Science

How to Stay Sane During a Solar Eclipse
How to Stay Sane During a Solar Eclipse

The terrifying beauty of totality is best confronted in a crowd.

Totality — that point of a solar eclipse when the sun is entirely covered by the moon — is incomprehensible. Your mind can’t grasp any of it: not the dark, nor the sunset clouds on the horizon, nor the stars; just that extraordinary wrongness, up there, that pulls the eyes toward it. I stared up at the hole in the sky and then at the figures around me, and became gripped by...

August 18, 2017

What Happens to Solar Power in an Eclipse? We’ll Find Out Monday
What Happens to Solar Power in an Eclipse? We’ll Find Out Monday

Unlike most eclipse-watchers in the United States, Eric Schmitt wouldn’t mind seeing a few clouds in the sky when the moon starts blotting out the sun on Monday.

“A cloudy morning might even be helpful for us,” he said.

Then, a few minutes later, when the eclipse passes, all those solar panels will come roaring back to life, and grid operators will have to quickly make room for the sharp rise in generation by scaling back gas and h...

August 18, 2017

Pursuits: Birders and Naturalists Ponder the Fate of the Greater Sage Grouse
Pursuits: Birders and Naturalists Ponder the Fate of the Greater Sage Grouse

Evan Obercian says it is the highlight of his Colorado birding tours every spring, even though he has to wake his clients up before 5 a.m. to be in the sagebrush flats before the sun comes up. And there they wait in Mr. Obercian’s van, listening to strange whoops and popping sounds that float magically from the predawn darkness.

“It’s profoundly moving for me, and my clients,” said Mr. Obercian, “watching this ancient nuptial dance that’...

August 18, 2017

The Demons of Darkness Will Eat Men, and Other Solar Eclipse Myths
The Demons of Darkness Will Eat Men, and Other Solar Eclipse Myths

We understand the cosmic calculus that leads to solar eclipses like the one that will enchant many Americans on Monday.

But even for the most jaded skygazers, a solar eclipse can provoke a visceral sense of wonder that the phenomenon provoked long before it was understood.

Here’s a glimpse at the way that populations around the world understood solar eclipses, and used them to reinforce cultural norms and values.

“This is som...

August 18, 2017

Trilobites: Taking Photos Won’t Take You Out of the Moment, Study Suggests
Trilobites: Taking Photos Won’t Take You Out of the Moment, Study Suggests

In the recent study, Dr. Barasch and colleagues asked people to walk through a museum exhibit while listening to an audio guide, and either take photos freely or leave their phones and cameras outside.

Afterward, when given a memory test, those who took pictures better recalled objects they had seen, but were less able to remember facts from the audio guide, than those who didn’t take pictures. Focusing on visuals pulls our attention awa...

August 18, 2017

Man who suffered eye damage in 1962 eclipse warns others not to make the same mistakes
Man who suffered eye damage in 1962 eclipse warns others not to make the same mistakes

A total solar eclipse is slated to happen on Monday, as the Moon will cross in front of the Sun, blotting out the light from our favorite star for a couple of minutes along a 70-mile-wide swath of the U.S. that runs from Oregon to South Carolina.

Countless millions of Americans will be watching — but most of them will not be in the small zone of totality. And that’s what petrifies Lou Tomososki of Oregon City, Oregon.

Tomososki, 70...

August 18, 2017

Total solar eclipse 2017: Get ready for the big event
Total solar eclipse 2017: Get ready for the big event

The clock is ticking for the eagerly anticipated ‘Great American’ eclipse that will make its way across the U.S. on Aug. 21. This is what to expect.

Totality will last for about two-and-a-half minutes as the moon casts its shadow on the Earth, cutting roughly 70-mile path from the Pacific coast to the Atlantic.

The forecast as of Friday shows Oregon and Idaho as most promising to have clear sky views, while South Carolina is the mo...

August 18, 2017

How Technology Is Giving New Life to Ancient World
How Technology Is Giving New Life to Ancient World

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Drawing on the expertise of many scientific disciplines, archaeologists today are harnessing a range of sophisticated devices and techniques to gain exciting new insights about the ancient world.

"Archaeology has always been very interdisciplinary," says Heather Richards-Rissetto, an archaeologist at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. "But I think now the...

August 18, 2017

Solar Panels Are Going Green — Literally. Here's Why That's a Big Deal
Solar Panels Are Going Green — Literally. Here's Why That's a Big Deal

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The same process might also make it possible to create panels in other colors, and even in white.

Such panels would afford a level of versatility that just isn't possible with conventional solar panels — for example, red panels could be used on roofs, white ones on walls, and the green ones in natural settings — and thus do more than conventional panels to...

August 18, 2017

'Jellyfish' Galaxies May Help Solve Black Hole Mystery
'Jellyfish' Galaxies May Help Solve Black Hole Mystery

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Glowing "jellyfish" galaxies have revealed a new way to power some of the most powerful objects in the universe. The same process that feeds the most voracious black holes at the galactic centers may also create dangling "tentacles" of newborn stars, a new study found.

This same wind that forms the jellyfish galaxies may also feed growing AGNs, she said.August 18, 2017

The Surprising Reason Toyota Just Patented a 'Cloaking Device'
The Surprising Reason Toyota Just Patented a 'Cloaking Device'

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From cloaking devices that conceal spaceships, to Harry Potter’s hand-me-down disappearing blanket, or even the One Ring and its power to conceal its wearer, invisibility is a staple in science fiction and fiction in general. Scientists have been hard at work, however, to bring such a technology into reality. Joining the research and development of cloaking tech...

August 18, 2017

Is Voyager Mankind's Greatest Accomplishment?
Is Voyager Mankind's Greatest Accomplishment?

For director Emer Reynolds, the Voyagerspace missions to Jupiter and Saturn tell the story of humanity’s most daring foray into the last great unknown.

Reynolds’ latest film project, The Farthest, tells the story of the Voyager spacecraft, the first man-made objects to leave the solar system, and the countless men and women who planned, designed and contributed to the missions success. The small, lonely probes, launched 40 years ago, ...

August 18, 2017

Scientists Find New Way to 'Print' Living Tissue
Scientists Find New Way to 'Print' Living Tissue

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A major challenge faced by researchers when 3D printing artificial tissues is getting them to maintain their shape. The cells are apt to move around in the printed structure and collapse in on themselves.

Because this new method allows tissues to be built one drop at a time, researchers can use it to more accurately mimic natural tissues.

“To date, t...

August 18, 2017

How to Watch the Eclipse Online if You’re Stuck Indoors (or It’s Cloudy)
How to Watch the Eclipse Online if You’re Stuck Indoors (or It’s Cloudy)

All isn’t lost. There are plenty of places you can stream the eclipse online if you’re in no position to see it with your own eyes — and you might even get a better view.

The first thing you’ll need to know is when you should pay attention to the events happening in the sky. This chart from NASA runs down when the eclipse begins and ends, along with when totality (those precious minutes where the moon completely covers the sun, and day t...

August 17, 2017

Scientists to Take Flight for Longer Views of the Eclipse
Scientists to Take Flight for Longer Views of the Eclipse

BROOMFIELD, Colo. — The Gulfstream V parked in the airport hangar here has tracked thunderstorms, blizzards and hurricanes around the world. But on Aug. 21 the jet will soar about 45,000 feet into the sky in pursuit of a natural phenomenon unlike any it’s faced before: a total solar eclipse.

She expects millions of people will watch the eclipse, many of whom might collect images that she said will be analyzed by scientists for years to c...

August 17, 2017

Take a Number: Why Is the Eclipse Longer in Some Places Than in Others?
Take a Number: Why Is the Eclipse Longer in Some Places Than in Others?

The village of Makanda, Ill., is about to experience nearly three minutes of fame.

That’s roughly the amount of time the moon will completely block the sun on Aug. 21 in this small community in southern Illinois — the longest duration of totality anywhere in the United States during the solar eclipse, according to NASA.

The total solar eclipse is expected to start around 10:16 a.m. in Oregon and move diagonally across the country u...

August 17, 2017

Your Playlist for the Solar Eclipse
Your Playlist for the Solar Eclipse

The ancients often believed a celestial event like an eclipse to be a bad omen, that the sun or the moon vanishing from the sky was a harbinger of disaster, a sign of devastation or destruction to come.

We now know that’s not true: There’s no evidence that eclipses like the one that will cross the United States on Aug. 21 affect our behavior, our health or even the environment. But they still have the power to move us in ways that are un...

August 17, 2017

More Than 500,000 Infected With Cholera in Yemen
More Than 500,000 Infected With Cholera in Yemen

Cholera is endemic in Yemen, which is on the tip of the Arabian Peninsula and across the Gulf of Aden from Somalia. But the disease, caused by a bacterium in contaminated water, has spread rapidly since April.

Civil war and bombing by neighboring Saudi Arabia have crippled much of the country’s water-distribution system, destroyed hospitals and forced vast numbers of people to flee their homes.

The W.H.O. and partner organizations ...

August 17, 2017

Earth in Suspension
Earth in Suspension

August 17, 2017

How to Plan a Last-Minute Eclipse Trip
How to Plan a Last-Minute Eclipse Trip

Hopper’s scan of nonstop flights to total eclipse viewing spot also showed sky-high prices. According to its data, a round-trip ticket for a flight from John F. Kennedy International Airport, in New York City, to Charleston a few days before the eclipse can cost as much as $970.

Alternative cities include Denver, about a four-hour drive from Casper, Wyo.; Charlotte, N.C., about a three-hour drive from Charleston; Chicago, about a five-ho...

August 17, 2017