This Week: Ancient water = ancient habitat?
In the News: Flying virus!
Coming Thursday: Roaches: A lot smarter than you thought!
Typically, the swirl of stormy weather obscures the cells at the heart of severe thunderstorms. This uncommonly clear view of an entire thunderstorm cell, with the top of the growing cumulonimbus tower topping out at 40,000 feet, reveals many interesting features, including “fall streaks” of what may be hail from the underside of the overhanging anvil portion of the cloud. Shortly after this photo was taken on May 22, 2011, near Madison, the storm pelted the Sun Prairie area with large, damaging hail.
The image depicts a cross-section of mouse skeletal muscle magnified 60 times. Fibers in the tissue are fluorescently stained for protein synthesis. The green stain outlines individual fibers. The bright pink/purple fibers are newly growing muscle fibers showing protein synthesis rates of these fiber types for the first time. Images like this allow researchers to [...]
To the human eye, Bidens ferufolia — a species in the sunflower family — has all-yellow petals (left). Bees see the same flower differently: with a bullseye, guiding them to land close to the nectar, held on the nectaries at the center. Humans can distinguish more colors than bees, but bees have a broader range [...]
An emperor penguin makes the 5-foot leap to solid ice at the Penguin Ranch in McMurdo Sound, Antarctica. A few emperor penguins are placed in a fenced-in area where they can be studied. A circular hole cut through the sea ice allows the penguins to dive for their own food, but since they have to [...]
Pannexin1, a tumor-suppressing protein, plays a vital role in binding tissue together. When cells expressing Pannexin1 touch, the protein initiates a response that includes developing tight networks of actin, a structural protein. A looser cell structure can ease the spread of cancer cells. Here, cancerous rat cells that have been altered to make Pannexin1 (black) [...]
Have you ever wondered what the ocean floor looks like? The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) did, too. So they compiled gobs of data and maps generated by ships and satellites to create this amazing animation. On your tour of the dynamic ocean floor, you’ll soar over undersea mountain ranges, deep rifts, shifting plates, [...]
The Skogafoss is one of the biggest waterfalls in Iceland, and is especially beautiful in this stunning image under the aurora borealis. The Northern Lights are shining against a great sea of stars, including the constellation Ursa major, or Great Bear, home to the asterism — a recognizable cluster of stars — the Big Dipper. [...]
Eyes aren’t the only human organ that can “see” light. It turns out that skin cells called melanocytes have a light-receptor molecule called rhodopsin that fluoresces as soon as it detects ultra-violet A light (UVA), the deeper penetrating, long-wavelength UV light, as shown here. Until now, researchers have only found rhodopsin in the eye, where [...]
This view, taken by the QuickBird satellite operated by DigitalGlobe, shows the Breidamerkurjökull Glacier in Iceland. The Quickbird is a sub-meter resolution satellite, which means that each pixel of the image represents less than a one square meter area. Breidamerkurjökull is the main glacier of Vatnajökull, the largest ice cap in Europe, which covers 8 [...]
If you saw something like this falling from the sky, you might think that the weather outside was indeed frightful. But this dumbbell shaped object is, in fact, a super-magnified snowflake — yes, a snowflake. Not so frightful after all. This particular snowflake is a capped column, one of many types of snowflakes. The fuzzy [...]
Buckle your tiny seatbelts. Scientists have created a car at the nano scale. Just how small is nano? One nanometer equals one billionth of a meter. To help you wrap your head around that, the average sheet of paper is about 100,000 nanometers thick. Measuring in at 4 nanometers by two nanometers, this car is [...]
You don’t have to be a birder or ornithologist (a.k.a. a bird scientist) to think this graphic is fascinating. This map shows where American Pipits, a small, sparrow-like bird, can be found throughout the year (click on it to watch the animation of their migration). The American Pipit likes the open country. During its breeding [...]
Caenorhabditis elegans is a one millimeter-long soil roundworm, as well as an insightful model organism for research in molecular and developmental biology, because it is simple, easy to grow and can be frozen. C. elegans has two sexes: a self-fertilizing hermaphrodite and a male. Hermaphrodites make both sperm and eggs. This picture of a hermaphrodite [...]
Teeny little video cameras called minirhizotrons snapped these photos of wetland plant roots. The cameras will help scientists anticipate how the plants might respond to climate change. Minirhizotrons give scientists at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory a technological boost by allowing them to study living roots, especially the really small ones, without harming the plants. [...]
One hurdle to treating neurodegenerative diseases is the inability of neurons in the central nervous system to regenerate axons after damage. In glaucoma, retinal ganglion cell (RGC) axons, which make up the optic nerve and serve as cables to pass information from our eyes to our brains, are damaged and thus unable to regenerate. Shown [...]