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Every-day wonders: the edges of a giant Colorado thunderstorm cell, captured in photo mosaics

By Tom Yulsman | May 22, 2018 11:02 pm

The summer monsoon season in Colorado is still probably weeks away, but we got a spectacular preview today

As I was leaving Boulder, Colorado this afternoon, heading for home out on the plains at the foot of the Rockies, I looked up and was stopped short by a giant, glowing thunderstorm cell that was building fast, in all dimensions.

I’ve long been enamored of Western skies. That’s true in all seasons, each of which brings its own wonders. But there’s something particularly special abo …


Another remarkable time-lapse video shows Hawaii's volcanic activity from a unique perspective

By Tom Yulsman | May 22, 2018 7:43 pm

A ‘cloud camera’ 40 miles away and high on a mountain captured the eerie glow emanating from continuing volcanic activity

Last week I featured time-lapse video capturing the ash plume from Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano exploding skyward higher than Mt. Everest. Now, the same camera, located on the Gemini North telescope atop 13,803-foot Mauna Kea, has captured yet another remarkable video.

The new time-lapse shows the intense glow from an extensive region of volcanic fissures on Hawaii’s B …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Earth Science, select, Top Posts, Volcanoes

Dead Things

Epic Flight Fail? Pterosaur Models Are Wrong, Says Study

By Gemma Tarlach | May 22, 2018 6:00 pm

Have paleontologists just been winging it? Up to 95 percent of the hip joint reconstructions of pterosaurs and their distant relatives, the most birdlike of dinosaurs, are anatomically impossible, according to new research that used a surprising source. But the study’s conclusions, counters a pterosaur expert, should be grounded.

Fleshing out an extinct animal from bones alone has always been paleontology’s greatest challenge, and mistakes have been made. But a paper published today mak …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World, top posts


The Aftermath of Michael Jackson’s Antigravity Lean

By Mark Barna | May 22, 2018 1:03 pm

In Michael Jackson’s 1987 music video “Smooth Criminal,” the legendary performer leans forward 45 degrees from a straight-up position — and comes back. It’s a feat that seemingly defies both physics and physiology, and the move has become another element of MJ’s aura of mystery.

Some type of cinematic or mechanical trick must be responsible, since most people can manage only a 20-degree forward tilt before toppling headlong. Yet Jackson performed the move live on tours aroun …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Health & Medicine


Giant Flatworms Invade France

By Lauren Sigfusson | May 22, 2018 11:13 am

Worms have a way of appearing in strange, unwanted places: Inside feet, eyeballs and stomachs. Turns out some are even invading countries.

Giant predatory flatworms have inched their way into France and its overseas territories on four continents, according to a study released Tuesday in PeerJ. The invasive flatworms were documented by citizen scientists and managed to stay under the radar for more than two decades. This is the first study to cover the invasion.
Wormy Worm
The study …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World, top posts
MORE ABOUT: animals


Jupiter as seen from a uniquely beautiful perspective

By Tom Yulsman | May 22, 2018 10:02 am

Citizen scientists used raw images from the Juno spacecraft to produce this southerly view of Jupiter

This marvelous view of Jupiter shows the planet from a different perspective than we’re used to: from the south.

It was acquired by NASA’s Juno spacecraft during a close flyby of the giant gaseous planet on April 1. During the encounter, Juno swooped as close as 10,768 miles above the cloud tops of the southern hemisphere.

As NASA notes in a release, this color-enhanced view is unique …

Neil Cummings

Citizen Science Salon

Perfect your weighing and measuring skills with these projects!

By lshell | May 21, 2018 4:22 pm

Whether you’re a fan of imperial or metric, this past Sunday was the day to celebrate the way we measure our surroundings. What better way to celebrate a day dedicated to measurement than to participate in a citizen science project where you weigh (or measure) something for science? We’ve pulled together some special projects that ask you to do just that: weigh or measure something in your kitchen, yard or the galaxy!

The SciStarter Team

Sourdough for Science
What’s b …


Dead Things

New Round In The East-West Sweet Potato Kerfuffle

By Gemma Tarlach | May 21, 2018 2:00 pm

What’s the story, morning glory?

Well, let me tell you: the sweet potato and other morning glory family members may have been around millions of years earlier than believed — after first sprouting thousands of miles from where many paleobotanists thought they evolved.

Much like last year’s discovery that nightshades (which include both the delicious, like tomatoes, and the deadly, such as belladonna) are much older than previously thought, researchers believe they have evidence  …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World, top posts


Astronomers Find First Interstellar Immigrant

By Jake Parks | May 21, 2018 11:50 am

Less than a year ago, astronomers discovered ‘Oumuamua, the first known object from another star system to pass through our own. Now, in a new study published today in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters, astronomers announced the discovery of the first interstellar object known to have taken up permanent residence around the Sun.
A Perfect Fit
Astronomers first discovered the asteroid in question, which has the succinct name (413107) 2015 BZ509 (or Bee-Zed for …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space & Physics, top posts


Physicists See Quantum Effects in Photosynthesis

By Bill Andrews | May 21, 2018 10:26 am

We all probably learned about photosynthesis, how plants turn sunlight into energy, in school. It might seem, therefore, that we figured out this bit of the world. But scientists are still learning new things about even the most basic stuff (see also the sun and moon), and photosynthesis is no different.

In particular, according to a study released Monday in Nature Chemistry, an international team of scientists showed that molecules involved in photosynthesis display quantum mechanical b …


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