As a Vast Swath of Australia Burns, the View From Space is Truly Frightening

Posted on Categories Discover MagazineLeave a comment on As a Vast Swath of Australia Burns, the View From Space is Truly Frightening

Thick palls of smoke stream from Australia's sprawling bushfires in this view acquired by NASA's Aqua satellite on Nov. 11, 2019. The image consists of a natural-color view with an infrared overlay revealing areas of burning. (Source: NASA Worldview image processed by Pierre Markuse) So far, Australia's bushfires have scorched more than 4,000 square miles — an area greater than ten times the size of New York City. With hot and dry conditions predicted for weeks to come, there's not ...read more

Is the Human Olfactory Bulb Necessary?

Posted on Categories Discover MagazineLeave a comment on Is the Human Olfactory Bulb Necessary?

Many people may be living life without a particular brain region - and not suffering any ill-effects. In a new paper in Neuron, neuroscientists Tali Weiss and colleagues discuss five women who appear to completely lack olfactory bulbs (OB). According to most neuroscience textbooks, no OB should mean no sense of smell, because the OB is believed to be a key relay point for olfactory signals. As Wikipedia puts it: The olfactory bulb transmits smell information from the nose to the b ...read more

Black Holes Orbiting Even Bigger Black Holes Might Also Be Eating Each Other

Posted on Categories Discover MagazineLeave a comment on Black Holes Orbiting Even Bigger Black Holes Might Also Be Eating Each Other

A simulation of an accretion disk surrounding a supermassive black hole. (Credit: Scott C. Noble) When the LIGO collaboration first detected the spacetime ripples of a gravitational wave it came from the merger of two black holes. To date, scientists have detected at least ten pairs of black holes spiraling into and combining with each other. But there's still an outstanding mystery about these singularities: why are some of them so big? Some have been far larger than scientists think po ...read more

NASA Instrument Spots Its Brightest X-Ray Burst Ever

Posted on Categories Discover MagazineLeave a comment on NASA Instrument Spots Its Brightest X-Ray Burst Ever

An illustration depicting a Type I X-ray burst. A similar supernova generated the extreme X-ray burst that NASA's NICER instrument recently recorded. (Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center/Chris Smith (USRA)) In late August, an instrument on the International Space Station, called NICER, spotted its brightest burst of X-ray radiation yet. NICER, or the Neutron Star Interior Composition Explorer, studies X-rays that come from neutron stars, the super-dense remnants of some stars afte ...read more

A New, Prehistoric Bird Sheds Light on How They Took to the Skies

Posted on Categories Discover MagazineLeave a comment on A New, Prehistoric Bird Sheds Light on How They Took to the Skies

An artist's reconstruction of what Fukuipteryx prima may have looked like. (Credit: Masanori Yoshida) It was a typical Japanese summer — hot, humid and cloudy — when archaeologists pulled a well-preserved, fossilized bird from the ground in 2013. Their find, announced this week in Nature Communications Biology, might change our idea of what adaptations were essential to the development of flight. Close to Flight Named Fukuipteryx prima, the archaeologists date the bird ...read more

Zoonoses: The Diseases Our Cats and Dogs Give Us

Posted on Categories Discover MagazineLeave a comment on Zoonoses: The Diseases Our Cats and Dogs Give Us

(Credit: Gladskikh Tatiana/Shutterstock) Some of the biggest public health crises of the last few years can be traced back to animals. HIV got its start as a virus in monkeys, and Ebola probably jumped to humans from other primates or fruit bats. And there’s no points for guessing the animals we got bird flu and swine flu from. But animal-borne diseases can start a lot closer to home. In fact, there are a number we can pick up from our dogs and cats. Our Pets, Their Diseases M ...read more

With a Floating Bead, This Device Makes Truly 3D Holographs

Posted on Categories Discover MagazineLeave a comment on With a Floating Bead, This Device Makes Truly 3D Holographs

A floating butterfly created by the Multimodal Acoustic Trap Display. (Credit: Eimontas Jankauskis) With the help of sound waves and a small plastic ball, researchers in the U.K. have designed a machine that generates truly 3D holographs. The whole system is slightly smaller than a shoebox and makes simple images, like a butterfly or smiley face, that are less than an inch tall. Described in Nature, the device is one of the first 3D image generators that also responds to touch and produce ...read more

Ancient Egyptians Didn’t Farm Ibises, They Just Mummified Them

Posted on Categories Discover MagazineLeave a comment on Ancient Egyptians Didn’t Farm Ibises, They Just Mummified Them

Scene from the Books of the Dead (The Egyptian museum) showing the ibis-headed God Thoth recording the result of the final judgement. (Credit: Wasef et al, 2019) Ancient Egyptian catacombs stretch for kilometers underground. Branching off the tunnels are rooms, and those rooms are stacked to the ceilings with jars holding more than one million mummified African sacred ibises.  Egyptians buried millions of these leggy, long-beaked birds as prayer offerings to Thoth, the god of wisdom a ...read more

Ancient Proteins Tell Story Of Gigantopithecus, Largest-Ever Primate

Posted on Categories Discover MagazineLeave a comment on Ancient Proteins Tell Story Of Gigantopithecus, Largest-Ever Primate

Artist's rendering of how large Gigantopithecus blacki may have been. In life, G. blacki would have spent most of its time on all fours. (Credit: Wikimedia Commons) There's nothing small about Gigantopithecus blacki. The massive extinct animal likely rivaled a modern polar bear in size, weighing more than 1,000 pounds and standing nearly ten feet tall on its back legs. The mystery around G. blacki is also super-sized. This largest of primates is known only from plentiful teeth and a fe ...read more

This Spacecraft Will Detect if Exoplanet Skies are Cloudy, Hazy or Clear

Posted on Categories Discover MagazineLeave a comment on This Spacecraft Will Detect if Exoplanet Skies are Cloudy, Hazy or Clear

NASA is adding an instrument to the European Space Agency's ARIEL spacecraft.(Credit: ESA/STFC RAL Space/UCL/Europlanet-Science Office) NASA announced last week that it will contribute to a European Space Agency mission scheduled to launch in 2028. The spacecraft, called ARIEL (for Atmospheric Remote-sensing Infrared Exoplanet Large-survey), will be the first space mission dedicated to studying exoplanet atmospheres.  During its primary mission lasting some four years, ARIEL will stud ...read more

Page 1 of 42812345...102030...Last »