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Interstellar object may hold ‘alien’ water

Image copyright ESO/M. KORNMESSER Image caption Artwork: Observations of ‘Oumuamua noted its unusual elongated shape The first known interstellar asteroid may hold water from another star system in its interior, according to a study. Discovered on 19 October, the object’s speed and trajectory strongly suggested it originated beyond our Solar System. The body showed no […]

Rocket rumbles give volcanic insights

Image caption An “upside down volcano” (L) and an “upside down rocket” (R) What do volcanoes and rockets have in common? “Volcanoes have a nozzle aimed at the sky, and rockets have a nozzle aimed at the ground,” explains Steve McNutt, a geosciences professor at the University of South Florida in Tampa. It explains why […]

Heinz Wolff, Great Egg Race presenter and scientist, dies

Media captionHeinz Wolff’s show challenged scientists to create weird and wonderful gadgets Renowned scientist and TV presenter Heinz Wolff has died, aged 89. The German-born inventor and professor, famed for hosting BBC Two’s long-running science show The Great Egg Race, died of heart failure on 15 December, his family said. A former advisor to the […]

California fires: Sentinel satellite tracks wildfire smoke plume

California fires: Sentinel satellite tracks wildfire smoke plume

Image copyright COPERNICUS SENTINEL DATA (2017) – KNMI/ESA Image caption The smoke plume heads out over the ocean and then turns north Europe’s new Sentinel-5P satellite has captured a dramatic image of the smoke billowing away from the devastating California wildfires. It is a powerful demonstration of 5P’s ability to sense the atmosphere. The plume […]

Sumatran rhino ‘hanging on by a thread’

Image copyright Tom Uhlman Image caption Ipuh at the Cincinnati Zoo Scientists have decoded the genome of the Sumatran rhinoceros – one of the most threatened mammals on Earth. Its genetic blueprint shows that populations have been in decline for a very long time. The rhino’s troubles began during the last Ice Age, when its […]

Star system has record eight exoplanets

Image copyright NASA Image caption Artwork: the Kepler-90 system is the first to tie with our Solar System in number of planets Nasa has found a distant star circled by eight planets, equal to the complement in our own Solar System. It’s the largest number of worlds ever discovered in a planetary system outside our […]

How Greenland would look without its ice sheet

Media captionThe map reveals a hidden world of mountains and canyons Scientists have produced a stunning visualisation of Greenland – without its ice cover. It is made from decades of survey data that show the position and shape of the territory’s bedrock, and the surrounding seafloor. This is critical information needed to understand how the […]

Hurricane Harvey rainfall ‘weighed 127bn tonnes’

Media captionRoads turned to rivers across Houston as Harvey hit Scientists have weighed the water that fell on Texas during the record-breaking Hurricane Harvey in August. They calculate, by measuring how much the Earth was compressed, that the Category 4 storm dropped 127 billion tonnes, or 34 trillion US gallons. “One person asked me how […]

Sea reptile fossil gives clues to life in ancient oceans

Image copyright Yasuhisa Nakajima Image caption Paleontologists Tanja Wintrich and Martin Sander examine the fossil A new fossil is shedding light on the murky past of the sea reptiles that swam at the time of the dinosaurs. With tiny heads on long necks and four pointed flippers, plesiosaurs have been likened to Scotland’s mythical Loch […]

Warmer Arctic is the ‘new normal’

Media captionSea ice that is more than four years old has largely disappeared in the Arctic A warming, rapidly changing Arctic is the “new normal” and shows no signs of returning to the reliably frozen region of the past. This is according to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Arctic Report Card. Director of […]

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