Astronomy

Hubble Discovers Most Distant Gravitational Lens Yet

This image shows the galaxy cluster IRC 0218. Image credit: NASA / ESA / Kim-Vy Tran, Texas A&M University / Kenneth Wong, Academia Sinica Institute of Astronomy & Astrophysics.

A team of astronomers using the Advanced Camera for Surveys and the Wide Field Camera onboard NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has discovered the most distant cosmic magnifying glass yet found – a huge elliptical galaxy whose powerful gravity is magnifying the light from a faraway galaxy behind it. Gravitational lensing by a giant elliptical galaxy in the cluster IRC 0218: the galaxy (red object...

Space Exploration

Scientists Discover 101 Geysers on Enceladus

This view looks across the geyser basin of Enceladus, along fractures spewing water vapor and ice particles into space. Image credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / Space Science Institute.

A team of U.S. researchers using data from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has discovered 101 active geysers erupting on Enceladus, the sixth-largest moon of Saturn. This graphic shows a 3-D model of 98 geysers whose source locations and tilts were found in a Cassini imaging survey of Enceladus’ south polar terrain by the method of triangulation. While some jets are strongly tilted, it is clear...

Archaeology

1-Million-Year-Old Artifacts Found in South Africa

Hand axes found at the Kathu Townlands site, Northern Cape Province, South Africa. Image credit: Walker SJH et al.

Archaeologists from the University of Toronto and the University of Cape Town have unearthed a large number of Early to Middle Pleistocene stone artifacts including hand axes, flakes and other tools at an archaeological site near the town of Kathu in Northern Cape Province, South Africa. Hand axes found at the Kathu Townlands site, Northern Cape Province, South Africa. Image credit: Walker SJH et...

Paleontology

New Research Traces Evolution of Theropod Dinosaurs into Flying Birds

The dinosaur lineage that evolved into birds shrank in body size continuously for 50 million years. From left to right are: the ancestral neotheropod (220 million years old), the ancestral tetanuran (200 million years old), the ancestral coelurosaur (175 million years old), the ancestral paravian (165 million years old), and Archaeopteryx (150 million years old). Image credit: Davide Bonnadonna.

A new study published in the journal Science highlights the dramatic evolutionary transformation of carnivorous, ground-dwelling theropod dinosaurs into flying birds. The dinosaur lineage that evolved into birds shrank in body size continuously for 50 million years. Image credit: Michael S. Y. Lee et al. Science, 10.1126/science.1252243. “Birds out-shrank and out-evolved their dinosaurian ancestors,...

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

Only 8.2 % of Human DNA is Functional, Say Genetic Researchers

Illustration of a DNA molecule. Image credit: Christoph Bock, Max Planck Institute for Informatics / CC BY-SA 3.0.

According to a group of genetic scientists led by Dr Gerton Lunter of the University of Oxford’s Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics, only 8.2 percent of human genome is likely to be doing something important. Illustration of a DNA molecule. Image credit: Christoph Bock, Max Planck Institute for Informatics / CC BY-SA 3.0. This figure is very different from one given in 2012 by researchers...

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

Extreme Waves Recorded in Arctic Ocean

Example wave model hindcast during the September 2012 storm in Arctic Ocean; the map is centered on the North Pole; the color scale indicates significant wave height from 0 to 5 m. Image credit: Jim Thomson / W. Erick Rogers.

Five-meter-high waves have been detected in the middle of the Arctic Ocean by Dr Jim Thomson of the University of Washington and Dr Erick Rogers of the Stennis Space Center’s Naval Research Laboratory. Example wave model hindcast during the September 2012 storm in Arctic Ocean; the map is centered on the North Pole; the color scale indicates significant wave height from 0 to 5 m. Image credit:...