Astronomy

Astronomers Discover Three Surprisingly Dry Jupiter-Like Exoplanets

This is an illustration of a hot Jupiter orbiting a Sun-like star.

A team of astronomers headed by Dr Nikku Madhusudhan of the Cambridge University’s Institute of Astronomy has found that the abundance of water vapor in the atmospheres of the three newly discovered hot Jupiters – HD 189733b, HD 209458b, and WASP-12b – is between ten and a thousand times less than what standard planet formation theories predict. This is an illustration of a hot Jupiter...

Space Exploration

New Study Highlights Importance of Oceans for Exoplanet Habitability

Artist's concept of a cryobot in the ocean of Jupiter's moon Europa. Image credit: NASA.

Oceans are crucial for supporting Earth-like life on extrasolar planets, according to a study published in the journal Astrobiology. Artist’s concept of a cryobot in the ocean of Jupiter’s moon Europa. Image credit: NASA. The potential habitability of an exoplanet crucially depends on how its atmospheric and ocean circulation transports heat from warmer to cooler regions. Previous studies...

Archaeology

Archaeologists Find Neo-Assyrian Administrative Tokens at Ziyaret Tepe

A few of the hundreds of clay tokens unearthed at Ziyaret Tepe, Turkey. Image credit: Ziyaret Tepe Archaeological Project.

Archaeological excavations in southeastern Turkey at Ziyaret Tepe – the site of the ancient city Tušhan, a provincial capital of the Neo-Assyrian Empire – have uncovered a large number of tokens that were used to account for commodities such as cattle and grain. A few of the hundreds of clay tokens unearthed at Ziyaret Tepe, Turkey. Image credit: Ziyaret Tepe Archaeological Project. Over...

Paleontology

Kulindadromeus zabaikalicus: Feathered Herbivorous Dinosaur Discovered

Reconstruction of Kulindadromeus zabaikalicus. Image credit: Andrey Atuchin.

Dr Pascal Godefroit, a paleontologist with the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences in Brussels, and his colleagues have discovered the fossilized remains of a feathered plant-eating dinosaur that lived in the lake-dotted lowlands of Jurassic Siberia, between 169 and 144 million years ago. Previously only carnivorous dinosaurs were known to have had feathers so this new species indicates that...

Biology

Dogs Can Experience Jealousy, Scientists Say

German Shepherd puppy. Image credit: Marilyn Peddle / CC BY 2.0.

According to University of California San Diego researchers Dr Christine Harris and Dr Caroline Prouvost, dogs feel jealousy too. German Shepherd puppy. Image credit: Marilyn Peddle / CC BY 2.0. It is commonly assumed that jealousy is unique to humans, partially because of the complex cognitions often involved in this emotion. However, some researchers predict that jealousy, at its most basic level,...

Physics

Physics Law Helps Explain Evolution of Passenger Airplanes

According to Prof Adrian Bejan, the supersonic trans-Atlantic Concorde aircraft went the way of the dodo - it hit an evolutionary cul-de-sac. This image shows the British Airways Concorde in 1986. Image credit: Eduard Marmet / CC BY-SA 3.0.

A new study, published in the Journal of Applied Physics, uses a now-famous law of physics called the Constructal law to witness the evolution of airplane designs over time and predict the future of aerospace design. According to Prof Adrian Bejan, the supersonic trans-Atlantic Concorde aircraft went the way of the dodo – it hit an evolutionary cul-de-sac. This image shows the British Airways...

Medicine

DENAQ: New Chemical Restores Light Perception to Blind Mice

Section view of the human eye.

According to scientists led by Dr Richard Kramer from the University of California, a chemical ‘photoswitch’ named DENAQ may be a potential drug for treating patients suffering from blinding diseases such as retinitis pigmentosa and age-related macular degeneration. Section view of the human eye. The retina has three layers of nerve cells, but only the outer layer contains the rod and cone cells...

Genetics

Genetic Researchers Unveil Draft Sequence of Wheat Genome

The common wheat, Triticum aestivum. Image credit: Matt Lavin, Bozeman, Montana / CC BY-SA 2.0.

Scientists from the International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium have published a draft sequence of the genome of the common wheat (Triticum aestivum). The common wheat, Triticum aestivum. Image credit: Franz Eugen Köhler. The common wheat is a major dietary component for many populations across the world. Grown on more land than any other crop, more than 215 million hectares of wheat are harvested...

Geology

Three Ancient Volcanoes Discovered in Australia

The newly discovered volcanic complex Cas Maar: upper - the wide asymmetrical maar, about 900 m across; middle - the eastern maar-rim sequence showing two layers of spattery lava; bottom - lower sequence of spattery lavas (left) and upper sequence of spattery lavas and scoriaceous tuff showing sharp contact between the two materials (right). Image credit: J. A. Boyce et al.

Scientists at Monash University have announced the discovery of three previously unrecorded ancient volcanoes in the Hamilton area of the Newer Volcanics Province, Victoria, Australia. The newly discovered volcanic complex Cas Maar: upper – the wide asymmetrical maar, about 900 m across; middle – the eastern maar-rim sequence showing two layers of spattery lava; bottom – lower sequence...

Other Sciences

Geophysicists Crack Secrets of Mount Rainier

Aerial photograph of Mount Rainier taken on September 14, 2011. Image credit: Michael Arthur Hill / CC BY-SA 3.0.

A team of geophysicists led by Dr Stephane Rondenay from the University of Bergen has made a detailed picture of Mount Rainier’s deep volcanic plumbing. Aerial photograph of Mount Rainier taken on September 14, 2011. Image credit: Michael Arthur Hill / CC BY-SA 3.0. Mount Rainier is a massive stratovolcano located about 87 km southeast of Seattle, Washington. It is s the 21st most prominent mountain...