Sea Turtles' Navigational ‘Magic’
Sailors used to struggle with it but migratory sea turtles have now proved capable of sensing longitude, using almost imperceptible gradients in Earth's magnetic field.
For centuries, determining longitude was an extremely difficult task for sailors, so difficult that it’s been thought improbable — if not impossible — for animals to do it. But migratory sea turtles have now proved capable of sensing longitude, using almost imperceptible gradients in Earth’s magnetic field. That turtles and other migratory animals could detect these small changes was considered unrealistic, but experiments on animals released in out-of-the-way locations repeatedly described them finding home with unerring accuracy and efficiency, explicable only as a product of both longitudinal and latitudinal awareness. The mechanism found in turtles might also exist in birds.
Here's the science of black holes, from supermassive monsters to ones the size of ping-pong balls.
- There's more than one way to make a black hole, says NASA's Michelle Thaller. They're not always formed from dead stars. For example, there are teeny tiny black holes all around us, the result of high-energy cosmic rays slamming into our atmosphere with enough force to cram matter together so densely that no light can escape.
- CERN is trying to create artificial black holes right now, but don't worry, it's not dangerous. Scientists there are attempting to smash two particles together with such intensity that it creates a black hole that would live for just a millionth of a second.
- Thaller uses a brilliant analogy involving a rubber sheet, a marble, and an elephant to explain why different black holes have varying densities. Watch and learn!
- Bonus fact: If the Earth became a black hole, it would be crushed to the size of a ping-pong ball.
Protected animals are feared to be headed for the black market.
In a breakthrough for nuclear fusion research, scientists at China's Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) reactor have produced temperatures necessary for nuclear fusion on Earth.
- The EAST reactor was able to heat hydrogen to temperatures exceeding 100 million degrees Celsius.
- Nuclear fusion could someday provide the planet with a virtually limitless supply of clean energy.
- Still, scientists have many other obstacles to pass before fusion technology becomes a viable energy source.
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