Astronomy

Hubble Zooms in on Arches Cluster

This image of the Arches Cluster of young, massive stars was obtained with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. Image credit: NASA / ESA.

Astronomers using the Wide Field Camera 3 on the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope have captured a new image of the Arches Cluster, the densest known cluster of stars in our Galaxy. This image of the Arches Cluster of young, massive stars was obtained with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. Image credit: NASA / ESA. Seen toward the constellation Sagittarius, the Arches Cluster is approximately 25,000...

Space Exploration

Mars Express May Have Discovered Ancient Supervolcano on Red Planet

The Siloe Patera structure lies close to the center of this image within the Arabia Terra region of Mars. The image was acquired by the High Resolution Stereo Camera on ESA’s Mars Express on November 26, 2014. Image credit: ESA / DLR / FU Berlin / CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO.

ESA’s Mars Express orbiter has captured an image of what appears to be the remains of an ancient supervolcano. The image was taken on 26 November 2014, and focuses on the Siloe Patera feature in the Arabia Terra region of Mars. The Siloe Patera structure lies close to the center of this image within the Arabia Terra region of Mars. The image was acquired by the High Resolution Stereo Camera on...

Archaeology

3.3-Million-Year-Old Stone Tools Unearthed in Kenya

A stone tool during the process of excavation at the Lomekwi 3 site in Kenya. Image credit: MPK-WTAP.

A team of scientists led by Dr Sonia Harmand of Stony Brook University has unearthed the earliest tools ever found – dated at 3.3 million years old. A stone tool during the process of excavation at the Lomekwi 3 site in Kenya. Image credit: MPK-WTAP. The artifacts were found at the archaeological site Lomekwi 3 on the western shore of Lake Turkana in northern Kenya. They show that at least...

Paleontology

Study Provides New Insights into Origin, Evolution of Snakes

Artist’s rendering of an ancestral crown-group snake and the early mammal Yanoconodon. Image credit: Julius Csotonyi.

According to a new study published online in the journal BMC Evolutionary Biology, the most recent common ancestor of all snakes was a nocturnal, stealth-hunting predator that had tiny hindlimbs with ankles and toes. Artist’s rendering of an ancestral crown-group snake and the early mammal Yanoconodon. Image credit: Julius Csotonyi. “We infer that the most recent common ancestor of all snakes...

Biology

Panther Chameleon is Eleven Separate Species, Scientists Say

The panther chameleon. Image credit: Djordje Grbic et al.

The panther chameleon, long thought to be a single species, is actually eleven distinct species, according to a team of biologists led by Prof Michel Milinkovitch from the University of Geneva, Switzerland. The panther chameleon. Image credit: Djordje Grbic et al. The panther chameleon is one of the most spectacular reptilian endemic species in Madagascar. It is a very large chameleon. Males can...

Physics

Scientists Create Liquid Metal Antenna

This image shows the liquid metal antenna. Image credit: Jacob Adams.

A group of researchers headed by Dr Jacob Adams of North Carolina State University’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering has created a reconfigurable liquid metal antenna controlled by voltage only. This image shows the liquid metal antenna. Image credit: Jacob Adams. By placing an electrical potential across the interface between liquid eutectic gallium and indium and an electrolyte,...

Medicine

Cigarette Smoke Makes Methicillin-Resistant Staphilococcus aureus More Aggressive

Scanning electron micrograph of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, yellow. Credit: NIAID.

A new study, led by Dr Laura Crotty Alexander of the Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System and the University of California San Diego, shows that methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus exposed to cigarette smoke become even more resistant to killing by the immune system. Scanning electron micrograph of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, yellow. Credit: NIAID. “We already know...

Genetics

Scientists Identify Universal Gene Required for Plant Growth at High Temperatures

Arabidopsis thaliana by Johann Georg Sturm, 1796.

A team of scientists, co-led by Dr Carlos Alonso-Blanco of the Centro Nacional de Biotecnología in Spain and Dr Sureshkumar Balasubramanian of Monash University in Australia, made the discovery after analyzing natural populations of the model plant thale cress (Arabidopsis thaliana). Arabidopsis thaliana by Johann Georg Sturm, 1796. “Plants are highly sensitive to environmental changes and even...

Geology

Geologists Discover New Layer in Earth’s Mantle

A simplified image of a slab from one of Earth’s tectonic plates sinking through the upper mantle above, through the boundary between the upper and lower mantle 410 miles deep, then stalling and pooling at a depth of 930 miles, where the new study suggests the existence of an extremely viscous layer in Earth. Image credit: Lowell Miyagi / University of Utah.

New research led by Dr Hauke Marquardt of the University of Bayreuth, Germany, suggests the existence of a previously unknown superviscous layer inside our planet: part of the lower mantle where the rock gets 3 times stiffer. Such a layer may explain why tectonic plate slabs seem to pool at 930 miles (1,500 km) under Indonesia and South America’s Pacific coast. A simplified image of a slab from...

Other Sciences

Researchers Observe Sudden Increase of Ice Loss on Southern Antarctic Peninsula

Nearly cloud-free view of the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula. Image credit: NASA / GSFC / MODIS Rapid Response Team.

Using measurements of the elevation of the Antarctic ice sheet made by a suite of satellites, a group of scientists led by Dr Bert Wouters from the University of Bristol’s Glaciology Center found that the Southern Antarctic Peninsula showed no signs of change up to six years ago. Around 2009, multiple glaciers along a vast coastal expanse, measuring some 750 km in length, suddenly started to shed...