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D-brief

Multiple “Mini-Moons” Could be Orbiting Earth

By Amber Jorgenson | August 14, 2018 4:50 pm

Think that the Moon is the only object orbiting Earth? You might want to think again.

Researchers have theorized the existence of “mini-moons” — tiny asteroids pulled into Earth’s orbit by forces of gravity — ever since discovering one with NASA’s Catalina Sky Survey in 2006. These fast moving asteroids revolve around the planet before either falling toward the surface as a meteor, or being ejected back out into space. But because of their small size and quick movements, no  …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space & Physics

D-brief

Magnetic Fields May Be to Blame for Jupiter's Skin-Deep Stripes

By Erika K. Carlson | August 14, 2018 4:44 pm

What would Jupiter be without its stripes? The Great Red Spot might be Jupiter’s most famous feature, but the giant planet would be unrecognizable without the multicolored bands streaking across its face.

The colors are there thanks to the chemistry of Jupiter’s atmosphere, but the striped pattern itself comes from long-lived winds called zonal flows that blow east-west around the planet in alternating directions. These zonal flows are similar to the jet streams high in Earth’s atm …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space & Physics, top posts

D-brief

Sleep Deprivation Makes Us Less Social

By Lacy Schley | August 14, 2018 4:33 pm

Sleep deprivation strikes us all at some point in our lives, from stressed-out students struggling through finals week to parents of a newborn barely catching a wink. They’re all running on empty. And if you happen to interact with one of these poor souls, you’ll likely notice they may seem a bit distant. If so, you may feel a little bummed yourself once you part ways. You’re not imagining things, at least according to new research in Nature Communications.

Respect the Bubble
 …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Mind & Brain, Social science

D-brief

Did Native Americans Breed Parrots in New Mexico 1,000 Years Ago?

By Charles Choi | August 14, 2018 4:28 pm

Native Americans may have kept a breeding colony of scarlet macaws in the American Southwest starting more than 1,000 years ago, a new study finds. The birds were raised for their colorful plumage hundreds of miles from their native jungles.

With their brilliant red, yellow and blue plumes, scarlet macaws are likely the best-known parrots of the New World. These birds normally range from South America to eastern coastal Mexico and Guatemala.

Yet, over the years, archaeologists have une …

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

The Crux

Can Humans Live in Space Without Going Crazy?

By David Levine | August 14, 2018 2:30 pm

On May 5, 1961, Alan Shepard became the first American in space when he piloted the Mercury capsule Freedom 7. His sub-orbital journey lasted 15 minutes. Like most children who grew up in the early era of space flight, I remember this moment well.

The flight was extra special for me because my dad, Arthur L. Levine, worked for NASA. As a human resources administrator, he recruited John Glenn, who in 1962 became the first American to orbit Earth. My dad, Glenn and Neil Armstrong, all work …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space & Physics, Top Posts

D-brief

Abnormal Heat For Next Four Years, New Model Predicts

By Eric Betz | August 14, 2018 10:00 am

From California to Switzerland and south to Australia, a global rash of heat waves have scorched our planet in recent weeks, exacerbating drought and wildfires. So, you may want to pour yourself a cold glass of water before you read this.

New long term forecasts suggest the next four years will be unusually warm with higher chances of extreme temps, according to research published Tuesday in Nature Communications.

The study, authored by a pair of European climate scientists, uses sta …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Environment
MORE ABOUT: climate change
The steaming cone at Fissure 8 with some small pockets of molten lava in the main vent area. Taken August 12, 2018. USGS/HVO.

Rocky Planet

Is the Kīlauea Eruption Winding Down?

By Erik Klemetti | August 14, 2018 9:54 am

It has been awhile since I updated on the lower East Rift Zone eruption on Hawaii’s Kīlauea. Well, it appears that the eruption is slowing down significantly. The fountaining at the Fissure 8 cone has stopped (see above) and the lava lake that formed there has gotten sluggish and sticky. Does this mean we’re seeing the end of the eruption that has paved over so many homes and added to the Big Island? That is hard to say with any certainty at this point.

There are still dribbles of lava m …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Rocky Planet, Science, Science Blogs

Science Sushi

Livestock Infected with Worms Belch and Fart 33% More Methane

By Christie Wilcox | August 14, 2018 8:00 am

It’s estimated that 40% of greenhouse gas emissions come from agriculture, and a substantial portion of that is directly ’emitted’ by livestock. And just last year, climate scientists reported that we’ve actually been underestimating the extent to which the combined belches and flatulence of farmed animals contributes to climate change by 11%. Unsurprisingly, there’s been renewed interest in reducing those emissions, especially considering the demand for livestock is only growing. Now,  …

Seriously, Science?

Physicists finally explain why your earphones are always tangled.

By Seriously Science | August 14, 2018 6:00 am

[Note from the authors of “Seriously, Science?”: After nine years with Discover, we’ve been informed that this will be our last month blogging on this platform. Despite being (usually) objective scientists, we have a sentimental streak, and we have spent the last few days reminiscing about the crazy, and often funny, science we have highlighted. Therefore, we have assembled a month-long feast of our favorite science papers. Enjoy!]

There are few day-to-day events that send me in …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: blog business

ImaGeo

What caused this colossal heart-shaped hole in the cloud deck off the coast of California and Baja?

By Tom Yulsman | August 13, 2018 7:14 pm

I’m always on the look out for interesting images of Earth shot from space so that I can share them here at ImaGeo. And when I saw the one above, I just couldn’t resist it.

Often, the cloud deck extends along the coast of California and down into Baja in a more or less continuous manner, as you can see in the image at right acquired by NASA’s Terra satellite five years ago in August. But in the Terra image above, there is indeed a massive heart-shaped hole in the deck.

It’s also …

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