Lab Notes

Catching the solar eclipse

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More than a century ago, Albert Einstein proposed a new theory of gravity, suggesting that concentrations of matter warp the underlying fabric of space,...

Voluntary depopulation

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During the first two weeks of December, delegates from around the world are meeting in Madrid for the latest round of international...

Juno reaches Jupiter

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In Roman mythology, Jupiter is king of the gods and his wife Juno is the queen. Jupiter was known for his infidelity, so Juno...

Crowding the night sky

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I n mid-March, SpaceX launched 60 satellites into orbit 340 miles above the surface of the Earth, part of...

Chasing alien megastructures

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In 1960, physicist Freeman Dyson suggested that the energy demands of all technological civilizations would eventually exceed the natural resources of their home planet....

Tracking killer asteroids

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In December 2004, astronomers in Arizona discovered an asteroid the size of a cruise ship that appeared to be on a collision course with...

Boosting solar physics

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Shortly after the financial crash of 2008, Congress passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to stimulate the economy with $787 billion in...

Forecasting nature

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In 1973, science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke suggested that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. Accurate predictions of the...

Akatsuki returns from the dead

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It is Dec. 7, 2015. We’re in Sagamihara, Japan, a little southwest of Tokyo. On a clear day like today, you can just make...

Blocking out the sun

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As seen from Earth, a solar eclipse takes place when the moon passes between the sun and Earth, partially or totally obscuring the sun....

Discovering Ultima Thule

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Four billion miles from the Earth on New Year’s Eve, a spacecraft traveling at 32,000 miles per hour zoomed past a tiny object roughly...

Cheating extinction

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When a huge space-rock fell from the sky 66 million years ago, it quickly brought an end to the age of the...