Portrait of an exploded star
It's almost time for school pictures again, and almost time for your parents to coo and carry on about how much you've grown since last year. If you think they make a big deal over those pictures, imagine how they would feel if their "baby" was an exploded star. And they hadn't seen a picture of it in more than six years!
Contact: Science Press Package
When plants cry for help, predator bugs answer
Some plants have a really clever method for protecting themselves against pests. When caterpillars start nibbling on wild tobacco plants, their saliva cues a "help me!" signal from the plants that brings predatory insects flying in to the rescue, a new study shows.
Contact: Science Press Package
The long-distance voyage of plastic
If you took a boat ride from Bermuda, heading east toward the middle of the Atlantic ocean, you'd start to see little bits of white and colored stuff floating alongside. This stuff is plastic.
Contact: Science Press Package
Gamma rays from a nova explosion greet astronomers with surprise
Recent observations from a telescope in orbit around Earth have detected gamma rays coming from a nova explosion on a distant star system, known as V407 Cygni. Experts say that this is a surprising discovery because scientists have expected to observe x-rays, instead of gamma rays, coming from similar nova explosions.
White-nose disease a serious problem for bats -- how can kids help?
The little brown myotis, which was once one of most common bat species in North America, may be extinct in the northeastern United States within the next 16 to 20 years or so, due to a disease called White-Nose Syndrome, according to a study in the Aug. 6 issue of the journal Science.
Spider silk's real-life superpowers
When you look at a spider web, you might admire its delicate beauty, but don't let appearances deceive you. That web is made of an incredibly tough material -- silk!
How exploding moss launches its spores
When Sphagnum moss spores explode out of their capsules, they reach more than 10 centimeters in the air, thanks to tiny mushroom clouds that help drive the spores upward, scientists have found.
Gobies gobble up the jellies
Since the 1960s, the Benguela ecosystem off the coast of Namibia has experienced the collapse of the sardine fishery and a takeover by jellyfish and microbes. Surprisingly, a fish called the bearded goby has thrived in these conditions, partially fixing the food chain in this ecosystem, an international team of scientists explains in the in the July 16 issue of the journal Science.
Why some fireflies flash in sync
At the beginning of summer in the US Smoky Mountains, male Photinus carolinus fireflies put on an unusual show for females of their species, repeatedly lighting up the night sky as they flash unison.
Genes help Tibetans breathe easy on the 'roof of the world'
The area of the Himalayas that includes Tibet and Mount Everest is the highest region of the world. It's so high that the air contains less oxygen than it does at sea level, and when lowlanders travel there, they often run into trouble because their bodies are starving for more oxygen.
The human sense of touch: More than just a feeling
Have you ever thought about where the expression "having a rough day" came from? Well, a group of researchers has just performed a study that links our physical feelings -- like touching a rough object -- to our unconscious thoughts and behaviors. According to the study's results, the feeling of a rough object can actually inspire feelings of difficulty in our minds as well.
What's climate change doing to the oceans?
When you hear the expression "global warming" you might think about the air getting warmer. But, climate affects the ocean too and the creatures living in it.
Warm-blooded giants of the ancient seas?
Some of the giant reptiles that ruled the ocean food chain during the time of the dinosaurs may have been able to control their own body temperatures, a new study suggests. These reptiles probably had high metabolic rates, which helped them dive deep and swim fast over large distances to catch their prey.
A bug's life, the cricket version
Most of what scientists know about how insects behave is from studies that take place in the laboratory. To learn about bug life in the wild, a research team set up a network of motion-sensitive, infrared-equipped cameras and microphones in a field that a population of wild crickets calls home.
What exactly is 'fair'?
A new study suggests that young children are content to divide money up equally among members of a group, but as those children get older, their sense of fairness changes -- and they start thinking that the people who do the most work should get the most money.
Reeling in illegal fishing
Many sea ports around the world have continued to let ships carrying illegally caught fish into their harbors, even though they have signed agreements to turn those boats away. This illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing -- known as IUU fishing -- is damaging to the world's sustainable fishing industry, and with a full 80 percent of the world's marine fish stocks already tapped out or over-fished, researchers agree that IUU fishing has become a major concern.
No flap: Earliest birds were poor flyers
The ancient birds Archaeopteryx and Confuciusornis weren't flapping flyers and were gliders at best, according to a new study of the birds' fossil feathers.
Cosmic clues, buried in the Antarctic snow
Researchers have found two micrometeorites -- tiny particles that fell to Earth from space -- preserved in the cold snow of Antarctica, and they say that their discovery could provide clues about how our solar system formed long ago. The micrometeorites, known as particles 19 and 119, were found near the center of the icy continent, buried in 40- to 55-year-old snow.
Chance encounter with fungus made aphids colorful
Tiny insects called pea aphids are the first animals known to make their own pigments, called "carotenoids," scientists have discovered. Other animals, including humans, don't make our own carotenoids. We have to get them from the food we eat.
Predicting the Asian monsoon
The weather system known as the Asian monsoon affects more than half of the people on Earth, making it perhaps the most important seasonal weather system in the entire world. But, without long-term climate data, researchers don't know much about the monsoon's true nature.
A new look at the oldest Martian meteorite
The oldest known Martian meteorite, known as ALH 84001, appears to be about half a billion years younger than previously thought, researchers report.
If smoky lungs could talk: A tale of cancer
The lungs in your body have special ways of letting you know when they aren't healthy; especially if you smoke cigarettes. Recently, researchers have found that telltale chemical reactions in the lungs of current or former smokers can help identify those at highest risk for developing lung cancer.
March 20 was the first day of spring. But, flowering plants can't read calendars, so how do they know it's time to start blooming? They get a signal from a protein called APETALA1, or "AP1" -- actually, as a new study shows, they get a whole bunch of signals. It turns out the signaling system that tells flowering plants to bloom is much more complex than we had thought.
An older, southern Tyrannosaur
Large tyrannosaurs, such as T. rex, were the top predators during the Late Cretaceous period, about 100 million to 65 million years ago -- but their history is not well documented for the 100 million years before that, and until now, their bones had only been found in the northern hemisphere.
A closer look at Saturn and its rings
The Cassini spacecraft was launched into space by NASA, the European Space Agency, and the Italian Space Agency. This international space mission reached Saturn almost six years ago, and it has been collecting data from the planet ever since. Now, researchers are learning more than ever about Saturn, and Cassini's detailed observations are bringing the planet into clearer focus than ever before.
Funding provided by the William T. Golden Endowment Fund for Program Innovation at AAAS.