Poppy Barry

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ScienceCasts: Electric-Blue Clouds Appear Over Antarctica

Why Do Zebras Have Stripes? To Create Optical Illusions

They look awesome. But mostly, they mean less being eaten by flies and lions.<p>Why zebras have stripes has long been something of a mystery. We have a pretty good idea they're used as protection, but the exact mechanism isn't totally understood. I mean, why would evolution pick out <i>that</i>? The black on …

Zoology

New European Satellite Set to Study 1 Billion Stars

A European satellite equipped with two high-powered telescopes was launched into orbit on Thursday in order to carry out an unprecedented survey of …

5 Scientific Discoveries Based On Weird Baby Experiments

Babies can be mysterious creatures -- what exactly is going on in that little noggin? Fortunately, over the years, scientists have developed some creative ways to find out what makes babies tick. Here are some of the weirdest (but not cruel -- no abandonment here!) ways that research has probed …

Pregnancy

How Plants Secretly Talk to Each Other

Up in the northern Sierra Nevada, the ecologist Richard Karban is trying to learn an alien language. The sagebrush plants that dot these slopes speak …

Fiendish Christmas science quiz: what is a Higgs boson?

Do you know your Ockham from your Archimedes? Try this festive quiz<p>Take this quiz on a mobile device<p>Christmas is a time for food, friends and family - and perhaps testing those little grey cells over a new game or tricky quiz.<p>This challenging quiz is all about science and engineering - from how …

Higgs Boson

The Week In Numbers: China Lands On The Moon, NASA's Deep-Space Chamber, And More

<b>40 tons</b>: the weight of the door to NASA's Chamber A, a room that recreates the deadly conditions of deep space and, because it can reach 11 Kelvin, is the coldest place on Earth<p><b>4</b>: the number of spiral arms that make up the Milky Way, according to a new study (previous observations give our galaxy …

China's Jade Rabbit rover makes crucial tracks in space and on Earth

Hours after settling on the surface of the moon, the Chinese lander lowered a ramp and the Jade Rabbit rover trundled away on a three-month mission to explore the Bay of Rainbows, a lava field regarded as one of the most beautiful features on Earth's natural satellite.<p>The touchdown last Saturday …

Spacewatch: ISS in the December sky

Astronauts aboard the ISS (International Space Station) have been assigned emergency spacewalks to replace one of two fridge-sized coolant modules on the outside of the station. Without the fix, a failure of the second module might force the ISS to be abandoned. The first spacewalk is to begin at …

APOD: SDO's Multiwavelength Sun (2013 Dec 21) Image Credit: GSFC Scientific Visualization Studio, SDO, NASA http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap131221.html Explanation: Today, the solstice is at 17:11 Universal Time, the Sun reaching the southernmost declination in its yearly journey through planet Earth's sky. The December solstice marks the astronomical beginning of winter in the northern hemisphere and summer in the south. To celebrate, explore this creative visualization of the Sun from visible to extreme ultraviolet wavelengths, using image data from the orbiting Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO). Against a base image made at a visible wavelengths, the wedge-shaped segments show the solar disk at increasingly shorter ultraviolet and extreme ultraviolet wavelengths. Shown in false-color and rotating in a clockwise direction, the filters decrease in wavelength from 170 nanometers (in pink) through 9.4 nanometers (green). At shorter wavelengths, the altitude and temperature of the regions revealed in the solar atmosphere tend to increase. Bright at visible wavelengths, the solar photosphere looks darker in the ultraviolet, but sunspots glow and bright plasma traces looping magnetic fields. Watch the filters sweep around the solar disk in this animation of SDO's multiwavelength view of the Sun. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kS57VH3QN1g http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/goto?11385 http://sdo.gsfc.nasa.gov/ Starship Asterisk* • APOD Discussion Page http://asterisk.apod.com/discuss_apod.php?date=131221 #APOD