The Oklahoma tornado disaster was chilling in terms of sheer power and devastation caused. In this week's picks, I highlight two articles about tornadoes. The first one, by Douglas Main , examines the underlying causes of such destructive tornadoes and the second one, by Adam Kucharski , looks at the challenge in forecasting seemingly unpredictable tornadoes.
On a more joyous note, this week's picks comprises numerous blog posts from Scitable blogs, which just relaunched this week [full disclosure: I am the Community Manager of Scitable blogs]. The blog posts span a variety of topics including physics, cosmology, evolution, psychology, geology, oceanography among others. Scitable bloggers highlighted this week are: Thomas Nguyen , James Keen , Sedeer el-Showk , Jon Tennant , Jane Robb , Sara Mynott , Bruce Braun , Dana Smith and Kate Whittington .[More]
Astronomers have seen it coming. Starting this summer--possibly this month--a large cloud of gas and dust and perhaps a star will begin to ricochet through the dead center of the Milky Way galaxy, the home of a supermassive black hole. The ensuing celestial fireworks should reveal much about the mysterious central core of the galaxy, a region kept shrouded in darkness by dust and distance.[More]
[Eugene Cernan on the moon:] “Okay, here we go.”[More]
NASA’s Kepler spacecraft is not only the most prolific exoplanet detector ever; it is -- or was -- a marvel of engineering. Its 1.4-meter mirror funnels starlight to a 95-megapixel camera, capable of discerning dips in brightness as small as 10 parts per million -- clues to the mini-eclipses caused by an exoplanet crossing the star’s face. Yet on 14 May, the US$600-million craft was derailed by the failure of one of its only moving parts -- a roughly $200,000 device akin to a child’s gyroscope.[More]
The arrival of NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) at the Red Planet in 2006 ushered in a whole new era of Mars observation. With its ultrapowerful HiRISE camera, the orbiter has spied on the Martian surface to study curious features, some of them possibly linked to the presence of water, in unprecedented detail. And along the way HiRISE has also uncovered a few new phenomena. [More]
Hot on the heels of detecting the two highest-energy neutrinos ever observed, scientists working with a mammoth particle detector buried in ice near the South Pole unveiled preliminary data showing that they also registered the signal of 26 additional high-energy neutrinos. The newfound neutrinos are somewhat less energetic than the two record-setters but nonetheless appear to carry more energy than would be expected if created by cosmic rays hitting the atmosphere--a prodigious source of neutrinos raining down on Earth. The particles thus may point to unknown energetic astrophysical processes deeper in the cosmos .[More]
From Nature magazine[More]