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E.g., 01/18/2017
E.g., 01/18/2017
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  • How Bizarre

    Weird wave found in Venus’ wind-whipped atmosphere

    With scorching temperatures and a mind-numbingly slow rotation (one Venus day lasts 243 Earth days), Venus was already a contender for weirdest planet in the solar system. Now add a giant arc-shaped structure to its list of oddities. The mysterious 10,000-kilometer-long structure was so big that it appeared to stretch between the planet’s poles. And it didn’t budge, even as winds in the planet...

    01/17/2017 - 18:11 Planetary Science, Astronomy
  • News

    Petrified tree rings tell ancient tale of sun’s behavior

    The sun has been in the same routine for at least 290 million years, new research suggests.

    Ancient tree rings from the Permian period record a roughly 11-year cycle of wet and dry periods, climate fluctuations caused by the ebbing and flowing of solar activity, researchers propose January 9 in Geology. The discovery would push back the earliest evidence of today’s 11-year solar cycle by...

    01/17/2017 - 07:00 Climate, Astronomy
  • News in Brief

    New ‘smart’ fibers curb fires in lithium-ion batteries

    Hoverboards and certain cell phones powered by lithium-ion batteries occasionally go up in flames. Scientists now have a new plan for squelching these fires before they flare out of control: incorporating a flame retardant in the battery that’s released if temperatures get too toasty.

    Within lithium-ion batteries, ions travel between positive and negative electrodes through a liquid...

    01/13/2017 - 14:00 Materials, Technology
  • Science Visualized

    Shimmering soap bubbles have a dark side

    View the video

    Zoom in on a soap bubble just before it bursts and brilliant, complex patterns emerge. Shimmery rainbows appear in thicker portions of the soap film, while clusters of dark spots appear in the thinnest regions.

    The thickness of the soap film determines the color seen. Light rays that reflect off of the top and bottom of the film combine to amplify particular...

    01/12/2017 - 07:00 Biophysics
  • Science Ticker

    Ancient oddball invertebrate finds its place on the tree of life

    Hyoliths are evolutionary misfits no more.

    This class of ancient marine invertebrates has now been firmly pegged as lophophorates, a group whose living members include horseshoe worms and lamp shells, concludes an analysis of more than 1,500 fossils, including preserved soft tissue.  

    The soft-bodied creatures, encased in conical shells, concealed U-shaped guts and rings of...

    01/11/2017 - 14:30 Paleontology, Animals, Evolution
  • News in Brief

    The moon is still old

    The moon formed at least 4.51 billion years ago, no more than 60 million years after the formation of the solar system, researchers report online January 11 in Science Advances. This update to the moon’s age is in line with some previous estimates (SN Online: 4/17/15), although some argue the moon formed 150 million to 200 million years after the solar system’s birth.

    A precise age is...

    01/11/2017 - 14:00 Planetary Science
  • News in Brief

    Milky Way’s black hole may hurl galactic spitballs our way

    GRAPEVINE, TEXAS — The gargantuan black hole at the center of the Milky Way is a little like an unruly kid, hurling spitballs. But unlike a child’s arsenal, these spitballs are roughly the size of a planet and can travel fast enough to shoot out of the galaxy. Some might even zip right by our solar system.

    Stars that pass too close to the black hole can be shredded by the intense gravity...

    01/10/2017 - 09:00 Astronomy
  • News in Brief

    Dark matter still missing

    Chalk up one more loss for physicists searching for dark matter. Scientists with the XENON100 experiment have largely ruled out another experiment’s controversial claim of detecting dark matter.

    XENON100, located in Italy’s Gran Sasso National Laboratory, aims to directly detect particles of dark matter — the unknown substance that scientists believe makes up the bulk of matter in the...

    01/10/2017 - 07:00 Particle Physics
  • Feature

    Better batteries charge forward

    Everybody wants more power from their batteries. Smartphones and laptops always need recharging. Electric car drivers must carefully plan their routes to avoid being stranded far from a charging station. Anyone who struggles with a tangle of chargers every night would prefer a battery that can last for weeks or months.

    For researchers who specialize in batteries, though, the drive for a...

    01/09/2017 - 17:50 Chemistry
  • News

    Many tiny moons came together to form moon, simulations suggest

    The moon is made of moons, new simulations suggest. Instead of a single colossal collision forming Earth’s cosmic companion, researchers propose that a series of medium to large impacts created mini moons that eventually coalesced to form one giant moon.

    This mini-moon amalgamation explains why the moon has an Earthlike chemical makeup, the researchers propose January 9 in Nature...

    01/09/2017 - 11:00 Planetary Science