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  • News

    In a first, magnetic fields have been spotted between two galaxy clusters

    For the first time, astronomers have sighted magnetic fields between two galaxy clusters — a find that suggests some of the largest scale structures in the universe are magnetized.

    The fields run between the galaxy clusters Abell 0399 and Abell 0401, which are beginning to merge about 1 billion light-years from Earth, researchers report in the June 7 Science. Radiation from electrons...

    06/06/2019 - 14:00 Astronomy, Cosmology
  • News in Brief

    Almost all healthy people harbor patches of mutated cells

    Normal isn’t always normal. A new study finds that large groups of cells in healthy tissues carry mutations, including ones tied to cancer.

    About 95 percent of healthy people had patches of mutated cells in at least one of the 29 tissues examined, including kidney, muscle and liver, researchers report in the June 7 Science. Most of those mutations found in the 488 people in the study are...

    06/06/2019 - 14:00 Genetics, Cancer
  • June 8, 2019

    06/06/2019 - 12:06
  • News

    Worms lure two new species of hopping rats out of obscurity

    Two newfound species of shrew-rat have joined a lengthy list of endemic mammals on Luzon, the largest island in the Philippine archipelago and a hotbed of biodiversity. Researchers made their discovery thanks to wriggling worms and a stroke of luck, and hope the finding might help sway legislators to protect the vulnerable ecosystem before it’s too late (SN: 6/8/19, p. 5).     

    The new...

    06/06/2019 - 10:00 Animals, Conservation, Ecology
  • News in Brief

    Tiny plastic debris is accumulating far beneath the ocean surface

    Vast swathes of litter floating on the ocean, like the great Pacific garbage patch, may just be the tip of the trash heap.

    Divers have reportedly spotted plastic bags and candy wrappers as deep as the Mariana Trench. Now, a survey of microplastics at various depths off the coast of California suggests that this debris is most common several hundred meters below the surface, scientists...

    06/06/2019 - 09:00 Oceans, Pollution, Animals
  • News

    Limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees C could prevent thousands of deaths in the U.S.

    Having the world meet a more stringent goal to limit global warming may prevent thousands of heat-related deaths in 15 major U.S. cities, a study shows. The projections illustrate the high risk from climate change faced by urban populations.

    Under the Paris Agreement, participating countries have pledged to curb greenhouse gas emissions with the aim of limiting warming to no more than 2...

    06/05/2019 - 14:00 Health, Climate
  • News

    Soil eroded by glaciers may have kick-started plate tectonics

    Vast amounts of sediment eroded from Earth’s continents were necessary to lubricate the wheel of plate tectonics, scientists propose. The idea offers a new angle on long-standing riddles about the origin and evolution of the planet’s global surface recycling system, one that is unique in the solar system.

    Earth’s interior holds a lot of heat, even 4.6 billion years after the planet’s...

    06/05/2019 - 13:36 Earth
  • News

    The accretion disk around our galaxy’s black hole has been spotted at last

    Some supermassive black holes announce their presence with screaming hot disks of orbiting gases. But the behemoth at the center of the Milky Way has been shy and demure. Now, astronomers have finally spotted the black hole’s faintly glowing accretion disk of infalling material, long suspected but never before seen.

    “I was very surprised that we actually saw it,” says astrophysicist...

    06/05/2019 - 13:02 Astronomy
  • News in Brief

    Tiny structures in dragonfish teeth turn them into invisible daggers

    In the deep sea, dragonfish lure smaller fish near their gaping jaws with beardlike attachments capped with a light. But the teeth of the pencil-sized predators don’t gleam in that glow.

    Instead, dragonfish teeth are transparent and hard to see, thanks to nanoscale structures that reduce the amount of light scattered by the teeth, researchers report June 5 in Matter.

    The clear...

    06/05/2019 - 11:00 Animals, Biophysics, Evolution
  • News

    Chemicals in biodegradable food containers can leach into compost

    Composting biodegradable food containers cuts the amount of trash that gets sent to a landfill. But the practice may serve up some unintended consequences for human health.

    That’s because the items often contain perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, to help repel water and oil. These persistent chemicals can leach out of the packaging and end up in compost, researchers...

    06/04/2019 - 14:00 Sustainability, Toxicology, Ecosystems