EarthSky Voices
Partial human skull fossil.

Human evolution: 20 years of discoveries

The pace of archaeological discoveries has picked up in recent decades, helping to refine the human story.

The words 'the roaring twenties' in big block letters.

Get ready for the ’20s!

“Anybody besides me notice that the past two decades have been nameless?”

Humpback whale.

Why are whales big, but not bigger?

How did whales that feed on tiny prey evolve into the largest creatures on Earth? And why don’t they get even bigger?

Two orange circles with black balls at their centers.

A second black hole at our galaxy’s center?

There’s a supermassive black hole – 4 million times our sun’s mass – in the center of our Milky Way galaxy. Astronomers who’ve measured star movements near this central black hole are now saying there might be a 2nd companion black hole near it.

Young men looking at a small red box on a table.

Bringing community astronomy to rural Africa

Ideas discussed at last month’s International Astronomical Union symposium in Tokyo include projects using smartphones and low-cost battery-powered equipment.

Snowy, rocky mountaintop against a pink sky.

Amazon fires quickening glacier melting in Andes

The burning rainforest releases black carbon into the atmosphere, which, according to a growing number of scientific studies, directly contributes to the melting of glaciers.

Plume of smoke rising into the sky over the ocean.

Why White Island erupted … and why there was no warning

White Island is one of several volcanoes in New Zealand that can produce sudden explosive eruptions at any time. An Earth scientist explains why.

A shimmery pink circle against a black background with a faint ray of light through the center.

Did this black hole swallow a star?

We know of a couple of dozen so-called “stellar-mass” black holes in our Milky Way galaxy. They tend to be between about 5 and 20 times as heavy as our sun. This new black hole – in a distant spiral arm of the galaxy – is 70 times as heavy as the sun.

Several turkeys against a blue sky background.

Thanksgiving turkey: Light meat or dark?

Want to avoid politics at this year’s Thanksgiving dinner? Amaze your companions with your knowledge of why different cuts of turkey have different characteristics.

Acorns on an oak tree branch with leaves.

Tons of acorns in your yard? It must be a mast year

Masting is what biologists call the pattern of trees for miles around synchronizing to all produce lots of seeds – or very few. Why and how do they get on schedule?