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NASA and NOAA: 2017 was record-setting for warmth

NASA says 2nd-warmest year on record. NOAA says 3rd-warmest. Their methodologies differ slightly, but – by both standards – the 2017 results make the past 4 years the hottest yet recorded.

Saturn moon Titan has a sea level

A new topographic map of Titan, plus a new study showing that Titan’s seas lie at an average elevation – a sea level – just as Earth’s do.

Meteor lit up Michigan night skies

A brilliant fireball lit up skies in the U.S. state of Michigan Tuesday night and caused the equivalent of a magnitude 2.0 earthquake.

Supercomputer insights on mysterious black hole jets

Scientists used the Blue Waters supercomputer to show that a black hole’s relativistic jets and accretion disk both may be spinning – and precessing over time – around an axis separate from the black hole itself.

Drone recon finds ancient Silk Road irrigation system

Scientists used drones to map a previously-unknown, 1,600-year-old irrigation system that allowed farming in arid northwest China, one of world’s driest climates.

Our Milky Way as a “melting pot”

Where do stars we see at night come from? Newly confirmed streams of stars – thought to be coming to our Milky Way from other galaxies – suggest not all Milky Way stars were born here.

Scientists expect 1st direct black hole image soon

In 2018, scientists hope to obtain the 1st-ever direct image of a black hole’s event horizon. They’re targeting the 4-million-solar-mass black hole at the heart of our Milky Way.

A 3D journey through the Orion Nebula

Astronomers and visualization specialists at NASA have just released this unprecedented, 3-dimensional, fly-through view of the Orion Nebula, a nearby star-forming region.

See it! High tides and winter storms

High tides followed Monday’s supermoon, as Storm Eleanor plowed into Europe. Then a “bomb cyclone” hit the U.S. East Coast. Photos here showing winter’s power and terrible beauty.

Sorry cat-lovers: New study says dogs are smarter

The study – from a self-confessed dog lover – counted cells in animals’ brains associated with thinking, planning and complex behavior.

Scientists explain insights from ancient Tibetan ice core

A short film about an expedition to Tibet’s Guliya Glacier, where scientists drilled a Stone Age ice core going back 600,000 years. Plus a report on what the ice core reveals.

Is the star RZ Piscium eating its planets?

Astronomers knew this star was “winking,” or dimming erratically. They thought it might be young. Now they think RZ Piscium might be more evolved than our sun, and hungry.

Watch: Grand Canyon cloud inversion

A full cloud inversion followed by a snowstorm over Grand Canyon National Park in this gorgeous new time-lapse.

Arctic report card 2017

The report shows the warming trend that’s transforming the Arctic region is persisting. The Arctic shows no sign of returning to reliably frozen region of recent past decades, say scientists.

Astronomers chart galaxy orbits in our Local Supercluster

“For the first time, we are not only visualizing the detailed structure of our Local Supercluster of galaxies, but we are also seeing how the structure developed over the history of the universe.”

All the illions from Cosmos, in order

Why? Because we love Carl Sagan.

Turning hurricanes into music

A meteorologist and a music technologist are turning data from tropical storms into musical graphs. Can listening to storms help us understand them better?

What would Earth be like with no moon?

Earth without its moon would be a very different world indeed. No eclipses. Smaller tides. But the biggest change would be in the length of Earth’s day.

Supermassive black holes photobomb Andromeda galaxy

Astronomers thought J0045+41 was 2 orbiting stars, part of the nearby Andromeda galaxy. New work shows it’s 1,000 times more distant, possibly the most tightly coupled pair of supermassive black holes yet seen.

Do songbirds share ‘universal grammar’?

A new study suggests that humans and songbirds have common biological hardwiring that shapes how they produce and perceive sounds.