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E.g., 08/21/2017
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  • map of next 15 total solar eclipses
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  • Science Visualized

    Here are the paths of the next 15 total solar eclipses

    August's total solar eclipse won’t be the last time the moon cloaks the sun’s light. From now to 2040, for example, skywatchers around the globe can witness 15 such events.  

    Their predicted paths aren’t random scribbles. Solar eclipses occur in what’s called a Saros cycle — a period that lasts about 18 years, 11 days and eight hours, and is governed by the moon’s orbit. (Lunar eclipses...

    08/18/2017 - 14:30 Astronomy, Planetary Science
  • Science Ticker

    Giant larvaceans could be ferrying ocean plastic to the seafloor

    View the video

    Everybody poops, but the poop of bloblike filter feeders called giant larvaceans could be laced with microplastics.

    Every day, these gelatinous creatures (Bathochordaeus stygius) build giant disposable mucus mansions to round up zooplankton into their stomachs — sometimes sifting through around 80 liters of seawater per hour. Kakani Katija and her colleagues at the...

    08/16/2017 - 15:23 Animals, Oceans, Pollution
  • News

    Seismologists get to the bottom of how deep Earth’s continents go

    Earthquake vibrations are revealing just how deep the continents beneath our feet go.

    Researchers analyzed seismic waves from earthquakes that have rocked various regions throughout the world, including the Americas, Antarctica and Africa. In almost every place, patterns in these waves indicated a layer of partially melted material between 130 and 190 kilometers underground.

    That...

    08/15/2017 - 17:46 Earth
  • Science Visualized

    Why midsize animals are the fastest

    Speed has its limits — on the open road and the Serengeti. Midsize animals tend to be the speedsters, even though, in theory, the biggest animals should be the fastest. A new analysis that relates speed and body size in 474 species shows that the pattern holds for animals whether they run, fly or swim (see graphs below) and suggests how size becomes a liability.

    This relationship between...

    08/11/2017 - 09:00 Animals, Biophysics, Ecology
  • News

    Why is this year’s solar eclipse such a big deal for scientists?

    The sky will go dark. The temperature will drop. Stars will shine in the middle of the day. For the first time in nearly a century, millions of Americans from coast-to-coast will witness a total solar eclipse. Those who have watched the sun suddenly snuff out say it’s an otherworldly feeling. It can be humbling. It can be spiritual. It can change the course of history (SN: 5/13/17, p. 29)....

    08/11/2017 - 07:00 Astronomy, Earth, Physics, Science & Society
  • News

    Climate change is shifting when Europe’s rivers flood

    Across Europe, rivers aren’t flooding when they used to.

    Long-term changes in temperature and precipitation are making some rivers flood days, weeks or even months earlier than they did 50 years ago, and pushing flooding in other areas much later, researchers report August 11 in Science. Those changes could impact people, wildlife and farms near rivers.

    Previous studies have shown...

    08/10/2017 - 14:28 Climate, Earth
  • News

    The first look at how archaea package their DNA reveals they’re a lot like us

    Single-celled microbes may have taught plants and animals how to pack their genetic baggage.

    Archaea, a type of single-celled life-form similar to bacteria, keep their DNA wrapped around proteins much in the same way as more complex organisms, researchers report in the Aug. 11 Science. This finding provides new insight into the evolutionary origins of the DNA-packing process and the...

    08/10/2017 - 14:00 Genetics, Molecular Evolution
  • News in Brief

    Gene editing creates virus-free piglets

    Pigs are a step closer to becoming organ donors for people.

    Researchers used molecular scissors known as CRISPR/Cas9 to snip embedded viruses out of pig DNA. Removing the viruses — called porcine endogenous retroviruses, or PERVs — creates piglets that can’t pass the viruses on to transplant recipients, geneticist Luhan Yang and colleagues report online August 10 in Science.

    Yang,...

    08/10/2017 - 14:00 Genetics, Biomedicine
  • 50 Years Ago

    50 years ago, steel got stronger and stretchier

    Ductile, strong steel

    Fundamental scientific knowledge of the behavior of metallic crystals has led to the design of a new series of alloy steels, stronger and tougher than those now available. The new alloys can be stretched from two to five times more than previous ones, yet also have high strength…. The alloys, called TRIP steels, are produced by [the process] Transformation Induced...

    08/10/2017 - 07:00 Materials
  • News

    Infant ape’s tiny skull could have a big impact on ape evolution

    A 13-million-year-old infant’s skull, discovered in Africa in 2014, comes from a new species of ape that may not be far removed from the common ancestor of living apes and humans.

    The tiny find, about the size of a lemon, is one of the most complete skulls known of any extinct ape that inhabited Africa, Asia or Europe between 25 million and 5 million years ago, researchers report in the...

    08/09/2017 - 13:00 Anthropology, Human Evolution, Paleontology