Ready, set, explore Earth from home

We’re at home. How about you? But we just discovered these virtual tours, galleries and live webcams from around the world, which we wanted to share. Stay home, and have some virtual fun …

Side view of a large diamond.

April’s birthstone is the diamond

Happy birthday April babies! Your birthstone, the diamond, is the rich cousin of graphite.

International team discovers 3 new species of flying reptiles

The new fossil discoveries provide clues about flying, spike-toothed reptiles that lived in the Sahara 100 million years ago.

Was this the ancestor of all animals?

Geologists say the worm-like creature – about the size of a grain of rice – is the 1st ancestor on the family tree that contains most animals today, including humans.

Ancient 4-limbed fish reveals origin of human hand

The origin of digits in land vertebrates is hotly debated, but a new study suggests that human hands likely evolved from the fins of Elpistostege, a fish that lived more than 380 million years ago.

Four images of with multiple rounded downward bulges.

Check out these mammatus clouds

Mammatus clouds can appear ominous. But, in a way that’s so common in nature, their dangerous aspect goes hand in hand with a magnificent beauty.

Daniel Field appears blur in background while the tiny skull replica appears in focus.

Wonderchicken fossil casts new light on bird evolution

The oldest known bird fossil, from the age of dinosaurs, has skull features similar to modern chickens. The scientists who found it have nicknamed it “Wonderchicken.” It’s providing valuable insights into the evolution of birds.

Illustration of Earth with a arrow pointing to the equator.

Cheery thoughts for a scary time

Some astronomy thoughts to distract you from quarantine life under the coronavirus plague, from Guy Ottewell.

Watch 2 penguins explore closed Chicago aquarium

You’ll love this video of a couple of penguins openly exploring Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium, closed due to COVID-19.

Retreat at Pine Island glacier

Pine Island Glacier is one of the fastest-retreating glaciers in Antarctica. Watch the glacier’s ice front retreat and shed some notable icebergs over the past 2 decades.

Purple-headed bird in flight near feeder.

Top tips for feeding wild birds

It’s OK to feed wild birds. Here are some tips for doing it the right way from a wildlife ecologist.

A rainbow-like arc in the sky, with red on the bottom of the arc, behind a tree.

I saw an upside-down rainbow. What is it?

Circumzenithal arcs have been described as upside-down rainbows or “a grin in the sky.” They’re wonderful! See photos here.

a birg dinosaur and 3 smaller dinosaurs.

Eggshells support idea that dinosaurs were warm-blooded

Were dinosaurs warm-blooded or cold-blooded? According to a new study that analyzed the chemistry of dinosaur eggshells, the answer is “warm.”

Western New York digging out from intense snow and ice

An intense storm and lake-effect snow walloped upstate New York – especially rural areas in western New York – in late February 2020. On the shores of Lake Erie, the storm created a dramatic display of thick, windblown ice on homes and buildings.

Antarctica melts under its hottest days on record

On February 6, weather stations recorded the hottest temperature on record for Antarctica, 64.9°F (18.3°C). The warm spell caused widespread melting on nearby glaciers

Fifty years of data show spring and fall bird migrations changing

Bird-banding data in North America shows a spring migration pattern that’s become progressively earlier with each of the last 5 decades, and a fall migration that’s lasting longer than 50 years ago.

African dust bombards the Canary Islands

These hot, dust-laden winds are known as “la calima” and happen most often in winter. They can blow at up to 75 mph (120 kph). The dust kicked up last weekend in Africa drifted over the Canary Islands, shutting down airports and stranding travelers.

White blobs on a dark shiny background.

Arctic ice melt changing major ocean current

A major ocean current in the Arctic is faster and more turbulent as a result of rapid sea ice melt, according to a new study.

Fossilized bee in amber, with four larval beetle parasites.

A bee from the age of dinosaurs

One hundred million years ago, a bee got trapped in tree resin. Over time, geological forces converted the resin to amber. Now a scientist arrives on the scene, to tell us this bee’s story.

Illustration of a swimming turtle and a fish.

This extinct horned turtle was the size of a car

Recently-discovered fossils shed new light on an enormous horned turtle that roamed South America 5 to 10 million years ago.