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E.g., 12/14/2017
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  • Letters to the Editor

    These are the most-read Science News stories of 2017

    The Science News website attracted millions of visitors in 2017. The lists below name the most-read online stories outside of our Top 10 stories of the year, plus the most popular stories for each of our blogs.

    Top stories

    1. The blue wings of this dragonfly may be surprisingly aliveTiny tubes between veins in the shimmery blue wings of morpho dragonflies (shown above) may be respiratory...

    12/13/2017 - 12:00 Science & Society, Astronomy, Animals
  • December 23, 2017

    12/13/2017 - 08:48
  • Editor's Note

    2017 delivered humility, and proved our potential

    The Top 10 science stories of 2017, selected by Science News staff and presented in this year-end issue, have the potential to make you feel small and certainly humble. Our No. 1 story of the year takes place an unfathomably distant 130 million light-years away, where a neutron star smashup produced, by some estimates, 10 Earth masses worth of gold — wow! That’s enough for many trillions of...

    12/13/2017 - 08:46 Science & Society, Astronomy, Genetics
  • Year in Review

    Colliding neutron stars, gene editing, human origins and more top stories of 2017

    In science, progress rarely comes in one big shebang. Well, it has now, two years running. The first-ever direct detection of gravitational waves, our top story in 2016, launched a long-dreamed-of kind of astronomy capable of “unlocking otherwise unknowable secrets of the cosmos,” as physics writer Emily Conover puts it. 2017’s key event: a never-before-seen neutron star collision that...

    12/13/2017 - 08:32 Science & Society
  • Year in Review

    This year’s neutron star collision unlocks cosmic mysteries

    Thousands of astronomers and physicists. Hundreds of hours of telescope observations. Dozens of scientific papers. Two dead stars uniting into one.

    In 2017, scientists went all in on a never-before-seen astronomical event of astounding proportions: a head-on collision between two neutron stars, the ultradense remnants of exploded stars.

    The smashup sent shivers of gravitational...

    12/13/2017 - 08:31 Astronomy, Physics
  • Year in Review

    CRISPR gene editing moved into humans in 2017

    Scientists reported selectively altering genes in viable human embryos for the first time this year. For nearly five years, researchers have been wielding the molecular scissors known as CRISPR/Cas9 to make precise changes in animals’ DNA. But its use in human embryos has more profound implications, researchers and ethicists say.

    “We can now literally change our own species,” says...

    12/13/2017 - 08:30 Genetics, Science & Society
  • Year in Review

    The Larsen C ice shelf break has sparked groundbreaking research

    In 2015, glaciologist Daniela Jansen reported that a large rift was rapidly growing across one of the Antarctic Peninsula’s ice shelves, known as Larsen C. When the shelf broke, she and colleagues predicted, it would be the largest calving event in decades.

    It was. In July, a Delaware-sized iceberg split off from Larsen C  (SN: 8/5/17, p. 6). And researchers knew practically the moment...

    12/13/2017 - 08:30 Climate, Ecosystems, Oceans
  • Year in Review

    The story of humans’ origins got a revision in 2017

    Human origins are notoriously tough to pin down. Fossil and genetic studies in 2017 suggested a reason why: No clear starting time or location ever existed for our species. The first biological stirrings of humankind occurred at a time of evolutionary experimentation in the human genus, Homo.

    Homo sapiens’ signature skeletal features emerged piece by piece in different African...

    12/13/2017 - 08:29 Human Evolution, Ancestry, Archaeology
  • Year in Review

    Seven Earth-sized planets entered the spotlight this year

    Discoveries of planets around distant stars have become almost routine. But finding seven exoplanets in one go is something special. In February, a team of planet seekers announced that a small, cool star some 39 light-years away, TRAPPIST-1, hosts the most Earth-sized exoplanets yet found in one place: seven roughly Earth-sized worlds, at least three of which might host liquid water (SN: 3/18...

    12/13/2017 - 08:29 Astronomy, Exoplanets, Astrobiology
  • Year in Review

    A quantum communications satellite proved its potential in 2017

    During the world’s first telephone call in 1876, Alexander Graham Bell summoned his assistant from the other room, stating simply, “Mr. Watson, come here. I want to see you.” In 2017, scientists testing another newfangled type of communication were a bit more eloquent. “It is such a privilege and thrill to witness this historical moment with you all,” said Chunli Bai, president of the Chinese...

    12/13/2017 - 08:28 Quantum Physics