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UM researchers head to the clouds to study Earth's climate
Nearly 40 years after taking his first aircraft measurements of clouds off the California coast, University of Miami Professor Bruce Albrecht has returned again this month equipped with new state-of-the-art technologies to understand the effects of low-lying clouds on global climate. (2015-08-07)

Salt flat indicates some of the last vestiges of Martian surface water
Mars turned cold and dry long ago, but researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder have discovered evidence of an ancient lake that likely represents some of the last potentially habitable surface water ever to exist on the Red Planet. (2015-08-07)

From a million miles away, NASA camera shows moon crossing face of Earth
A NASA camera aboard the Deep Space Climate Observatory satellite captured a unique view of the moon as it moved in front of the sunlit side of Earth last month. The series of test images shows the fully illuminated 'dark side' of the moon that is never visible from Earth. (2015-08-05)

Cassiopeia's hidden gem: The closest rocky, transiting planet
A star in the constellation Cassiopeia has a planet in a three-day orbit that transits, or crosses in front of its star. At a distance of just 21 light-years, it is by far the closest transiting planet to Earth, which makes it ideal for follow-up studies. Moreover, it is the nearest rocky planet confirmed outside our solar system. (2015-08-03)

Telescopes team up to find distant Uranus-sized planet through microlensing
NASA's Hubble Space Telescope and the W.M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii have made independent confirmations of an exoplanet orbiting far from its central star. The planet was discovered through a technique called gravitational microlensing. (2015-07-30)

Researchers find that Earth's magnetic shield is much older than previously thought
Since 2010, the best estimate of the age of Earth's magnetic field has been 3.45 billion years. But now a researcher responsible for that finding has new data showing the magnetic field is far older. (2015-07-30)

'Failed stars' host powerful auroral displays
By observing a brown dwarf 20 light-years away using both radio and optical telescopes, a team led by Gregg Hallinan, assistant professor of astronomy at Caltech, has found that such so-called failed stars host powerful auroras near their magnetic poles -- additional evidence that brown dwarfs are more like giant planets than small stars. (2015-07-29)

Astronomers discover powerful aurora beyond solar system
The first aurora discovered beyond our solar system is on a brown dwarf 18 light-years from Earth. Some 10,000 times more powerful than any seen before, it may be of a type possible to detect on extrasolar planets. (2015-07-29)

Astronomers discover Earth's bigger cousin
Today an international team of astronomers from NASA's Kepler mission have announced the discovery of a near-Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a Sun-like star. Dr. Daniel Huber from the University of Sydney's School of Physics is part of the team which made the discovery with NASA's Kepler Space Telescope. (2015-07-23)

Space-eye-view could help stop global wildlife decline
Conservation scientists need to collaborate with space agencies, such as NASA and the European Space Agency, to identify measures which help track biodiversity declines around the world. Scientists, led by the Zoological Society of London, UK, and University Twente, Netherlands, are calling for urgent cooperation, according to a comment published July 22, 2015 in Nature. (2015-07-22)

Why we live on Earth and not Venus
Compared to its celestial neighbours Venus and Mars, Earth is a pretty habitable place. So how did we get so lucky? A new study sheds light on the improbable evolutionary path that enabled Earth to sustain life. (2015-07-21)

The planetary sweet spot
Planet Earth is situated in what astronomers call the Goldilocks Zone -- a sweet spot in a solar system where a planet's surface temperature is neither too hot nor too cold. An ideal distance from a home star -- in Earth's case, the sun -- this habitable zone, as it is also known, creates optimal conditions that prevent water from freezing and generating a global icehouse or evaporating into space and creating a runaway greenhouse. (2015-07-20)

NASA satellite camera provides 'EPIC' view of Earth
A NASA camera on the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) satellite has returned its first view of the entire sunlit side of Earth from one million miles away. (2015-07-20)

Continued destruction of Earth's plant life places humans in jeopardy, says UGA research
Unless humans slow the destruction of Earth's declining supply of plant life, civilization like it is now may become completely unsustainable, according to a paper published recently by University of Georgia researchers in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 'You can think of the Earth like a battery that has been charged very slowly over billions of years,' said the study's lead author, John Schramski, an associate professor in UGA's College of Engineering. (2015-07-14)

Scientists study atmosphere of Venus through transit images
Two of NASA's heliophysics missions can now claim planetary science on their list of scientific findings. A group of scientists used the Venus transit -- a very rare event where a planet passes between Earth and the sun, appearing to us as a dark dot steadily making its way across the sun's bright face -- to make measurements of how the Venusian atmosphere absorbs different kinds of light. (2015-07-09)

Systems Analysis 2015
From Nov. 11-13, 2015, join us at this major international conference to explore the current state and future directions of systems analysis. (2015-07-08)

Observing the birth of a planet
Astronomers at ETH Zurich have confirmed the existence of a young giant gas planet still embedded in the midst of the disk of gas and dust surrounding its parent star. For the first time, scientists are able to directly study the formation of a planet at a very early stage. (2015-07-01)

Extreme makeover: Mankind's unprecedented transformation of Earth
University of Leicester researchers suggest a turning point for the planet and its resources. (2015-06-29)

New NASA supercomputer model shows planet making waves in nearby debris disk
A new NASA supercomputer simulation of the planet and debris disk around the nearby star Beta Pictoris reveals that the planet's motion drives spiral waves throughout the disk, a phenomenon that causes collisions among the orbiting debris. Patterns in the collisions and the resulting dust appear to account for many observed features that previous research has been unable to fully explain. (2015-06-25)

Giant comet-like tail discovered on small exoplanet
The prospect of finding ocean-bearing exoplanets has been boosted, thanks to a pioneering new study. (2015-06-24)

Hubble sees atmosphere being stripped from Neptune-sized exoplanet
Astronomers using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope have discovered an immense cloud of hydrogen dispersing from a warm, Neptune-sized planet orbiting a nearby star. The enormous gaseous tail of the planet is about 50 times the size of the parent star. The findings will be published in the 24 June issue of the journal Nature. (2015-06-24)

NASA's Hubble sees a 'behemoth' bleeding atmosphere around a warm exoplanet
Astronomers using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have discovered an immense cloud of hydrogen dubbed 'The Behemoth' bleeding from a planet orbiting a nearby star. The enormous, comet-like feature is about 50 times the size of the parent star. The hydrogen is evaporating from a warm, Neptune-sized planet, due to extreme radiation from the star. (2015-06-24)

Nonphotosynthetic pigments could be biosignatures of life on other worlds
To find life in the universe, it helps to know what it might look like. If there are organisms on other planets that do not rely wholly on photosynthesis -- as some on Earth do not -- how might those worlds appear from light-years away? (2015-06-22)

Scientists make new estimates of the deep carbon cycle
Over billions of years, the total carbon content of the outer part of the Earth -- in its mantle lithosphere, crust, oceans, and atmospheres -- has gradually increased, scientists reported this month in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Scientists Craig Manning of UCLA and Peter Kelemen of Columbia University present new analyses that represent an important advance in refining our understanding of Earth's deep carbon cycle. (2015-06-18)

Sailing through changing oceans
In the current context of global change, sustainable and responsible exploitation of the oceans can be realized only through a deep understanding of the ocean processes and of the associated ecosystems spanning every latitude of planet Earth. This is the key concept advocated by a new position paper from the European Science Foundation. (2015-06-18)

Small thunderstorms may add up to massive cyclones on Saturn
In a paper published today in the journal Nature Geoscience, atmospheric scientists at MIT propose a possible mechanism for Saturn's polar cyclones: over time, small, short-lived thunderstorms across the planet may build up angular momentum, or spin, within the atmosphere -- ultimately stirring up a massive and long-lasting vortex at the poles. (2015-06-15)

New study favors cold, icy early Mars
The high seas of Mars may never have existed, according to a new study that looks at two opposite climate scenarios of early Mars and suggests that a cold and icy planet billions of years ago better explains water drainage and erosion features seen on the planet today. (2015-06-15)

We are entering a 'golden age' of animal tracking
Animals wearing new tagging and tracking devices give a real-time look at their behavior and at the environmental health of the planet, say research associates at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in the June 12 issue of Science magazine. (2015-06-12)

UCLA-led NASA mission provides closest ever look at dwarf planet Ceres
NASA's Dawn mission is observing the dwarf planet Ceres from 2,700 miles above its surface, and this week released a new image of Ceres and a one-minute video animation of Ceres, based on images Dawn took of this heavily cratered, mysterious world. 'Everything we learn from Ceres will be absolutely new,' said Christopher T. Russell, a professor in UCLA's Department of Earth, Space and Planetary Sciences, and the Dawn mission's principal investigator. (2015-06-11)

NASA's Hubble Telescope detects 'sunscreen' layer on distant planet
NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has detected a stratosphere, one of the primary layers of Earth's atmosphere, on a massive and blazing-hot exoplanet known as WASP-33b. (2015-06-11)

Atmospheric signs of volcanic activity could aid search for life
Planets with volcanic activity are considered better candidates for life than worlds without such heated internal goings-on. University of Washington graduate students have found a way to detect volcanic activity in the atmospheres of exoplanets when they transit, or pass in front of their host stars. (2015-06-08)

NASA's Hubble finds Pluto's moons tumbling in absolute chaos
If you lived on one of Pluto's moons, you might have a hard time determining when, or from which direction, the sun will rise each day. Comprehensive analysis of data from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope shows that two of Pluto's moons, Nix and Hydra, wobble unpredictably. (2015-06-03)

Protein identified in certain microalgae changes conversation about climate change
High-profile science behind climate change and carbon recycling takes a new turn as researchers find a protein in a major group of phytoplankton that keeps them alive in stressed environments in the ocean. (2015-06-03)

Astronomers discover a young solar system around a nearby star
An international team led by Thayne Currie of the Subaru Telescope and using the Gemini South telescope, has discovered a young planetary system that shares remarkable similarities to our own early solar system. (2015-06-02)

Circular orbits identified for small exoplanets
In a paper published in the Astrophysical Journal, researchers from MIT and Aarhus University in Denmark report that 74 exoplanets, located hundreds of light-years away, orbit their respective stars in circular patterns, much like the planets of our solar system. (2015-06-01)

Not so crowded house? New findings on global species richness
Planet Earth may contain millions fewer species than previously thought and estimates are converging, according to research led by Griffith University, Queensland, Australia. In a paper published by the US-based journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Professor Nigel Stork of Griffith's Environmental Futures Research Institute reveals findings that narrow global species estimates for beetles, insects and terrestrial arthropods. (2015-06-01)

Discovery shows what the solar system looked like as a 'toddler'
Astronomers have discovered a disc of planetary debris surrounding a young sun-like star that shares remarkable similarities with the Kuiper Belt that lies beyond Neptune, and may aid in understanding how our solar system developed. (2015-05-27)

Ward elected to National Academy of Sciences
Dr. William Ward, a retired Institute scientist at Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), was elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences for his excellence in original scientific research. Membership in the NAS is one of the highest honors given to a scientist or engineer in the United States. Ward will be inducted into the Academy next spring during its 153rd annual meeting in Washington. (2015-05-13)

Astrophysicists prepare weather forecasts for planets beyond our solar system
Using sensitive observations from the Kepler space telescope, astronomers have uncovered evidence of daily weather cycles on six extra-solar planets seen to exhibit different phases. Such phase variations occur as different portions of these planets reflect light from their stars, similar to the way our own moon cycles though different phases. Among the findings are indications of cloudy mornings on four of them and hot, clear afternoons on two others. (2015-05-12)

Rockefeller scientists resolve debate over how many bacteria fight off invaders
For years, researchers have puzzled over conflicting results about the workings of type III CRISPR-Cas systems, a type of immune system found in many species of bacteria. Some data showed that this mechanism would target the virus's DNA, while other experiments suggested it could only disable a virus once it had started replicating itself. New results suggest both mechanisms play a role. (2015-05-07)

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