Grades 9-12

The Shining Star of South African Astronomy

Science Bulletins

The Shining Star of South African Astronomy

On cloudless, moonless nights, the stars are so bright over the remote village of Sutherland, South Africa, that a person can walk by starlight alone. Learn more about the village’s Southern African Large Telescope (SALT).

Essay: The Success of Failed Stars

Essay

Essay: The Success of Failed Stars

Scientists have been studying brown dwarfs, or failed stars, for nearly a century. What have they learned? And what answers are they still seeking about these objects stuck somewhere between stars and planets?

Essay: Will Dark Energy Please Come to Light?

Essay

Essay: Will Dark Energy Please Come to Light?

Two teams working independently in 1998 came to the same conclusion: An invisible force, one that seems to act opposite gravity, is separating the matter in space at an increasing pace. Find out more about their “jaw-dropping” discovery.

Essay: Waiting for Gravity at LIGO

Essay

Essay: Waiting for Gravity at LIGO

If LIGO regularly registers gravitational waves, it will more than vindicate Einstein. The observatory may help answer pressing questions about the cosmos’s biggest mysteries, among them black holes, dark matter, and the Big Bang.

In a Future Ocean, It Takes a Thick Skin

Article

In a Future Ocean, It Takes a Thick Skin

The next time you pry a clamshell or crack a lobster claw for dinner, pay a small homage. For many ocean creatures with hard shells, growing that armor is taking more effort than ever. Find out why.

Article: Carbon Sinks and Carbon Bombs

Article

Article: Carbon Sinks and Carbon Bombs

Scott Goetz has studied the boreal forest of Alaska for more than two decades, but year by year, the landscape is becoming less familiar to him. See how climate change is affecting the forest — and how the forest, in turn, may be influencing climate.

Article: GRACE Watches Earth's Water

Article

Article: GRACE Watches Earth's Water

Earth's water is in constant motion. It cycles through the planet's atmosphere, surface, and depths. This water cycle is fundamental to Earth’s climate — and is being dramatically affected by global warming.

Shaping a Continent: Version 1.0

Article

Shaping a Continent: Version 1.0

Discover how scientists are now marrying traditional fieldwork with cutting-edge computer modeling to produce the first animated, theoretical picture of the Basin and Range Province's geological evolution.

Article: Follow the Magma

Article

Article: Follow the Magma

In 1669, the fastest and largest lava flow documented for Mount Etna on the island of Sicily killed most of Catania's 20,000 residents and destroyed much of the city. Why are scientists now watching Etna more than any other volcano in Europe? Find out.

The Ice Plant Cometh

Article

The Ice Plant Cometh

During a July 2004 project to drill an ice core from the top of Peru's Andes Mountain, the lead researcher took a detour… and made a discovery with profound implications. Learn more.

Expedition for an Ice Core

Article

Expedition for an Ice Core

By analyzing the relics glaciers hold — compacted snow and trapped air from ancient atmospheres, ash from long-quiet volcanoes, dust, insects, and pollen — scientists can reconstruct hundreds of thousands of years of Earth’s climate.

The Coming and Going of an Ice Age

Article

The Coming and Going of an Ice Age

In the past two million years alone, Earth has experienced around 20 ice ages — cycles of advance and retreat of large continental ice sheets. When is the next one due? And will global warming change that due date?

Rapid Change in a Warming World

Article

Rapid Change in a Warming World

Climate change isn’t always slow, small, and imperceptible in a human lifetime. Ice core analysis has found a single decade in which temperatures over Greenland shot up about 15 degrees Celsius.

The Climate Jump Heard 'Round The World

Article

The Climate Jump Heard 'Round The World

Scientists know that the unusual and rapid temperature jump of the Younger Dryas was felt over half the globe. But they're only now beginning to understand why.

NAO Who?

Article

NAO Who?

Name any debacle of nature, and someone will likely blame it on El Niño. But there’s another large-scale climate pattern that's been overlooked: El Niño's fickle Nordic sister, the North Atlantic Oscillation.

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