science

A week before President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address, a new report says Obama could advance key measures of his Climate Action Plan with or without the cooperation of Congress. “When they believed a national situation warranted action, some past presidents interpreted their authority broadly and exercised it aggressively,” the report said. “That is the practice of presidential authority Americans...

About three years ago, I was staring at a monitor wall of 2 million crowdsourced “clues” to identify archaeological tombs in Mongolia when three people in black suits walked up and stopped in their tracks.  Two of them were from the Department of Defense, and the third was a gruff young doctor named Eliah Spencer...

The last thing a barn swallow probably expects as it’s flying low over a lake is to be met with a mouthful of needle-sharp teeth emerging from the water. And if the bird happens to be flying over a certain lake in South Africa, that may well be the last thing it sees. A recent...

This artist’s conception shows a supermassive black hole, with millions of times the mass of our sun, buried at the heart of our Milky Way galaxy. Credit: NASA Astronomers around the world are on a cosmic stakeout, closely watching the supermassive black hole—lurking at the center of our Milky Way Galaxy—that is about to gobble...

Hurricanes as large as planets may sweep across the face of brown dwarfs—failed stars bigger than planets but smaller than real stars. A new study looks at 44 brown dwarfs using the infrared camera of NASA’s Spitzer space telescope. The astronomers report that they recorded periodic changes in brightness and saw the largest variations ever...

NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) has snapped an image of both the Chinese lander and the hibernating Yutu, or Jade Rabbit, rover sitting among the craters on the surface of the moon. (Related: “Cool Video: Watch HD Footage of China’s Historic Moon Rover Landing.”) Although the six-wheeled robotic geologist is only a scant 5 feet...

  The New Year promises a pair of lunar disappearing acts and a potential surprise meteor shower, among other celestial delights. While scores of amazing astronomical phenomena are in the offing, here are our picks for sky-watching events worth circling on your calendar for 2014. 1. Total Eclipse of the Moon This year sky-watchers will...

No place like home for the holidays? Two American astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) will be floating outside their orbiting home on Christmas Eve.   While a Saturday space walk to repair the orbiting laboratory’s faulty cooling pump was completed ahead of schedule, water leaks still plague one space-walk spacesuit. As a result,...

Like the fuzzy tinsel used to deck Christmas trees, this jellyfish relative—known as Apolemia—looks soft enough to cuddle. But keep in mind that it’s also armed with tiny poison-filled needles, which it shoots into animals unfortunate enough to blunder into it. Apolemia is part of a group called the siphonophores, which are related to jellyfish....

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Monday released a 20-page preview of its Annual Energy Outlook 2014, which includes projections of U.S. energy supply, demand and prices through 2040. Although the full report won’t be released until spring 2014, the preview projects a spike of 800,000 barrels a day in domestic crude oil production in 2014. By 2016,...

The Hubble Space Telescope sends along the spirit of the season, spying a cosmic holiday wreath. Just like your favorite seasonal ornament, the giant cloud of gas and dust lights up from within. Only in this case, the holiday glow comes from a massive variable star. Located some 6,500 light years away from Earth, the super-giant star at...

China’s Chang’e-3 spacecraft performed a  nerve-wracking 12 minute descent and touched down safely on the lunar surface on Saturday, December 14 at 8:11 am EST. Several hours later, a 140-kilogram (300-pound) six-wheeled rover named Jade-Rabbit rolled down a ramp to begin its 3-month mission exploring the lunar rocks and soil. China joins an elite club of nations–just...

National Geographic Emerging Explorer Gregg Treinish founded Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation, a nonprofit organization connecting outdoor adventurers with scientists in need of data from the field. He also organizes his own expeditions, contributing to research on wildlife-human interaction, fragmented habitats, and threatened species. In that spirit, his blog posts appear both here on Explorers Journal and in Beyond the Edge, the...

By Michael W. Lodge New interest in the exploitation of seabed minerals has led to the revival of old concerns for the preservation of our oceans, argues Michael W. Lodge, Deputy to the Secretary-General and Legal Counsel of the  International Seabed Authority, and speaker at the upcoming World Ocean Summit hosted by The Economist in...

Sky-watchers this week can follow Earth’s lone natural satellite as it glides across the sky and poses with some of the most well known celestial treasures. Moon and Pisces.  After nightfall on Monday, December 9,  look for the first quarter moon to hang just below the “Circlet,” the most easily recognizable part of the constellation...