What Martin Nweeia noticed first when he encountered narwhals, he says, was the sound. In May 2000, as spring was just reaching Baffin Island in the Canadian Arctic, a famed local hunter took Nweeia out on the ice searching the open water for those tusk-bearing, high-Arctic whales. "I was sitting on a bucket out on the ice doing polar bear watch," he says. At that time of year, daylight lasts...
David Schiminovich stared at a gallery of spiral galaxies as though he had never seen anything like them before. Indeed, no one had. He sat downloading the newly collected images in a narrow room overlooking a cavernous space at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. In that space, the mirror for the Palomar Telescope—until the mid 1970s, the world's largest telescope—had been...