Science

Rare Fire Rainbow appears over Isle of Palms, SC

Rare Fire Rainbow appears over Isle of Palms, SC

On Sunday, South Carolina became the canvas for a rare "fire rainbow", which is a rainbow that, in this case, twisted upward in the sky and formed what appeared to be a pair of wings. The phenomenon happened at Isle of Palms, and isn’t something you’re likely to see too often. It is rare enough, in fact, that many viewers were baffled by the sight, but a quick look at the tweets filling Twitter reveals they found it pleasant regardless.

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Urban grime ‘breathes’ pollution when exposed to sunlight

Urban grime ‘breathes’ pollution when exposed to sunlight

Urban grime ‘breathes’ pollution back into the environment when exposed to sunlight, according to researchers. Grime, in this case, is the slurry of chemicals pumped into the air from common city trappings: car tail pipes, house chimneys, factories, and more. These chemicals build up on surfaces, forming a distinct dark “grime” over time. This grime has been known to absorb pollution out of the atmosphere, but according to a study conducted in Germany, it can also release some nitrogen pollution back into the environment.

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Researchers: hummingbirds drink using ‘tiny pumps’

Researchers: hummingbirds drink using ‘tiny pumps’

The hummingbirds that show up around your porch to drink up proffered sugary water are, as you know, zippy little birds. It’s hard to see anything more than their quick darting around, but thanks to slow motion video we’ve been given a look at what we’ve been missing. Much like cats, hummingbirds drink using their tongue, but rather than lapping it up, they use their tongue as a type of tiny pump that works very, very fast.

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NASA’s Curiosity rover takes better selfies than you

NASA’s Curiosity rover takes better selfies than you

NASA's Mars mission rover Curiosity sends back images captured near a drilled rock called "Buckskin". Not to be outdone by today's "The Martian" trailer release, NASA's Curiosity Mars Rover has sent the image you're about to see as a composite of several photos captured in short sequence. The image you're seeing here is part of a larger panorama also available in the gallery below. This image was captured with Curiosity's Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) earlier this month and attained by NASA this week.

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NASA shares the real tech behind Ridley Scott’s “The Martian”

NASA shares the real tech behind Ridley Scott’s “The Martian”

Today NASA is showing the real science behind the film "The Martian". Not just the bits and pieces you'll know already - space travel and all that - but the technology you might not have known exists. NASA has the technology to make MOST of what you'll see in The Martian a reality. All they need is time and funding. And Matt Damon, of course. Can't forget Matt Damon. And Ridley Scott. This all begins with "the Hab", or The Habitat, the place where our hero Watney spends his days in the film.

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Earliest modern human-like bone found in Tanzania

Earliest modern human-like bone found in Tanzania

A new dig in Tanzania uncovers a finger bone which appears to belong to the earliest known example of a human-like animal in the history of the world. What we're looking at here is the base of a pinky finger, coming from a hand with modern human-like (MHL) anatomy, made to grip. This bone is known as OH 86, Olduvai Hominin 86, and it comes from an older-than 1.84-million-year-old dig site Philip Tobias Korongo (PTK) at Olduvai Gorge (Tanzania). This is now the earliest MHL hand bone in the fossil record.

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Watch Japan launch a rocket with supplies for the International Space Station

Watch Japan launch a rocket with supplies for the International Space Station

Only a few hours ago, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) successfully launched an unmanned rocket carrying supplies for the International Space Station (ISS). The Kounotori-5 departed from the southern tip of Japan on Wednesday night local time, or just before 8:00 AM Eastern. The successful launch comes as good news to all in the space exploration community, as the last few months have seen a number of resupply missions end in failure, including SpaceX's launch of a Falcon 9 rocket in June.

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Meat-eating dinosaurs: special serrations kept teeth extra sharp

Meat-eating dinosaurs: special serrations kept teeth extra sharp

Meat-eating dinosaurs have serrated edges on their teeth, which is nothing new. However, the extent and complexity of those serrations has only just recently been observed, with researchers noting that the serrations include “deep folds” where each serrated part begins. These folds were originally thought to be cracks resulting from the force of the dinosaur’s biting, but a more extensive look at teeth from multiple creatures has revealed the special serrations were common among flesh-eating dinosaurs, serving to keep their teeth as sharp as possible for as long as possible.

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Autonomous Mayflower will cross the ocean alone in 2020

Autonomous Mayflower will cross the ocean alone in 2020

There’s a new Mayflower destined for the ocean waters, only this one won’t have any crew onboard. It is called the Mayflower Autonomous Research Ship, also known as MARS, which will be sailing all by itself from Plymouth, England to Plymouth, Massachusetts in 2020. The date is to coincide with the 400th anniversary of the original Mayflower's historic voyage, and will mark yet another aspect of transportation that has eliminated the human component.

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NASA finally answers lingering lunar question

NASA finally answers lingering lunar question

The big experiments in space might seem like they're happening on Mars or even further afield, but NASA's latest discovery proves there's plenty to learn closer to home. Thanks to the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) spacecraft, we now know that the atmosphere of our own moon contains neon, something suspected all the way back in the days of the Apollo missions, but until now unconfirmed.

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NASA’s Cassini to give Saturn’s moon Dione one last flyby

NASA’s Cassini to give Saturn’s moon Dione one last flyby

NASA will be getting one of its best look to date of Saturn's moon Dione today, as the Cassini spacecraft will be flying within 295 miles of its surface. This will be the fifth and final close flyby that Cassini conducts of the pockmarked Dione before its mission of studying Saturn concludes in 2017. Scientists are hoping the data gathered will tell them if the icy moon is geologically alive and active, similar to Enceladus, another of Saturn's satellites.

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Dinosaur footprints found strolling a German beach together

Dinosaur footprints found strolling a German beach together

Biologists uncover dinosaur tracks in formation with one another, suggesting carnivores walked amongst one another. What these ca. 50 footprints suggest, say biologist Pernille Venø Troelsen, is that these prints could have belonged to "two social animals, perhaps a parent and a young." These tracks were first revealed to the public back at this year's XIII Annual Meeting of the European Association of Vertebrate Paleontologists in Opole, Poland. It was there that Troelsen first showed the prints excavated between 2009-11 in a Bückeberg Formation in Münchehagen in Germany.

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