Suzan Eaton

Help Astronomers Name Pluto’s Moons

  Update The official balloting is over. The unofficial results — the winners are Vulcan and Cerberus. For all the results check out plutorocks.com. Thanks for voting! ———– P4 and P5? Surely you can come up with better names for Pluto’...

Why Hot Chocolate Looks Better in an Orange Cup

What’s the trick to making a truly satisfying hot chocolate?  It may be less about the ingredients you use and more about which mug you use to drink it.  Researchers at the Polytechnic University of Valencia and the University ...

After Sandy: Unusual Bird Sightings

  I was surprised to recently spot gnatcatchers in my neighborhood in Arlington, Virginia.  These birds are not a typical sight in urban areas, but this is just one example of the unusual guests East Coast residents have been seeing ...

Old Volcanic Ash Causes New Problems for Alaskans

  Residents on Alaska’s Kodiak Island were haunted last week — not by Halloween ghosts, but by the remnants of a long-ago volcanic eruption.   Ash dating back to the 1912 eruption of Novarupta was stirred up by strong winds and dry ...

Cloud Enthusiasts Lobby for Recognition of New Cloud Type

Oh, to be counted among the nimbus and the stratus! That’s what the fans of the undulatus aspertus want.  The undulatus cloud, which resembles agitated waves, was first discovered in 1951 but has not yet been recognized as an official ...

Hurricane Leaves Thousands of Dead Rats on Mississippi Beaches

  Houses and buildings weren’t the only things hit hard by last month’s hurricane.  One of the Gulf Coast’s most notorious invasive species got slammed by Isaac. Almost 20,000 nutria, or copyu, were drowned and washed up on ...

Flying Into A Hurricane — A Bird’s Perspective

  Why would a bird deliberately fly into a hurricane? It seems that some migratory birds fly in so they can get a huge push coming out the other side. Researchers at the Center for Conservation Biology in Williamsburg, Virginia ...

Hottest Rain on Record?

Usually it doesn’t rain when the temperature gets over 100°. But last week in Needles, California a thunderstorm rolled in on a hot afternoon (115°). Most of the rain didn’t get to the ground, but it briefly made the area ...

How To Build a Better Sand Castle

  How does one make a sand castle that is strong enough for those extra crenellations? By using the correct mix of sand and water. Researchers at the Amsterdam University found that a mixture of sand and one percent water ...

What Does Space Smell Like?

  What is the smell clinging to an astronaut after a spacewalk? Some have described it as an acrid aroma — others say it reminds them of seared steak.  After a 2003 mission, astronaut Don Pettit attempted to be a little more ...