Science in the News


Thinking about Climate Change: Global Warming versus Climate Change

My last blog post was inspired by social media comments, such as “So much for global warming”, made after a few particularly cold days in Ohio. As I mentioned previously, some of the confusion about the topic of global warming may come from the terminology we use to describe it. In my last post I explored the difference between weather and climate. Other terms that can be confusing are global warming and global climate change.

The Elements of July 4th

Ah, holidays! There's nothing like them. With every occasion there is plenty of food, loved ones and just an overall good time. Though they're all special in their own right, what makes the 4th of July particularly fun are the roars, booms and flashing lights of fireworks....
Photo of fireworks.

Water You Could Drink – On Mars!

The Opportunity Rover, one of the most successful explorers in history, has added another remarkable discovery to its résumé. Opportunity has found a type of clay that is deposited in water – not just any water, but water with the right chemistry for our kind of life. In the words of Project Manager Steve Squyres, "This is water you could drink."

What's the big deal? Haven't our intrepid Mars rovers already found lots of evidence for ancient Martian water? Yes, they have. But this discovery is different.

Update: A Bang for the Flash!

They did it. A large collaboration of scientists, watching the spot in the constellation Leo where a humongous gamma ray burst occurred in late April, have seen the giant supernova explosion they were expecting after such a monumental event. Not only that, but the explosion was so large and powerful that it created the universe's oddest inhabitant – a black hole!
Update: A Bang for the Flash!


Just over three and a half billion years ago, in the direction of the constellation Leo the Lion, something big happened – something very, very big. That very big something caused a beam of intensely energetic (yet invisible) light to fly our way. It's been traveling toward us all this time, as our Earth evolved and changed, until finally, on April 27, 2013, it reached our planet.

On that date, astronomers operating telescopes in orbit around the Earth recorded the most powerful gamma ray burst they'd seen in decades. Now those same astronomers are anxiously watching the same patch of sky for what they believe must follow, a giant stellar explosion called a supernova. If they can spot it, they will learn much about stars, their moments of death, and the origin of us all.

So what's the big deal about gamma rays?
Credit: NASA/DOE/Fermi LAT Collaboration
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