Astronomy

HIP 116454b: Astronomers Find Super-Earth Orbiting Orange Dwarf

This artistic impression shows a super-Earth exoplanet. Image credit: ESO / M. Kornmesser / Nick Risinger, skysurvey.org.

An international team of astronomers using NASA’s Kepler space telescope has discovered a new exoplanet, named HIP 116454b. This artistic impression shows a super-Earth exoplanet. Image credit: ESO / M. Kornmesser / Nick Risinger, skysurvey.org. HIP 116454b is located in the constellation Pisces, approximately 180 light-years from Earth. It is a super-Earth exoplanet, with a diameter of 32,000...

Space Exploration

Scientists Unravel Mystery of High-Latitude Theta Aurora

Theta aurora over Antarctica. This image obtained in 1983 shows the auroral oval and a transpolar arc; the arc extends into the polar cap from local midnight, across the polar cap and joins with the auroral oval at local noon; motion of the transpolar arc in the dawn-dusk direction appears to be controlled by the direction of the interplanetary magnetic field along the dawn-dusk direction. Image credit: Dynamics Explorer-1 / University of Iowa.

Thanks to data collected by ESA’s Cluster spacecraft and a NASA mission called the Imager for Magnetopause-to-Aurora Global Exploration (IMAGE), scientists have solved a long-standing space mystery – the origin of a colorful display in the night sky known as the theta aurora. Theta aurora over Antarctica. This image obtained in 1983 shows the auroral oval and a transpolar arc; the arc...

Archaeology

Scientists Find Evidence of Viking Presence in Arctic Canada

Norsemen Landing in Iceland by Oscar Wergeland, published in 1909.

A small stone artifact recovered from a Paleo-Eskimo site on Baffin Island is important evidence of a Viking presence in Arctic Canada around 1000 CE, says a team of scientists led by Dr Patricia Sutherland of the University of Aberdeen, Scotland. Three views of the crucible from Nanook site, Baffin Island, Canada. Image credit: Patricia D. Sutherland et al. The ancient site, called Nanook, was first...

Paleontology

Eohupehsuchus brevicollis: Paleontologists Discover Short-Necked Triassic Marine Reptile

Eohupehsuchus brevicollis. Image credit: Chen X-h et al.

Paleontologists led by Dr Xiao-hong Chen of the China Geological Survey’s Wuhan Center have discovered a new species of marine reptile that lived in what is now China during the Lower Triassic, about 245 million years ago. Eohupehsuchus brevicollis. Image credit: Chen X-h et al. The newly-discovered creature belonged to Hupehsuchia, a group of enigmatic Triassic marine reptiles that is known exclusively...

Biology

World’s Second-Longest Insect Discovered in Vietnam

Phryganistria tamdaoensis, male. Image credit: Joachim Bresseel / Jerome Constant.

The fascinating creature, a stick-insect, can reach up to 32 cm in body length and 52 cm with forelimbs stretched out. It has reportedly been found in northeast Vietnam. Dr Joachim Bresseel holding a 31.7-cm-long female Phryganistria heusii yentuensis. Image credit: Joachim Bresseel / Jerome Constant. In the jungles of Vietnam, biologists Dr Joachim Bresseel and Dr Jerome Constant from Royal Belgian...

Physics

Compact Particle Accelerator Creates Electron Beam with Record-Breaking Energy

A 9 cm-long capillary discharge waveguide used in BELLA experiments to generate 4.25-GeV electron beam. Image credit: Roy Kaltschmidt.

Lawrence Berkeley National Lab physicists using one of the most powerful lasers in the world have accelerated electrons to the highest energies ever recorded from a compact accelerator – 4.25 billion electron volts (giga-electron volts or GeV). A 9 cm-long capillary discharge waveguide used in BELLA experiments to generate 4.25-GeV electron beam. Image credit: Roy Kaltschmidt. The record-breaking...

Medicine

Cocoa Flavanols Can Reverse Memory Loss in Older Adults

Dietary cocoa flavanols reverse age-related memory decline in healthy older adults. Image credit: © Marion Beraudias.

According to a team of scientists headed by Dr Scott Small of Columbia University, flavanols – naturally occurring bioactives found in the cacao plant, tea leaves and certain fruits and vegetables – can reverse age-related memory decline in healthy older adults. Dietary cocoa flavanols reverse age-related memory decline in healthy older adults. Image credit: © Marion Beraudias. As people...

Genetics

Birds Lost Their Teeth 116 Million Years Ago, Scientists Say

Mutations that eliminated enamel and dentin from the teeth of modern birds - an event which eventually led to toothless beaks - began about 116 million years ago, according to a new study. Image credit: Michael Day / CC BY 2.0.

A group of genetic researchers led by Prof Mark Springer from Montclair State University has found that teeth were lost in the common ancestor of all living birds about 116 million years ago (the end of the Early Cretaceous). Mutations that eliminated enamel and dentin from the teeth of modern birds – an event which eventually led to toothless beaks – began about 116 million years ago,...

Geology

Deccan Traps Volcanism May Have Contributed to Dinosaur Extinction

Torvosaurus gurneyi. Image credit: © Sergey Krasovskiy.

A massive volcanic eruption in what is now India about 250,000 years before the cataclysmic Chicxulub asteroid impact may have played a role in the extinction of dinosaurs, say scientists who have dated rocks from the Deccan Traps, east of Mumbai. The Chicxulub asteroid impact and the eruption of the massive Deccan volcanic province in India are two causes of the end-Cretaceous mass extinction that...

Other Sciences

Secrets of Roman Architectural Concrete Uncovered

Colosseum in Rome, Italy. Image credit: Jerzy Strzelecki / CC BY 3.0.

A group of scientists led by Dr Anthony Ingraffea of Cornell University has revealed clues to the longevity and endurance of such Imperial Roman monuments as the Colosseum and Pantheon. Colosseum in Rome, Italy. Image credit: Jerzy Strzelecki / CC BY 3.0. The Romans developed a standard formula for making mortar about two millennia ago. This mortar binds cobble-sized fragments of tuff and brick,...