January 7, 2013

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Massive Outburst in Spiral Galaxy NGC 660 Surprises Astronomers

galaxy NGC 660

While using the 305-meter William E. Gordon Telescope at Arecibo, researchers discovered an outburst in spiral galaxy NGC 660 that was ten times brighter than the largest supernova, or exploding star. The surprising discovery of a massive outburst in a neighboring galaxy is giving astronomers a tantalizing look at what likely is a powerful belch […]

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January 7, 2013

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Elephants Make the Long Trek Across Deserts for Survival

Elephants Make the Long Trek Across Deserts For Survival

Elephants need to consume a minimum of 100 liters of water and 100 kilograms of vegetation daily, yet a small population of 350 manages to survive in the harsh Gourma region of Mali, south of the Niger River, where temperatures spike to 50˚C and vegetation is sparse. The scientists published their findings in the journal […]

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January 7, 2013

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Sandy Island, The Island That Wasn’t There

A South Pacific island identified on Google Earth, now blacked out, never existed. Credit: Google Maps

A New Zealand researcher thinks that he has solved the riddle of a mysterious South Pacific island shown on Google Earth and world maps, but which doesn’t really exist. He thinks that a whaling ship from 1876 is to blame. The phantom landmass in the Coral Sea is shown as Sandy Island on Google Earth […]

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January 7, 2013

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Leaf Growth & Tree Height Limited By Physics

The leaves of angiosperm trees vary wildly in size, but the range of size narrows among taller trees. Credit: K. Jensen/Harvard University and M. Zwieniecki/UC Davis

New research indicates that leaf growth may not be as complicated as it seems. When compared species to species, shorter trees exhibit a greater variety of leaf sizes than taller ones, with the tallest trees all having leaves that measure 10 to 20 centimeters in length. The scientists published their findings in the journal Physical […]

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January 7, 2013

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Nopili Goby, The Waterfall Climbing Fish

Nopili Goby, The Waterfall-Climbing Fish

When the Nopili goby (Sicyopterus stimpsoni) moves from salt water to fresh water, over the course of two days, the fish’s mouth migrates from the tip of its head to its chin. This lets it adapt to its new environment. The scientists published their findings in the journal PLoS ONE¹. The adaptations allow it to […]

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January 7, 2013

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Diets High in Fructose Lead to Overeating

Credit: Shuttershock

Scientists have shown, using imaging tests, that fructose can trigger brain changes that lead to overeating. They found that after drinking a fructose beverage, the brain doesn’t register the fullness feeling as it does when simple glucose is consumed. Scientists think that even though this is a small study and that it doesn’t prove that […]

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January 7, 2013

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Volunteers Discover 15 New Planet Candidates in Habitable Zones

15 new planet candidates orbiting in the habitable zones of other stars

By looking for a dip in the brightness as planets pass in front of their parent stars, volunteers have discovered 15 new planet candidates orbiting in the habitable zones of other stars. Added to the 19 similar planets already discovered in habitable zones, where the temperature is neither too hot nor too cold for liquid […]

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January 7, 2013

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Curiosity Returns Images of “Snake River” & Explores “Yellowknife Bay”

Snake River

Over the holidays, NASA’s Curiosity rover returned new images of “Snake River” and is now in a shallow depression called “Yellowknife Bay.” This is the 147th day of the mission and Curiosity has driven 702 meters on the Martian surface. Pasadena, California – After imaging during the holidays, NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity resumed driving Jan. […]

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January 7, 2013

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DNA in Flesh-Eating Flies’ Guts Reveal Biodiversity

Credit: Saguaro juniper

When blowflies and flesh flies settle on dead animals, they aren’t just feasting on the carrion, they are in fact sampling their DNA. Scientists have demonstrated that this DNA persists long enough to be sequenced, allowing them to gain a quick and cost-effective snapshot of mammal diversity in otherwise inaccessible rainforest environments. The scientists published […]

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January 7, 2013

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Hubble Views Galaxies NGC 5011B and NGC 5011C

Don’t trust your eyes

A new Hubble image shows galaxy NGC 5011C, which astronomers now believe is a dwarf galaxy and not a member of the distant Centaurus Cluster as was previously thought, and spiral galaxy NGC 5011B. The Universe loves to fool our eyes, giving the impression that celestial objects are located at the same distance from Earth. […]

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January 5, 2013

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The Inherent Unpredictability of El Nino Events

Corals collected on islands in the central Pacific reveal that the strength and frequency of the climate phenomenon commonly known as El Niño is highly unpredictable.
Credit: Gary Meek/Georgia Tech

El Niño events are not as predictable as previously thought. According to new analyses of climate records locked within ancient corals, the frequency and strength of the ocean-warming phenomenon were more variable during the last century than, on average, during the past 7,000 years. The scientists published their findings in the journal Science¹. The finding […]

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January 5, 2013

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Correlator Supercomputer Designed to Run ALMA Radio Telescope Array

Chile's Chajnantor plateau, some 5 kilometers above sea level, is the home of a new supercomputer specially designed to run the ALMA radio telescope array (dishes at lower right). Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), Carlos Padilla

The Atacama Large Millimeter/Submillimeter Array (ALMA) Correlator, a large supercomputer that was built in Chile to help radio astronomers, will be able to perform 17 quadrillion operations per second. It took 48 months to install it, 5,000 meters above sea level. The Correlator supercomputer was designed to run one of the world’s most complex ground […]

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