Comet explores sun!

Comet explores sun!

In 2011, a suicidal comet brushed the sun — showing a swirling magnetic field, the source of dangerous “space weather.” What did we learn from the sacrifice of comet Lovejoy? More »

Ancient water = ancient habitat?

Ancient water = ancient habitat?

Geologic dating shows that water has been trapped more than 2 kilometers underground since before the Cambrian explosion. This water contains chemicals that support bacteria in other places. Could the deep biosphere contain relics of the most primitive life? Could such life exist on Mars? More »

Exploring a volcano

Exploring a volcano

Watch volcanologists track a giant volcanic field in Chile — site of the fastest uplift on Earth. Laguna del Maule could change our climate. Scientists are racing to understand a strange unrest. What is the threat from this bizarre landscape? More »

Horrific Hurricanes

Horrific Hurricanes

How do hurricanes form? How do we predict their paths? How can we improve predictions? More »

Galactic rays

Galactic rays

Scientists have tracked a light beam that’s half-a-million light years long to a monster black hole and found that the hole and its disk of orbiting junk are spinning in parallel. Their new, supersize radio telescope promises more details on black holes at the center of most galaxies, including ours. More »

Super-volcanoes!

Super-volcanoes!

Take a modern volcano, and multiply it by 1,000. That’s a super-volcano. Their rare eruptions change landscapes and weather. How long can giant pools of molten rock sit beneath the surface before a super-v blows? A new study says, not long at all… More »

Dunewatching, Martian style

Dunewatching, Martian style

New pix from Mars show sand dunes on the move. Mars has been dry for 1.5 billion years; could massive erosion be due to wind? Yes, says a new report that tracked dunes with precise new images. Surprise: dunes move as fast on Mars as on Earth! More »

Reading magma, predicting giant eruptions

Reading magma, predicting giant eruptions

Volcanic eruptions are unpredictable, but here’s a new view of the historic eruption of a Mediterranean monster. About 3,500 years ago, Santorini’s eruption left a giant caldera and 60-meter layers of pumice. A new study of tiny crystals tracks movement of molten magma before the cataclysm. More »

Chasing neutrinos at the South Pole

Chasing neutrinos at the South Pole

Neutrinos are odd: Extremely difficult to see, they travel through mass with scarcely a trace. A 1-billion ton detector in South Pole ice is now counting neutrinos, intent on understanding their origin and role in the universe, and even spotting echoes of the Big Bang. More »

Watching a continental split

detail of labelled, satellite view of Baja California and Sea of Cortez

Seismic study shows crust thinning as continent divides, giving another view of our restless planet, showing tectonic movement in action, and highlighting a major real-estate investment opportunity. More »

Running out of space

Tommy and his spacedog point up to Spaceship One

With space shuttles in museums, the near-term American plan to return to space relies on other countries or private firms. What are the options? More »

Weather, climate, war

Solemn, young Congolese boy in oversized raincoat, raindrops falling, green grass behind him

If conflicts are more common near the equator, what will global warming affect do? A new study shows increases in conflict during el Niño periods — but only during the warm, dry part of the cycle, and only in places affected by these big climatic cycles. More »

Science on the road!

Science on the road!

Hitting the road? What could be more enlightening than gawking at a cave, exploring a desert, or eyeballing the largest telescope in the world? Need proof that science is not just books and websites or equations and software? Get moving! More »