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This gene helps some of us never forget a face - Futurity

New research may help explain why a few people remember almost everyone they have met while others have difficulty recognizing members of their own …

APOD: Phobos 360 (2013 Dec 25) Video Credit: Mars Express, ESA Explanation: What does the Martian moon Phobos look like? To better visualize this unusual object, images from ESA's Mars Express orbiter have been combined into a virtual rotation movie. The rotation is actually a digital illusion -- tidally-locked Phobos always keeps the same face toward its home planet, as does Earth's moon. The above video highlights Phobos' chunky shape and an unusually dark surface covered with craters and grooves. What lies beneath the surface is a topic of research since the moon is not dense enough to be filled with solid rock. Phobos is losing about of centimeter of altitude a year and is expected to break up and crash onto Mars within the next 50 million years. To better understand this unusual world, Mars Express is on course to make the closest flyby ever on Sunday. Starship Asterisk* • APOD Discussion Page #APOD

APOD: Tutulemma: Solar Eclipse Analemma (2013 Dec 22) Image Credit & Copyright: Cenk E. Tezel and Tunç Tezel (TWAN) Explanation: If you went outside at exactly the same time every day and took a picture that included the Sun, how would the Sun's position change? With great planning and effort, such a series of images can be taken. The figure-8 path the Sun follows over the course of a year is called an analemma. Yesterday, the Winter Solstice day in Earth's northern hemisphere, the Sun appeared at the bottom of the analemma. Analemmas created from different latitudes would appear at least slightly different, as well as analemmas created at a different time each day. With even greater planning and effort, the series can include a total eclipse of the Sun as one of the images. Pictured is such a total solar eclipse analemma or Tutulemma - a term coined by the photographers based on the Turkish word for eclipse. The above composite image sequence was recorded from Turkey starting in 2005. The base image for the sequence is from the total phase of a solar eclipse as viewed from Side, Turkey on 2006 March 29. Venus was also visible during totality, toward the lower right. Starship Asterisk* • APOD Discussion Page #APOD #TWAN

'Tis the season to travel - Futurity

From space travel to shark migration, these six stories are all about the journey of getting from here to there.


Today in science: Isaac Newton’s birthday

Born in 1643, Isaac Newton’s insights laid a foundation for our modern understanding of celestial motion, light and gravity.<p><b>January 4, 1643.</b> Isaac …