It looks kinda like a squirrel, except its ears are too small, its tail is ratty, then bushy, and its mouth? Definitely un-squirrel. More like a shrew, a fox, or a dog. And the teeth? Strange. What is it?
The 10-meter Keck II (right), a twin of the world's largest optical telescope, was used to study the atmosphere of HR 8799c.
Credit Richard Wainscoat / AP
Scientists peering into the atmosphere of a giant planet 130 light years away believe their findings bolster one theory of how solar systems form.
The planet, orbiting the star HR 8799, is part of a solar system containing at least three other "super-Jupiters" weighing in at between five and 10 times the mass of our own Jupiter. The nearby system features a brash, young 30-million-year-old star (by contrast, our Sun is in midlife at about 4.5 billion years old).
Microbes may once have happily existed on the surface of Mars, according to chemical analysis of a sedimentary rock in the Red Planet's Gale crater. NASA geologist and exobiologist David Blake discusses evidence for an ancient freshwater lake in the crater, and describes the mineral-chomping microbes that may have thrived there.
This is SCIENCE FRIDAY; I'm Ira Flatow. We've all been there, sitting at the computer late at night, clicking on those websites that offer medical opinions, trying to convince ourselves that our headache must be caused by a brain tumor, right? Yeah, that dry skin you've had for the last couple of months, of course it's due to a thyroid disorder because that's what you're finding out on the Web. Recognize yourself?
Kathy Reichs, the writer and scientist behind the TV show Bones, is back with a new novel for young adults. Code: A Virals Novel stars Tory Brennan, great-niece of Reich's famed crime-solving heroine Tempe Brennan. Reichs discusses the book, co-written with Brendan Reichs.
Harvesting stem cells from human fat may be an effective way to treat brain cancer, researchers report in the journal PLoS One. Alfredo Quinones-Hinojosa, of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, explains how fat cells can be used as Trojan horses to fight cancer.
Reporting in the journal Nature Physics, William Irvine and Dustin Kleckner, physicists at the University of Chicago, have created a knotted fluid vortex in the lab — a scientific first, they say. The knots resemble smoke rings — except these are made of water, and they're shaped like pretzels, not donuts. Understanding knottiness has extra-large applications, like understanding dynamics of the sun.
Originally published on Fri March 15, 2013 1:03 pm
More than 450 photographers submitted a shot to SciFri's Winter Nature Photo Contest, and thousands of fans helped choose a winner. Contest judge Clay Bolt discusses the winning entry, and what makes for a prize-winning shot. Plus, tips for budding nature photographers.