Researchers speculate the crash may reveal a "missing planet" beyond Pluto. Uranus's magnetic field is also lopsided.
Monday, 31 December 2018
Thursday, 6 December 2018
These clocks are so accurate they'd lose just half a second if they lasted the age of the universe. The clocks' exquisite precision, outlined in Nature today, means they can measure how space-time distorts under gravity forces. Eventually, astrophysicists could enlist their help to detect mysterious dark matter.
Wednesday, 5 December 2018
Some 9 billion years ago, a pair of black holes — around 51 and 34 times the mass of the Sun — merged in a colossal collision. They formed a new black hole around 80 times the mass of the Sun, and the ensuing blast in their final seconds sent gravitational waves coursing through space-time. Travelling at the speed of light, those infinitesimally tiny ripples washed through Earth on July 29 last year.
Sunday, 25 November 2018
Astronomers have named the breathtaking pinwheel Apep, after the Egyptian god of chaos and destruction. At its centre are two massive, fast-spinning "Wolf-Rayet stars" which appear to be on the point of exploding. Stars like these are thought to be a source of long gamma ray bursts — a violent blast of radiation never before seen in our galaxy.
Wednesday, 21 November 2018
Barnard's star is the closest single-star system to us. Astronomers have detected signs of a frozen alien world 3.2 times the mass of Earth. If it is confirmed, it will be the second-closest exoplanet to Earth.
Friday, 16 November 2018
Goffin's cockatoos were trained to cut cardboard strips to use as tools. Tools were cut to the right length to reach food. Only the female cockatoo could adjust the tool width.
Wednesday, 14 November 2018
A number of caves in the Indonesian province of Kalimantan contain thousands rock art images of animals, hand stencils and symbols. Sophisticated dating of the paintings shows the earliest paintings were created at least 40,000-52,000 years ago. Paintings shifted from animals to humans at the peak of the Ice Age between 20,000-21,000 years ago.
Wednesday, 7 November 2018
Palæobiologists analysed fossilised eggshells for traces of pigments and found eggs laid by dinosaurs closely related to birds were coloured, while more distantly related dinosaurs were plain, which suggests that modern birds inherited their eggshell hues from dinosaurs, rather than evolving them independently.
Wednesday, 3 October 2018
A round frozen dwarf planet just 300 kilometres across, nicknamed the Goblin, has been discovered well beyond Pluto, further redefining our solar system. This is the third dwarf planet recently found to be orbiting on the frigid fringes of our solar system.
Goblin's orbit is extremely elongated — so stretched out, in fact, that it takes 40,000 years for it to circle the sun. At its most distant, the Goblin is 2,300 times further from the sun than Earth. That's 2,300 astronomical units (AU). One AU is the distance from Earth to the sun, or roughly 150 million kilometres. At its closest, the Goblin is 65 times farther from the sun than Earth, or 65 AU. Pluto, by comparison, is approximately between 30 and 50 AU.
Wednesday, 26 September 2018
The true identity of one of evolution's greatest mysteries has finally been revealed by ancient fat molecules extracted from 558 million-year-old fossils discovered in Russia. The creatures preserved in the fossils, known as Dickinsonia, are among the earliest known animals in the geological record, settling a 75-year-old debate about the nature of these organisms.
Wednesday, 19 September 2018
A tiny stone flake covered in a red ochre cross-hatch design has been unearthed in South Africa in a famous cave where paints, paint tool boxes, spears and beads have previously been found. The discovery indicates early modern humans were capable of symbolic behaviour between 70,000 and 100,000 years ago.
Wednesday, 29 August 2018
A tiny bone fragment found in a Siberian Cave belongs to the first-known hybrid child born of different ancient humans. A DNA analysis shows the young girl's mother was Neanderthal and her father was Denisovan. While it's been known for a long time the two groups intermingled from traces of their DNA in modern humans, this is the first direct evidence of their dalliances.
Wednesday, 22 August 2018
Wednesday, 8 August 2018
- Groups of pygmy people live near a site where fossils of a short-statured species of hominin called Homo floresiensis were found
- Whether present-day inhabitants are descendants of Homo floresiensis was up for debate
- New DNA analysis shows no ancestral link between current population and Homo floresiensis
- Short stature evolved twice in two separate lineages of hominins on Flores
Given that the Homo floresiensis fossils are physically consistent with Australopithecines and physically inconsistent with both Homo erectus and Homo sapiens, this is not a surprising finding.
Wednesday, 1 August 2018
A giant lake of liquid water seems to be buried beneath the ice near the Red Planet's south pole. Using ground-penetrating radar on an orbiting spacecraft, an Italian team picked up signs of a 20-kilometre-wide body of liquid water, hidden 1.5 kilometres under the ice cap.
Thursday, 19 July 2018
For the first time, astrophysicists have traced a single neutrino from beyond our galaxy all the way back to its source: an active supermassive black hole called a blazar, some 4 billion light-years away.
Wednesday, 11 July 2018
The discovery of a new dinosaur species suggests gigantism in sauropods evolved about 30 million years earlier than previously thought. The newly uncovered bones, belonging to a plant-eater dubbed Ingentia prima, also suggest that there were a couple of different ways these giant dinosaurs evolved.
Thursday, 28 June 2018
Wednesday, 27 June 2018
Friday, 22 June 2018
Wednesday, 20 June 2018
Wednesday, 13 June 2018
The latest data shows huge swings in the level of methane in the atmosphere as the seasons change, and new types of organic molecules capable of preserving life just beneath its surface.
Friday, 8 June 2018
NASA’s veteran Curiosity rover has found complex organic matter buried and preserved in ancient sediments that formed a vast lake bed on Mars more than 3 billion years ago.
The discovery is the most compelling evidence yet that long before the planet became the parched world it is today, Martian lakes were a rich soup of carbon-based compounds that are necessary for life, at least as we know it.
Wednesday, 6 June 2018
Saturday, 2 June 2018
New research supports an early sea arrival, by way of the Pacific coast. By dating rocks and animal bones, scientists conclude that the coast of southeastern Alaska was largely ice-free and full of plant and animal life some 17,000 years ago—a welcoming environment for people venturing south into a new world.
Wednesday, 23 May 2018
Researchers extracted DNA from ancient bones found in modern-day Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and Myanmar to estimate when new genes started flowing into the Indigenous hunter-gatherer populations of the time. They found an influx of genes from South China coincided with the appearance of agriculture in South-East Asia around 4,100 to 4,500 years ago, alongside pottery and tools made in the southern Chinese style. A second gene "pulse" flowed from China to South-East Asia a couple of thousand years later.
Thursday, 17 May 2018
Scientists have discovered the fastest growing black hole known in the universe. It is growing at a rate of 1 per cent every 1 million years, and it is so big it is consuming a mass equivalent to the Sun every two days.
Wednesday, 16 May 2018
A team from Google DeepMind and University College London in the United Kingdom have trained a form of artificial intelligence to traverse a virtual environment from one point to another.
Thursday, 26 April 2018
Wednesday, 18 April 2018
Tuesday, 10 April 2018
Archaeologists on Monday announced the discovery of a fossilised human finger bone in the desert of Saudi Arabia that they said was 85,000 years old. If confirmed, the finding would be the first and earliest Homo sapiens fossil found on the Arabian Peninsula, as well as the oldest specimen of our species to be directly dated outside of Africa and its doorstep, the Levant.
Sunday, 8 April 2018
Friday, 6 April 2018
A group of scientists say they have discovered a new fluid-filled space inside human tissue that could be its largest organ. Called interstitium, the space is found everywhere throughout the body, from under the skin to between the organs. It surrounds arteries, muscles, and the digestive and urinary tracts in a layer long thought to be dense connective tissue.
Wednesday, 4 April 2018
Thursday, 22 March 2018
As the earth shook and the climate swung between extremes, early humans in East Africa underwent a radical shift in cultural behaviour. This happens to be around the time anatomically modern Homo sapiens appear in the fossil record.
Wednesday, 14 March 2018
Below whirling jet streams, 3,000 kilometres deep, lies a dense, rotating core of liquid hydrogen and helium. Under such crushing pressures, atoms are torn apart, and the fluid core acts like a solid mass. But the new data also toss up a mystery of their own: what's causing the strangely symmetrical, stable pattern of cyclones at Jupiter's poles?
Thursday, 1 March 2018
Astronomers have detected a signal from the first stars as they appeared and illuminated the universe, in observations that have been hailed as “revolutionary”. The faint radio signals suggest the universe was lifted out of total darkness 180m years after the big bang in a momentous transition known as the cosmic dawn. The faint imprint left by the glow of the earliest stars also appears to contain new and unexpected evidence about the existence and nature of dark matter which, if confirmed by independent observatories, would mark a second major breakthrough.
Wednesday, 28 February 2018
Friday, 16 February 2018
Wednesday, 14 February 2018
Sunday, 11 February 2018
More than 7,000 ancient stone tools have been discovered in India that show a distinct upgrade in stone-shaping techniques — including advanced blades, points and scrapers — dating as far back as 385,000 years ago. This suggests that modern stone tools were being made in India 250,000 years earlier than previously thought. The tools may have been made by an archaic species of hominin, rather than modern humans.
Friday, 9 February 2018
Researchers using a high-tech aerial mapping technique have found tens of thousands of previously undetected Mayan houses, buildings, defence works and pyramids in the dense jungle of Guatemala's Peten region, suggesting that millions more people lived there than previously thought.
Wednesday, 7 February 2018
A tiny arachnid discovered in 100-million-year-old amber looks just like a spider, except for one thing: its whip-like tail. The fossil fills a critical gap in the arachnid family tree between today's spiders and spider-like arachnids that lived before the dinosaurs.
Monday, 5 February 2018
Astrophysicists have discovered for the first time a population of planets beyond the Milky Way galaxy. Using microlensing—an astronomical phenomenon and the only known method capable of discovering planets at truly great distances from the Earth among other detection techniques — researchers were able to detect objects in extragalactic galaxies that range from the mass of the Moon to the mass of Jupiter.
Thursday, 1 February 2018
Modern humans were wandering out of Africa at least 180,000 years ago — some 60,000 years earlier than previously thought. The new migration date comes after ancient stone tools and part of a fossilised Homo sapiens jaw bone with teeth were discovered in a cave in northern Israel. Until now, the oldest evidence for modern humans outside Africa were only 90,000 to 120,000 years old.
Wednesday, 17 January 2018
The discovery of a mountain of frozen water lying just under the surface of Mars has been hailed by scientists as game-changer for exploration of the Red Planet. The massive ice cliffs soar 100 metres high, but scientists believe they could be just the beginning when it comes to what lies beneath the surface of the arid planet. The ice could also provide a frozen record of the planet's changing climate over millennia.
Thursday, 7 December 2017
It had a graceful, swan-like neck but bizarre "killer claws" that could tear prey to shreds: The fossil of a new, 75-million-year-old species of "duck dinosaur" has been discovered in Mongolia. The fossil represents a new species of amphibious dinosaur, one that walked on two legs on land like ducks, but also used its flipper-like forelimbs to manœuver in water like penguins. It also relied on its long neck for foraging and ambush hunting. The scientific name of the creature is Halszkaraptor escuillie.
Wednesday, 6 December 2017
Tuesday, 5 December 2017
Monday, 4 December 2017
A cache of hundreds of eggs discovered in China sheds new light on the development and nesting behaviour of prehistoric, winged reptiles called pterosaurs. A single sandstone block held at least 215 well-preserved eggs that have mostly kept their shape. Sixteen of those eggs have embryonic remains of the pterosaur species Hamipterus tianshanensis.
Wednesday, 29 November 2017
Astronomers have detected a planet orbiting an elderly star in our galactic neighbourhood. The new planet, known as HD76920b, is four times the size of Jupiter and orbits a star much larger than the Sun, nearly 600 light years away in the constellation of Volans — also known as the flying fish. It has the most eccentric orbit yet detected around any giant star.