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Your search has returned 917 articles:
  • News

    The sun shrinks a teensy bit when it’s feeling active

    How big is the sun? Well, that depends on when you’re measuring.

    The sun slightly shrinks and expands as it goes through a solar cycle, a roughly 11-year period of high and low magnetic activity, a new study finds. When the sun is the most active, its radius decreases by 1 or 2 kilometers, two researchers report in a paper accepted in the Astrophysical Journal. Given that the sun’s full...

    06/11/2018 - 07:00 Astronomy, Physics
  • News in Brief

    A neutron star crash may have spawned a black hole

    The first observed smashup of two stellar remnants known as neutron stars probably forged the least massive black hole yet discovered, researchers report in the June 1 Astrophysical Journal Letters.

    This cosmic collision, observed in August 2017, took the astronomical community by storm and offered insights into the origins of precious metals and the mysterious dark energy that fuels the...

    06/01/2018 - 13:52 Astronomy, Physics
  • News

    Here’s why scientists are questioning whether ‘sonic attacks’ are real

    An account of another alleged “sonic attack” has surfaced, this time from a U.S. government employee in China. The employee reported “subtle and vague, but abnormal, sensations of sound and pressure,” according to a U.S. Embassy health alert. The episode mirrors reports from American diplomats in Cuba in late 2016, and fuels the debate among scientists about what, if anything, is actually...

    06/01/2018 - 07:00 Neuroscience, Physics, Science & Society
  • Letters to the Editor

    Readers respond to pesticides, Hawking radiation and more

    Pesky pesticides

    Researchers are tracking tiny insects to learn how animals move around the planet, Alexandra Witze reported in “Flying insects tell tales of long-distance migrations” (SN: 4/14/18, p. 22).

    “There are several uncritical references to using pesticides to combat insect pests” in the story, reader Christina Gullion wrote.

    Gullion noted that pesticides can be...

    05/30/2018 - 07:00 Science & Society, Physics, Animals
  • Feature

    Meet the speedsters of the plant world

    Somewhere in the wetlands of South Carolina, a buzzing fly alights on a rosy-pink surface. As the fly explores the strange scenery, it unknowingly brushes a small hair sticking up like a slender sword. Strolling along, the fly accidentally grazes another hair. Suddenly, the pink surface closes in from both sides, snapping shut like a pair of ravenous jaws. The blur of movement lasts only a...

    05/16/2018 - 12:11 Plants, Biophysics, Physics
  • Science Ticker

    Despite a new measurement, the neutron’s lifetime is still puzzling

    A genie in a bottle might grant you a wish, but neutrons trapped in a bottle aren’t so accommodating.

    Outside of an atomic nucleus, the neutral particles eventually decay into other particles. But scientists aren’t sure exactly how long neutrons stick around for before their demise: Two types of neutron lifetime measurements disagree. One type of estimate, made with a beam of neutrons,...

    05/09/2018 - 17:50 Physics
  • News

    Gaia delivers a trove of data revealing secrets of the Milky Way

    Astronomers are going gaga over Gaia.

    The April 25 release of data from the European Space Agency’s Gaia spacecraft, which cataloged nearly 1.7 billion stars, has kicked off a scientific spree, with multiple papers published online in the last two weeks at arXiv.org.

    Charting stars in the Milky Way and beyond, Gaia surveys the entire sky. The spacecraft can measure stars’ motions...

    05/09/2018 - 07:00 Astronomy, Physics
  • Soapbox

    Real numbers don’t cut it in the real world, this physicist argues

    You would be forgiven for thinking that real numbers are, in fact, real — the word is right there in the name. But physicist Nicolas Gisin doesn’t think so.

    He’s not questioning the mathematical concept of a real number. The term refers to a number that isn’t imaginary: It has no factor of i, the square root of negative one. Instead, Gisin, of the University of Geneva, debates the...

    05/08/2018 - 10:00 Numbers, Physics
  • News in Brief

    ‘Time crystals’ created in two new types of materials

    It was only a matter of time.

    A weird form of matter called a time crystal has made an appearance in two more types of materials, doubling the number of known time crystal habitats. In a typical crystal, its arrangement of atoms regularly repeats in space, such as the alternating sodium and chloride ions that make up a salt crystal. But time crystals’ patterns repeat themselves at...

    05/04/2018 - 07:00 Physics, Condensed Matter
  • News

    Neutron stars shed neutrinos to cool down quickly

    For some neutron stars, the quickest way to cool off isn’t with a frosty beverage, but with lightweight, subatomic particles called neutrinos.

    Scientists have spotted the first solid evidence that some neutron stars, the collapsed remnants of exploded stars, can rapidly cool their cores by emitting neutrinos. The result adds to evidence that scientists are gathering to understand the...

    05/02/2018 - 08:49 Physics, Astronomy