In the giant system that connects Earth to the sun, one key event happens over and over: solar material streams toward Earth and the giant magnetic bubble around Earth, the magnetosphere helps keep it at bay. The parameters, however, change: The particles streaming in could be from the constant solar wind, or perhaps from a giant cloud erupting off the sun called a coronal mass ejection, or CME. Sometimes the configuration is such that the magnetosphere blocks almost all the material, other times the connection is long and strong, allowing much material in. Understanding just what circumstances lead to what results is a key part
Continue reading NASA’s THEMIS Discovers New Process that Protects Earth from Space Weather
Scientists from the University of Aberdeen have had the first look at the life that thrives in one of the deepest spots in the ocean.
The expedition to the New Hebrides trench, in the Pacific, revealed cusk eels and large bright red prawns swimming together on the seabed, 7,200m below the surface.
Footage courtesy of Oceanlab, University of Aberdeen
During the final stages of fragmentation of the Gondwana supercontinent in the Early Cretaceous, vast continental rift systems extended between present-day South America and Africa and within the African continent. The South Atlantic and West African rift systems were about to split the African-South American part of Gondwana North-South into nearly equal halves, generating a South- and Saharan Atlantic Ocean. In a dramatic plate tectonic twist, however, a competing rift along the present-day South American and African Equatorial Atlantic margins, won over the West African rift, causing it to become extinct, avoiding the break-up of the African continent and the formation of a Saharan Atlantic
Continue reading Oblique rifting of the Equatorial Atlantic: Why there is no Saharan Atlantic Ocean
The Tumbleweed Desert is a platform designed to operate autonomously for years traveling distances of thousands of kilometers using only the power of the wind. Its mission: to hold back the spreading desert.
Desertification is a serious and irreversible state of land degradation, particularly evident in drylands. It is mainly caused by land use changes from population pressures, agricultural expansion, deforestation, and over use.
By monitoring land conditions and planting annual grases in strategic locations, drylands in danger of desertifaction can be stabilized and erosion by wind and rain can be stopped. However, the areas are far too vast for
Continue reading The Tumbleweed Desert platform with mission
The key characteristics of birds which allow them to fly – their wings and their small size – arose much earlier than previously thought, according to new research from the Universities of Bristol and Sheffield into the Paraves, the first birds and their closest dinosaurian relatives which lived 160 to 120 million years ago.
The holotype of Microraptor gui, IVPP V 13352 under normal light. This shows the preserved feathers (white arrow) and the ‘halo’ around the specimen where they appear to be absent (black arrows). Scale bar at 5 cm. Credit: David W. E. Hone, Helmut Tischlinger, Xing Xu, Fucheng Zhang
Mark Puttick and
Continue reading New insights into the origin of birds
Strange events have long been linked to nights of a full moon, though careful scrutiny dispels any association. So, when signals bounced off the lunar surface returned surprisingly faint echoes on full moon nights, scientists sought an explanation in reason rather than superstition. Still, the most compelling evidence arrived during another event that once evoked irrational fears—on a night when Earth’s shadow eclipsed the full moon.
Tom Murphy, a physicist at UC San Diego, is among the scientists who have aimed laser beams at suitcase-sized reflectors placed on the moon by Apollo astronauts and unmanned Soviet rovers. By precisely timing the light’s return to Earth,
Continue reading Source of ‘Moon Curse’ Revealed by Eclipse
“Part of the scientific debate is knowing what the past looked like. There have always been debates about how a region that’s so cold could have supported animals that were so large. Mammoths were huge and lived on these largely barren landscapes. Now we know that they were spending a lot of time eating wildflowers, which have a lot more protein in them than grasses, which means that they could support larger animals.” – Joseph Craine, assistant professor in the Division of Biology
Woolly mammoths were one of the giant grazers in the Ice Age that ate more wildflowers than grasses. Photo credit:Kansas State University
Continue reading Ice age’s arctic tundra lush with wildflowers for woolly mammoths
POLAR SPIRITS from Ole C. Salomonsen on Vimeo.
This is my third short-film about the northern lights. This year some epic displays has been on the sky, and for the first time I have included real-time recordings.
As usual, my main focus is on getting the auroras show as close as possible to real-time speed given the time available in a short video. Although in a few sequences I have accepted overdoing the speed to better enhance other elements, such as moving fog, faster pans, clouds, milky way etc.
In the film I have tried to show the slower majestic dancing lights,
Continue reading POLAR SPIRITS by Ole C. Salomonsen
Whales, bats, and even praying mantises use ultrasound as a sensory guidance system — and now a new study has found that ultrasound can modulate brain activity to heighten sensory perception in humans.
Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute scientists have demonstrated that ultrasound directed to a specific region of the brain can boost performance in sensory discrimination. The study, published online Jan. 12 in Nature Neuroscience, provides the first demonstration that low-intensity, transcranial-focused ultrasound can modulate human brain activity to enhance perception.
William “Jamie” Tyler, an assistant professor at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, studied the effects of ultrasound on the region of
Continue reading Ultrasound directed to the human brain can boost sensory performance
Even before babies have language skills or much information about social structures, they can infer whether others are likely to be friends by observing their likes and dislikes, a new UChicago study on infant cognition has found.
UChicago researchers measured nine-month-old infants’ ability to reason about social relationships by studying their responses to videos of people interacting as friends or foes. Researchers have found previously babies look longer at something unexpected. Courtesy of Zoe Liberman
The results offer a new window into humans’ earliest understanding of the social world around them and suggest that even nine-month-old infants can engage in reasoning about whether
Continue reading Infants show ability to tell friends from foes