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California fires: Sentinel satellite tracks wildfire smoke plume

California fires: Sentinel satellite tracks wildfire smoke plume

Image copyright COPERNICUS SENTINEL DATA (2017) – KNMI/ESA Image caption The smoke plume heads out over the ocean and then turns north Europe’s new Sentinel-5P satellite has captured a dramatic image of the smoke billowing away from the devastating California wildfires. It is a powerful demonstration of 5P’s ability to sense the atmosphere. The plume […]

Sumatran rhino ‘hanging on by a thread’

Sumatran rhino ‘hanging on by a thread’

Image copyright Tom Uhlman Image caption Ipuh at the Cincinnati Zoo Scientists have decoded the genome of the Sumatran rhinoceros – one of the most threatened mammals on Earth. Its genetic blueprint shows that populations have been in decline for a very long time. The rhino’s troubles began during the last Ice Age, when its […]

Star system has record eight exoplanets

Star system has record eight exoplanets

Image copyright NASA Image caption Artwork: the Kepler-90 system is the first to tie with our Solar System in number of planets Nasa has found a distant star circled by eight planets, equal to the complement in our own Solar System. It’s the largest number of worlds ever discovered in a planetary system outside our […]

How Greenland would look without its ice sheet

How Greenland would look without its ice sheet

Media captionThe map reveals a hidden world of mountains and canyons Scientists have produced a stunning visualisation of Greenland – without its ice cover. It is made from decades of survey data that show the position and shape of the territory’s bedrock, and the surrounding seafloor. This is critical information needed to understand how the […]

Hurricane Harvey rainfall ‘weighed 127bn tonnes’

Hurricane Harvey rainfall ‘weighed 127bn tonnes’

Media captionRoads turned to rivers across Houston as Harvey hit Scientists have weighed the water that fell on Texas during the record-breaking Hurricane Harvey in August. They calculate, by measuring how much the Earth was compressed, that the Category 4 storm dropped 127 billion tonnes, or 34 trillion US gallons. “One person asked me how […]

Sea reptile fossil gives clues to life in ancient oceans

Sea reptile fossil gives clues to life in ancient oceans

Image copyright Yasuhisa Nakajima Image caption Paleontologists Tanja Wintrich and Martin Sander examine the fossil A new fossil is shedding light on the murky past of the sea reptiles that swam at the time of the dinosaurs. With tiny heads on long necks and four pointed flippers, plesiosaurs have been likened to Scotland’s mythical Loch […]

Nasa’s New Horizons probe strikes distant gold

Nasa’s New Horizons probe strikes distant gold

Image copyright NASA Image caption Artwork: The moonlet may be about 200-300km from the main object The American space agency’s New Horizons mission has struck gold again. After its astonishing flyby of Pluto in 2015, scientists have just discovered that the probe’s next target is not one object but very likely two. Earth-based observations suggest […]

Dracula ticks in amber tell ancient blood-sucking tale

Dracula ticks in amber tell ancient blood-sucking tale

Image copyright NAture Communications/E Penalver Image caption The tick is stuck on to a dinosaur feather Feathered dinosaurs were covered in ticks just like modern animals, fossil evidence shows. Parasites similar to modern ticks have been found inside pieces of amber from Myanmar dating back 99 million years. One is entangled with a dinosaur feather, […]

Jupiter Great Red Spot has deep roots

Jupiter Great Red Spot has deep roots

Media captionA visualisation shows what it would be like to dive into Jupiter’s atmosphere. Scientists are beginning to unlock the secrets of the Great Red Spot on Jupiter – the biggest storm in the solar system. This spectacular anticyclone has been in existence for more than 150 years. It is wider than the Earth. One […]

Interstellar asteroid checked for alien technology

Interstellar asteroid checked for alien technology

Image copyright Eso Image caption Artwork: Observations of ‘Oumuamua noted its unusual elongated shape A project searching for intelligent life in the cosmos is going to check the first known interstellar asteroid for signs of alien technology. The odd-shaped object was detected as it sped towards the Sun on 19 October. Its properties suggested it […]

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