Enjoying EarthSky? Subscribe.

163,663 subscribers and counting ...

Blogs

Impacts of climate change on human health

Image credit: Lancet Commission

Image credit: Lancet Commission

A new report published in The Lancet finds that “tackling climate change could be the greatest global health opportunity of the 21st century.”

Largest dinosaur with birdlike wings and feathers

Fossil remains of large winged dinosaur Zhenyualong Suni.  This nearly complete skeleton was found in northeast China’s Liaoning province.  , Image via Junchang Lu and Stephen Brusatte via Science.

Fossil remains of large winged dinosaur, named Zhenyualong Suni. This nearly complete skeleton was found in northeast China’s Liaoning province. Image via Junchang Lu and Stephen Brusatte via Science.

Discovery of largest-ever winged dino in China, from 125 million years ago. It was sleek and birdlike with feathers on its arms and torso, but it could not fly.

New names and insights about Ceres

Read more about this image.

This pair of images shows color-coded maps from NASA’s Dawn mission, revealing the highs and lows of topography on the surface of dwarf planet Ceres. Image via NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA. View larger and read more about this image.

NASA’s Dawn mission to Ceres today released some colorful new maps of the dwarf planet, showcasing a diverse topography, with height differences between crater bottoms and mountain peaks as great as 9 miles (15 km). Dawn is now making its way to its third mapping orbit, and results are coming out of the mission, but still no confirmation on the mysterious bright spots on Ceres. However, the crater that contains them now has a name.

Ant expert gives Ant-Man thumbs up

Actor Paul Rudd and friends join forces against evil in Ant-Man. Image credit: © Marvel 2015

Actor Paul Rudd and friends join forces against evil in Ant-Man. Image credit: © Marvel 2015

A Boston University biology professor says the movie is “a turning point for ants in cinema,” although he has a few quibbles with the science.

Tiny, but still densest known galaxies

View larger. | Two undergraduate students in astronomy have discovered two ultra-dense galaxies (insets).  The galaxies are orbiting larger host galaxies. The compact systems are thought to be the remnants of once normal galaxies that were swallowed by the host, a process that removed the fluffy outer parts of the systems, leaving the dense centers behind. Image via A. Romanowsky (SJSU), Subaru, Hubble Legacy Archive

Two undergraduate students in astronomy have discovered two ultra-dense galaxies (insets), orbiting larger host galaxies. Image via A. Romanowsky (SJSU), Subaru, Hubble Legacy Archive

The National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO) today (July 27, 2015) announced the densest galaxies yet found. They said these galaxies are reminiscent of the ordinary globular star clusters that orbit the centers of our galaxy and others. But the ultra-dense galaxies are 10,000 to a million times denser than in the neighborhood of our sun.

Latest images of Pluto’s flowing ice

View larger. | New Horizons spacecraft using the LORRI (LOng Range Reconnaissance Imager) camera. Image showing a large area near Pluto's sunset terminator, reveals how frozen nitrogen has flowed out from the plains into old, more cratered terrain. The nitrogen ice has flowed like normal water ice does on Earth, even in Earth's coldest places in Greenland and Antarctica. This surface is so cold, it has actual Nitrogen Ice glaciers. On Pluto however, water ice is as hard as solid rock and would not flow at those temperatures, but nitrogen ice does flow over time at the average surface temperatures on Pluto of minus 232 Celsius / minus 386 Fahrenheit or 41 Kelvin.

Image acquired by New Horizons spacecraft on July 14, 2015 showing a large area near Pluto’s sunset terminator. The image reveals how frozen nitrogen has flowed out from the plains into old, more cratered terrain. Image via NASA / JHU-APL / SWRI / New Horizons spacecraft.

The images from New Horizons’ July 14 sweep past Pluto continue to come in. Among the recent discoveries: flowing nitrogen ice on Pluto! These exotic ices flow across Pluto’s at one edge of its bright heart-shaped area. Scientists had hoped to find signs of an active surface on Pluto, but, still, they were wowed by evidence of flowing ice.

First-ever look at Pluto’s night side

View larger. |

Night side of Pluto. Via NASA / JHU-APL / SWRI. New Horizons spacecraft.

Here’s something no one on Earth has ever seen before. NASA released this new image today (July 24, 2015). It’s the night side of Pluto with the hazy atmosphere scattering light from a distant sun.

Good news! More sharks!

Where there are groups of seals, there are sharks. Here, a white shark swims close to a pack of grey seals in the shallow water off Lighthouse Beach in Chatham, Massachusetts. Photo credit: Massachusetts Office of Energy and Environment

Where there are groups of seals, there are sharks. Here, a white shark swims close to a pack of grey seals in the shallow water off Lighthouse Beach in Chatham, Massachusetts. Photo credit: Massachusetts Office of Energy and Environment

White shark populations are growing. Here’s why that’s good news.

More ice mountains in Pluto’s heart

A second range of ice mountains has been discovered on Pluto.  Image via New Horizons spacecraft as it passed near on July 14, 2015.

A second range of ice mountains has been discovered on Pluto. Is that sunglint on the mountainsides? Image via New Horizons spacecraft as it passed near on July 14, 2015.

Here’s a new image just released of a second range of ice mountains on Pluto. The New Horizons spacecraft using the LORRI (LOng Range Reconnaissance Imager) camera captured this image when it swept closest on July 14, 2015. There are images coming shortly that will be about four times sharper than this one!

Closest views yet of Nix and Hydra

View larger. | Pluto moons Nix and Hydra, imaged by New Horizons spacecraft on July 14, 2015.

View larger. | Pluto moons Nix and Hydra, imaged by New Horizons spacecraft on July 14, 2015. Image via NASA / JHU-APL / SWRI. New Horizons.

Pluto has five known moons, and it’s a bit surprising that New Horizons hasn’t found any new ones yet. Newly released images show small moons Nix and Hydra.