Citizen science discovers a new form of the northern lights

Working together with space researchers, Finnish amateur photographers have discovered a new auroral form. Named ‘dunes’ by the hobbyists, the phenomenon is believed to be caused by waves of oxygen atoms glowing due to a stream of particles released from the Sun. In the recently published study, the origins of the dunes were tracked to … Read more Citizen science discovers a new form of the northern lights

Magnetic storms discovered to originate much closer to Earth than previously thought

Magnetic storms are the primary drivers of extreme space weather around our planet, visible as the northern and southern auroral lights. Despite their importance and potential hazards to space and ground infrastructure, the process that powers storms has not been understood yet because they are far too dynamic and complex to study with single satellites. … Read more Magnetic storms discovered to originate much closer to Earth than previously thought

Satellites are key to monitoring ocean carbon

Satellites now play a key role in monitoring carbon levels in the oceans, but we are only just beginning to understand their full potential. Our ability to predict future climate relies upon being able to monitor where our carbon emissions go. So we need to know how much stays in the atmosphere, or becomes stored … Read more Satellites are key to monitoring ocean carbon

It really was the asteroid

Fossil remains of tiny calcareous algae not only provide information about the end of the dinosaurs, but also show how the oceans recovered after the fatal asteroid impact. Experts agree that a collision with an asteroid caused a mass extinction on our planet, but there were hypotheses that ecosystems were already under pressure from increasing … Read more It really was the asteroid

Volcanic ash sparks a new discovery

Imagine you’re getting ready to fly to your favorite vacation destination when suddenly a volcano erupts, sending massive amounts of volcanic ash into the atmosphere, and forcing the cancellation of your flight. That’s exactly what happened in April 2010 when Eyjafjallajokull, a volcano in Iceland, erupted and disrupted air travel in Europe for six days. … Read more Volcanic ash sparks a new discovery

Bringing astrophysical processes down to Earth

Magnetic reconnection, a process in which magnetic field lines tear and come back together, releasing large amounts of kinetic energy, occurs throughout the universe. The process gives rise to auroras, solar flares and geomagnetic storms that can disrupt cell phone service and electric grids on Earth. A major challenge in the study of magnetic reconnection, … Read more Bringing astrophysical processes down to Earth

Dust from a giant asteroid crash caused an ancient ice age

About 466 million years ago, long before the age of the dinosaurs, the Earth froze. The seas began to ice over at the Earth’s poles, and the new range of temperatures around the planet set the stage for a boom of new species evolving. The cause of this ice age was a mystery, until now: … Read more Dust from a giant asteroid crash caused an ancient ice age

Rocks at asteroid impact site record first day of dinosaur extinction

When the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs slammed into the planet, the impact set wildfires, triggered tsunamis and blasted so much sulfur into the atmosphere that it blocked the sun, which caused the global cooling that ultimately doomed the dinos. That’s the scenario scientists have hypothesized. Now, a new study led by The University … Read more Rocks at asteroid impact site record first day of dinosaur extinction

Tin isotopes indicative of liquid–vapour equilibration and separation in the Moon-forming disk

The Moon is thought to have formed after a planetary embryo hit the Earth ~4.5 billion years ago. This produced a phenomenom that has never been observed by any human being. This so called ‘giant impact’ generated a lot of heat and some matter was ejected into space to form a large cloud of vapor … Read more Tin isotopes indicative of liquid–vapour equilibration and separation in the Moon-forming disk

Atacama Desert microbes may hold clues to life on Mars

Microbial life on Mars may potentially be transported across the planet on dust particles carried by wind, according to a study conducted in the Atacama Desert in North Chile, a well-known Mars analogue. The findings are published in Scientific Reports. Armando Azua-Bustos and colleagues investigated whether microbial life could move across the Atacama Desert using on … Read more Atacama Desert microbes may hold clues to life on Mars