Monthly Archives: October 2015

Sorry, I just couldn’t resist: Twelve views of Cyclone Chapala in one psychedelic animated gif

After posting earlier today about Cyclone Chapala, I wasn't intending to do another one — until I spotted the unusual animation above over at the blog of the Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies. Being a child of the '60s, well, I just could resist its psychedelic draw. (Make sure to click on the image to watch it as an animation.) For details about the storm, please see my earlier post: Cyclone Chapala strengthens rapidly over record-warm water, aims for unusual

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The first breathtaking images are in from Cassini’s close encounter with Enceladus, Saturn’s ‘geyser moon’

As NASA's Cassini spacecraft dove toward Enceladus on October 28, its cameras captured a trove of visual data — and today, the first images have reached home. I think you'll agree that they are truly breathtaking. Cassini captured the image above from an altitude of 38,000 miles above the surface of the icy planet. The spacecraft was racing toward the south polar region of Saturn's moon, located below the wavy ridge-like features toward the bottom. And here's what it saw as it skimmed

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Cyclone Chapala strengthens rapidly over record-warm water, aims for highly unusual landfall in war-torn Yemen

Here comes another one, this time in the Arabian Sea. Last week we had Hurricane Patricia in the Pacific, with surface winds that topped out at 200 miles per hour — the highest reliably-measured surface winds for any tropical cyclone on record. Now we've got Cyclone Chapala swirling over record-warm waters and aiming for the Arabian Peninsula. It is already the second strongest cyclone ever measured in the Arabian Sea (behind Category 5 Cylcone Gonu in 2007). Keep reading for a brief d

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Turning Deep Subsurface Science into Child’s Play

The Nankai Trough off the eastern coast of Japan is the result of tectonic shifts in the Earth’s crust, a 1000-meter deep ocean basin carved by the flexing and bending of huge slabs of rock. Nearly 250 meters beneath the seafloor, nestled within compressed sediment, ovoid microorganisms are sputtering along, producing methane that likely ends up in ice-like methane hydrates. When they were discovered in 2003, the microbes were declared a novel species, Methanoculleus submarinus. These

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Meet the Parasites That Control Human Brains

It’s time to enjoy some monster stories, and the scariest monsters of all are those that actually exist. Join us as we share tales of some of the creepiest parasites around — those that control the brains of their human hosts, sometimes leaving insanity and death in their wake. These are the tales of neurological parasites. The Feline Parasite Toxoplasma gondii tops the list as the most famous — and most controversial — neurological parasite. This tiny protozoan doesn’t look like much m

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Revelations in the Rainforest Canopy

A daring treetop experiment is yielding key insights into the fate of sensitive rainforest plants as air pollution rises.

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Being Honest About the Pygmalion Effect

In the 1960s, a researcher lied to prove students would rise to meet their teachers’ expectations. But no one could replicate those results without also lying — until now.

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The Archaeology of Stars

Some astronomers seek to understand the origins of our universe by reconstructing the lives of its oldest sources of light.

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The Passion of the Pluto-Philes

At New Horizons mission control, a 12-watt signal from 3 billion miles away unleashed a surge of scientific emotion.

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Storms on Other Worlds

Lightning might last only an instant, but it can shape a planet’s atmosphere and even spark life.

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