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  • illustration of Dawn spacecraft approaching Ceres
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  • Feature

    Solo planets may be surprisingly common

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    Out among the stars, toward the constellation Capricornus, a red sphere floats freely through space. It doesn’t have enough mass to fuse atoms for fuel, as stars do, and it’s too small to be a failed star. In nearly every way, this drifter, known as PSO J318.5-22, is like a planet. Except it fails one key test for planethood: It does not orbit...

    03/20/2015 - 14:00 Astronomy, Planetary Science, Exoplanets
  • Wild Things

    Evidence of ‘yeti’ probably came from a Himalayan black bear

    In 1954, the British Daily Mail newspaper sent a scientific expedition — along with embedded reporter Ralph Izzard — to the Himalayas. Their mission: Track down a yeti.

    The zoologists found some interesting animals, including a new species of vole. A scout for the team heard a story from...

    03/17/2015 - 14:21 Animals
  • News

    Dawn spacecraft arrives at dwarf planet Ceres

    The Dawn spacecraft has arrived at the dwarf planet Ceres.

    After 7½ years trekking across the solar system — including a stopover at the asteroid Vesta — Dawn pulled up alongside Ceres March 6 and let the dwarf planet’s gravity take over, pulling the probe in for a closer look. In six more weeks, Dawn will be close enough to Ceres to begin its 14-...

    03/06/2015 - 09:47 Planetary Science
  • Scicurious

    Report offers stimulating recommendation on coffee

    A new round of dietary do’s and don’ts accompanied last month’s scientific report on the latest food research, summarizing everything from aspartame to saturated fats. The report puts eggs back on the menu. High dietary cholesterol is no longer linked to blood...

    03/04/2015 - 15:13 Nutrition
  • Wild Things

    Zebra finches use camouflage

    Bird’s nests come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, and they’re built out of all sorts of things. Hummingbirds, for instance, create tiny cups just a couple centimeters wide; sociable weavers in Africa, in...

    10/08/2014 - 14:00 Animals
  • Feature

    Doctors enlisted to turn the tide on antibiotic resistance

    It is not difficult to make microbes resistant to penicillin in the laboratory by exposing them to concentrations not sufficient to kill them…. 

    —Alexander Fleming, discoverer of penicillin, in his 1945 Nobel Prize lecture...

    09/19/2014 - 13:24 Health, Science & Society, Microbiology
  • Wild Things

    Spiders get bigger in the big city

    Bad news for city-dwelling arachnophobes: Some spiders may be bigger in your neck of the woods. Or at least one species of arachnid appears to be. Golden orb-weaving spiders living in the most urban parts of Sydney, Australia, tend to be bigger than those found in surrounding rural areas, according to a...

    08/29/2014 - 12:16 Animals
  • Wild Things

    These lizards may be able to learn from each other

    PRINCETON, N.J. — Learning can be a quick shortcut for figuring out how to do something on your own. The ability to learn from watching another individual — called social learning — is something that hasn’t been documented in many species outside of primates and birds. But now a lizard can be added to the list of critters that can learn from one another. Young...

    08/22/2014 - 08:16 Animals
  • Science Visualized

    Wonders of the northern lights

    Tens of kilometers above the icy waterfalls surrounding Iceland’s Kirkjufell Mountain, Earth’s magnetic field drags electrons from the sun to their visually stunning demise. The zooming particles collide with nitrogen and oxygen in the upper atmosphere, an interaction that produces a brilliant blue-green light show called an aurora.

    Photographer Nicholas Roemmelt captured this scene on a...

    07/25/2014 - 09:56 Earth
  • Wild Things

    Mice really do like to run in wheels

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    Give a mouse a wheel, and he’ll be sure to run. Lots of scientific studies have depended on that behavior to test the effects of exercise on health. There’...

    05/21/2014 - 12:08 Animals