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Earth's ionosphere

GLOWING HALO  The colorful bands above Earth’s surface, known as airglow, form when cosmic and solar rays interact with different gases in the upper atmosphere and emit light. Two upcoming NASA missions will study airglow and other properties of the ionosphere.


HOT SPOT  The Yellowstone supervolcano has a 17-million-year history of eruptions in the western United States. Now scientists say the source of the supervolcano’s heat isn’t a deep mantle plume, but the downward drag of an ancient subducting slab stirring up the mantle.

GONE DRY  Villagers try to catch fish in a dried-up pond in West Bengal, India. A deadly heat wave that swept across Asia in 2016 led to widespread drought that affected hundreds of millions in India. Such an intense and prolonged heat wave, scientists now report, could not have happened without human-caused climate change.

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