuinn, University of Texas
Science Wire | May 16, 2016

Small blue galaxy offers Big Bang clues

This galaxy – nicknamed ‘little lion’ – contains the lowest level of heavy elements ever detected in a gravitationally bound system of stars.

The magnetic field is thought to be largely generated by an ocean of superheated, swirling liquid iron that makes up Earth’s the outer core 3000 km under our feet. Acting like the spinning conductor in a bicycle dynamo, it generates electrical currents and thus the continuously changing electromagnetic field. Other sources of magnetism come from minerals in Earth’s mantle and crust, while the ionosphere, magnetosphere and oceans also play a role. ESA’s constellation of three Swarm satellites is designed to identify and measure precisely these different magnetic signals. This will lead to new insight into many natural processes, from those occurring deep inside the planet, to weather in space caused by solar activity.
Science Wire | May 16, 2016

How Earth’s magnetic field is changing

Data from a trio of satellites show rapid local changes in Earth’s magnetic field. The cause is likely accelerations in the flow of liquid iron near Earth’s core.

Artist's concept of 2007 OR10, aka Snow White. It may have a rosy color, due to the presence of irradiated methane. Image via NASA.
Science Wire | May 16, 2016

When will 2007 OR10 get a name?

2007 OR10 is now known as the third-largest dwarf planet. It’s about a third smaller than Pluto. It’s the largest unnamed body in our solar system.

Artist's concept of cascading comets around a distant star. This scenario is one possible explanation for mystery star  KIC 8462852. Image via NASA/JPL/Caltech/Vanderbilt University.
Science Wire | May 14, 2016

News about mystery star KIC 8462852

Alien megastructures – aka Dyson spheres – around a star 1,500 light-years away? Astronomers struggle to explain the most mysterious star in the universe.

A view of Mercury’s northern volcanic plains is shown in enhanced color to emphasize different types of rocks on Mercury’s surface. In the bottom right portion of the image, the 181-mile- (291-kilometer)-diameter Mendelssohn impact basin, named after the German composer, appears to have been once nearly filled with lava. Toward the bottom left portion of the image, large wrinkle ridges, formed during lava cooling, are visible. Also in this region, the circular rims of impact craters buried by the lava can be identified. Near the top of the image, the bright orange region shows the location of a volcanic vent. Image credit: NASA/JHUAPL/Carnegie Institution of Washington
Science Wire | May 14, 2016

New look at Mercury’s peaks and valleys

First global topographic map of Mercury shows the whole surface of our solar system’s innermost planet. MESSENGER mission scientists used 100,000 images to create it.