Enjoying EarthSky? Subscribe.

164,130 subscribers and counting ...

Blogs

What is the speed of thought?

Just how quickly are those thoughts bouncing around in there? Image credit: shutterstock

Just how quickly are those thoughts bouncing around in there? Image credit: shutterstock

It feels instantaneous, but how long does it really take to think a thought?

Titan’s strange lakes may be sinkholes

Radar images from NASA's Cassini spacecraft reveal many lakes on Titan's surface, some filled with liquid, and some appearing as empty depressions. Image via NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASI/USGS.

Radar images from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft reveal many lakes on Titan’s surface, some filled with liquid, and some appearing as empty depressions. Image via NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASI/USGS.

A new study from the astounding Cassini mission suggests that Saturn’s large moon Titan may undergo geological processes similar to those that create sinkholes on Earth. The study might answer the mystery of how Titan – known to be home to seas and lakes filled with liquid hydrocarbons – came to have depressions on its surface into which those liquids can gather.

Earthquakes to blame for Mount Sinabung eruptions?

Landsat satellite image of the eruption at Mount Sinabung on March 6, 2014. Image Credit: NASA.

Landsat satellite image of the eruption at Mount Sinabung on March 6, 2014. Image Credit: NASA.

Mount Sinabung in Indonesia was once considered a dormant volcano, until it erupted for a brief one month period in 2010. Then, on September 15, 2013, it began erupting again and the volcanic activity has continued until today.

Understanding why volcanoes come out of dormancy is no easy task for scientists, but a paper published last year in Solid Earth suggests that some of the recent megathrust earthquakes in Sumatra could be to blame.

How close to finding alien life?

exoplanets-many-habitable-worlds

In recent years, astronomers have become increasingly certain that planets are common in our Milky Way galaxy. And it’s possible that most stars have planets in their habitable zones, an area around stars within which liquid water – and therefore life as we know it – can exist. How many of those worlds are inhabited by simple or complex life forms? And when will we on Earth discover alien life? Follow the links inside to learn more.

A Chinese perspective on summer

Looking for a new perspective on the summer solstice – or some new ways to celebrate? Try these ideas, from Chinese thought.

Summer solstice seen from Stonehenge

EarthSky Facebook friend Buddy Puckhaber of South Carolina took this photo of Stonehenge in the early morning, while visiting.  He said,

EarthSky Facebook friend Buddy Puckhaber of South Carolina took this photo of Stonehenge in the early morning, while visiting. He said, “My wife and I were among the first visitors of the day.” Thank you, Buddy! Used with permission.

Why do people gather at Stonehenge in England on the solstice? Info and photos here.

Venus and Jupiter dance in daylight

Telescopic view of daytime Venus (l) and moon via NASA

Telescopic view of daytime Venus (l) and moon via NASA

Most of us think only of viewing planets at night, but sometimes you can catch them in broad daylight! The next great chance to do that is Saturday, June 20.

Tropical Depression Bill a flood threat

High rainfall totals from Tropical Storm Bill possible across Texas, Oklahoma, and into Missouri in mid-June, 2015. Image via NOAA/WPC

High rainfall totals from Tropical Depression Bill as it moves northward this week. Image via NOAA’s Weather Prediction Center.

Tropical Storm Bill, the second named storm of the 2015 Atlantic hurricane season, made landfall along the Texas coast on Matagorda Island – between Houston and Corpus Christi – on Tuesday at 11:45 a.m. CDT (1645 UTC). Top speeds for sustained winds was 60 mph (100 kph). Bill had formed in the western Gulf of Mexico with 50 mile per hour (80 kph) sustained winds. While most people focus on wind speeds and names of storms, the biggest impact from Bill will likely be the heavy rain and flooding potential. Flash flooding was expected in several spots across Texas Tuesday and the threat is now spreading northwards into Oklahoma, Arkansas and Missouri for Wednesday, June 17, 2015.

Supermassive black hole is serial exploder

Chandra X-Ray Observatory  shows the supermassive black hole at the center of NGC 5813 has erupted multiple times over 50 million years.

Chandra X-Ray Observatory image of the galaxy group NGC 5813.

NASA astronomers using the Chandra X-ray Observatory probe have discovered a unique group of galaxies that appear to have undergone substantial restructuring due to multiple eruptions from a supermassive black hole. The eruptions took place over 50 million years, astronomers say. These eruptive bursts of energy caused shockwaves and pushed surrounding gas in the galaxy cluster away from the black hole’s center, causing visible cavities much like giant bubbles.

Mount Everest shifted 3 centimeters by Nepal earthquake

View larger. | Mountain Everest - known as Qomolangma in China - via Wikipedia.

Mountain Everest – known as Qomolangma in China – via Wikipedia.

Geologists in China announced this week that the deadly magnitude-7.9 earthquake in Nepal on April 25 moved Mount Everest by 3 centimeters to the southwest. The quake – one of two large earthquakes to occur in Nepal this spring – left more than 8,700 people dead. China Daily reported on the findings of these geologists earlier today. China’s National Administration of Surveying, Mapping and Geoinformation published the geologists’ report on Monday.