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Science Bulletin

Species and Sprawl: A Road Runs Through It

As urban and suburban sprawl continue to spread across the country, road mortality has been found to be a major factor in the decline of turtle populations throughout the northeastern United States. In hopes of informing future development, researchers at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst are radio-tracking wood turtles to better quantify their movement patterns and habitat needs.

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Science Bulletin

Urban Sprawl: Phoenix

Most people think of urban sprawl as the construction of roads and buildings at a rate that exceeds population growth. Phoenix, Arizona, however, offers a contrasting model of sprawl. Its metropolitan area has grown more than 300 percent in recent decades, but its population has grown even faster. Since the mid-1980's, the city's population density has increased as people continue to move to the region even as the urban area's boundaries have grown more slowly. This trend is by necessity, since the water supply cannot feed an ever-expanding metropolitan area.

Impact! Tracking Near-Earth Asteroids?

Science Bulletin

Impact! Tracking Near-Earth Asteroids

Collisions between space objects are a vital part of the evolution of our Solar System. Most of Earth's impact craters have been wiped away due to plate tectonics, but evidence of such cosmic catastrophes, such as Arizona's 50,000-year-old meteor crater, do remain. When is Earth due for another major blast? Meet the professional and amateur astronomers who may be the first to know: first at LINEAR, a near-earth asteroid detection facility in New Mexico, and then at the Smithsonian's Minor Planet Center, where orbits of near-earth objects are tracked for possible hits and misses.
Science Bulletins is a production of the National Center for Science
Literacy, Education, and Technology (NCSLET), part of the Department of
Education at the American Museum of Natural History. This visualization
was supported by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
(NOAA).

New Horizons Mission to Pluto

Science Bulletin

New Horizon's Mission to Pluto

Since its discovery in 1930, we've looked at Pluto as our solar system's ninth planet. But residing in the icy realm of the outer solar system, where the sun's brightness is less than 1/1000 of the brightness here on Earth, Pluto is nothing like the other planets of our solar system. It differs tremendously from the gas giants Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune, but does not resemble the rocky terrestrial worlds Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars.

Our Moon

Science Bulletin

Our Moon

The peaceful glow of the moonlight in our sky belies a violent history. Evidence suggests that the Moon formed when a Mars-sized object collided with the young Earth, and detailed computer models show us how such an impact could form our lunar companion in just one month.
Science Bulletins is a production of the National Center for Science
Literacy, Education, and Technology (NCSLET), part of the Department of
Education at the American Museum of Natural History. This visualization
was supported by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
(NOAA).

humanfootprint

Science Bulletin

Human Footprint

Humans leave a mark on Earth that is detectable from space. By analyzing satellite images, scientists can measure the extent of deforestation, agriculture, urbanization, and other features. Satellite analysts estimate that humans directly affect 83 percent of our planet's land surface, leaving a dwindling percentage of land truly "wild." This huge influence is called the "human footprint."
The Pearl River delta near Hong Kong is a dramatic example of the human footprint. Humans have continuously occupied the region for thousands of years, and the region's cities are among the fastest-growing urban centers ever observed. Scientists use the same techniques illustrated for the Pearl River delta to study human-altered surface features around the world, thus mapping the global human footprint.

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Essay

Essay: Stars in Exquisite Accuracy

There’s only one star that astronomers have a firm grasp on: the Sun. Fundamental facts about other stars remain elusive. Find out how a powerful interferometer atop Mount Wilson in Southern California hopes to change that.

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Article

The Enigma of High Energy Cosmic Rays

In 1912, Viktor Hess took to the sky in a hot-air balloon and discovered a radioactive energy now called “cosmic rays.” Travel to Argentina to see how scientists now hope to discover at long last where the highest-energy cosmic rays are coming from.

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