Reader favorites of 2015

Here are our top online stories and blogs by popular demand


SHAPE SHIFT  By studying changes in Ganymede's aurora (illustrated), scientists were able to determine that liquid water flows just beneath the moon's surface.


In 2015, the Science News website attracted more than 8 million visitors, who sometimes surprised us with their clicking habits. The lists below recognize the most-read online stories (that don’t appear in our Top 25), as well as the most popular blog posts.

Top online stories

1. Aurora shift confirms Ganymede’s ocean
Subtle changes in the aurora on Jupiter’s moon Ganymede (illustrated above) clued scientists in to the fact that liquid water flows just beneath the moon’s surface (SN: 4/4/15, p. 14).

2. Ring brings ancient Viking and Islamic civilizations closer together
An engraved ring discovered in a woman’s grave in Sweden reveals evidence of close contacts between the Islamic world and ninth century Scandinavians (SN: 4/18/15, p. 8).

3. How the brain perceives time
New findings hint that the brain has legions of assorted clocks, all ticking at different rates. Scientists are untangling how the clocks harmonize to create our movements, emotions and sense of reality (SN: 7/25/15, p. 20).

4. Chikungunya is on the move
A crippling mosquito-borne virus has slipped its bonds in Africa and Asia and is invading new continents faster than people can learn to pronounce its name (SN: 6/13/15, p. 16).

5. Speed of light not so constant after all
Light doesn’t always travel at the speed of light. An experiment revealed that focusing or manipulating the structure of light pulses reduces their speed, even in vacuums (SN: 2/21/15, p. 7).

Top blog posts

Context | Tom Siegfried

Top 10 scientific mysteries for the 21st century
Science has done pretty well for itself since the 1600s, but there are still lots of mysteries left to solve in the 21st century (SN Online: 1/28/15).

Culture Beaker | Rachel Ehrenberg

Deflategate favored foul playover science
The scandal over underinflated footballs kicked off a teachable moment about the ideal gas law (SN Online: 6/18/15).

Growth Curve | Laura Sanders

Children’s cells live on in mothers
Moms and babies harbor little pieces of each other due to a process called fetal-maternal microchimerism (SN Online: 5/10/15).

Scicurious | Bethany Brookshire

Serotonin and the science of sex
Scientists wrestle over the role serotonin plays in sexual preference, social communication and impulsiveness (SN Online: 4/10/15).

Science Ticker | Christopher Crockett

NASA moves ahead with a mission to Europa
A spacecraft will head to Jupiter’s moon Europa by the 2020s to probe the moon’s mysterious, ice-trapped ocean (SN Online: 6/18/15).

Wild Things | Sarah Zielinski

Eyewitness account of a dolphin birth takes a dark turn
Dolphins appear to be happy-go-lucky animals, but their births can be violent, researchers learned (SN Online: 7/21/15).

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