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Cassini Swings Above Saturn to Compose a Portrait

It’s a view as good as gold. A loop high above Saturn by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft revealed this stately view of the golden-hued planet and its main rings. The observation and resulting image mosaic were planned as one of three images for Cassini’s 2013 Scientist for a Day essay contest. The contest challenges students to … Continue reading

Sun Continues to Emit Solar Flares

After emitting its first significant solar flares since June 2013 earlier in the week, the sun continued to produce mid-level and significant solar flares on Oct. 27 and Oct. 28, 2013. Solar flares are powerful bursts of radiation. Harmful radiation from a flare cannot pass through Earth’s atmosphere to physically affect humans on the ground, … Continue reading

How Rats and Mice Came to Have a Unique Masticatory Apparatus, Key to Their Evolutionary Success

Rats and mice are rodents that have been highly successful in evolutionary terms, as evidenced by their 584 present day species and their ability to adapt to very different environments. The reasons for this success are not yet clearly understood: one of them may be their masticatory apparatus, which is unique among rodents. Now, researchers … Continue reading

Smart Neurons: Single Neuronal Dendrites Can Perform Computations

When you look at the hands of a clock or the streets on a map, your brain is effortlessly performing computations that tell you about the orientation of these objects. New research by UCL scientists has shown that these computations can be carried out by the microscopic branches of neurons known as dendrites, which are … Continue reading

Scientists Solve Mystery of Odd Patterns of Oxygen in Solar System’s Earliest Rocks

Cosmochemists have solved a long standing mystery in the formation of the solar system: Oxygen, the most abundant element in Earth’s crust, follows a strange, anomalous pattern in the oldest, most pristine rocks, one that must result from a different chemical process than the well-understood reactions that form minerals containing oxygen on Earth. “Whatever the … Continue reading

Ghostly Shape of ‘Coldest Place in the Universe’ Revealed

At a cosmologically crisp one degree Kelvin (minus 458 degrees Fahrenheit), the Boomerang Nebula is the coldest known object in the Universe — colder, in fact, than the faint afterglow of the Big Bang, which is the natural background temperature of space. Astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) telescope have taken a new … Continue reading

Physicists Observe the Formation of a Many-Body System in Experiment

How large does a group of particles have to be to render moot its exact number of particles? In experiments using ultracold atoms, Heidelberg physicists succeeded in observing the transition to a many-body system well described by an infinite number of particles. In philosophy, this problem is known as the sorites paradox. The essential question … Continue reading

Bees Underwent Massive Extinctions When Dinosaurs Did

For the first time ever, scientists have documented a widespread extinction of bees that occurred 65 million years ago, concurrent with the massive event that wiped out land dinosaurs and many flowering plants. Their findings, published this week in the journal PLOS ONE, could shed light on the current decline in bee species. Lead author … Continue reading

Unprecedented Arctic Warming: Average Summer Temperatures in Last 100 Years May Be Warmest in 120,000 Years

The heat is on, at least in the Arctic. Average summer temperatures in the Eastern Canadian Arctic during the last 100 years are higher now than during any century in the past 44,000 years and perhaps as long ago as 120,000 years, says a new University of Colorado Boulder study. The study is the first … Continue reading

Why Plants Usually Live Longer Than Animals

Stem cells are crucial for the continuous generation of new cells. Although the importance of stem cells in fuelling plant growth and development still many questions on their tight molecular control remain unanswered. Plant researchers at VIB and Ghent University discovered a new step in the complex regulation of stem cells. Lieven De Veylder said, … Continue reading

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