Author Archives: Shannon Hall

Glittering Diamond Dust in Space Might Solve a 20-Year-Old Mystery

The Milky Way is strewn with sparkling, spinning microscopic diamonds, which might explain an unusual microwave glow

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First Woman Air and Space Museum Director Talks about Inspiring the Next Generation

Ellen Stofan, head of the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, told us about the power of museums to attract young scientists and combat attacks on science

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The Milky Way’s Speediest Stars Could Solve a 50-Year-Old Mystery

Stars traveling more than 1,200 kilometers per second hint at a new mechanism behind cosmos-spanning stellar explosions

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A Nation Divided: Arid/Humid Climate Boundary in U.S. Creeps Eastward

The stark climatic border in the U.S. separating the sultry east from the dry west is rapidly shifting—a change that could have a significant future impact

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Old New England Underground May Be Spry after All

The U.S. Northeast may be more geologically active than was previously thought, according to a seismic sensor network.

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Are Water Worlds Habitable?

It looks like the galaxy is overflowing with worlds soaked in water, but scientists are divided on whether life there would succeed or fail

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New England Is Sitting on a Bed of Hot Rocks

The U.S. Northeast may be more geologically active than thought

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The Sun Is Spitting Out Strange Patterns of Gamma Rays–and No One Knows Why

The discovery, although mysterious, might provide a new window into the depths of our most familiar star

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Like Ancient Snowball Earth, Frozen Planets May Still Be Habitable

A new model suggests ice-locked worlds might contain oases of temperate land that could support life

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The Day the Earth Stood Still

Continents and volcanoes nearly came to a halt billions of years ago, creating a huge planetary pressure cooker

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Looming Landslide Stokes Fears, May Help Disaster Predictions

Rattlesnake Ridge is collapsing in Washington State. As residents hurry to safety, scientists try to figure out which way rocks will fall

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The Labs That Forge Distant Planets Here on Earth

High-pressure experiments explore what it might take to make exoplanets habitable

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Drones Peer inside a Volcano

The unmanned aircraft offer an intimate look at a crater’s fiery inner workings

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Scientists Closing in on the Dawn of Plate Tectonics

The massive slabs of Earth’s crust might have started their journey more than 3.5 billion years ago

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Volcanoes May Have Triggered the Last Unexplained Mass Extinction

Volcanic eruptions have now been tied to all five major mass extinctions

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Bizarro Life-Forms Inhabiting Deep-Sea Vents May Be at Risk

New findings add a layer of complexity to how highly specialized animals colonized these unique environments

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Clues Emerge in Mystery of Flickering Quasars

Some of the universe’s most luminous objects have disappeared much faster than expected

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Earth’s Tectonic Activity May Be Crucial for Life–and Rare in Our Galaxy

A new study finds plate tectonics may be hard to sustain on exoplanets

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What to Believe in Antarctica’s Great Ice Debate

Although not all the studies agree, most climate scientists argue that, yes, Antarctica is losing mass in a warming world 

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Ravenous Supermassive Black Holes May Sterilize Nearby Planets

A new study sheds light on how damaging black holes can be to the habitability of planets throughout the Milky Way and the universe

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Found: Thousands of Man-Made Minerals–Another Argument for the Anthropocene

Future geologists will find thousands of human-made minerals in the ruins of our civilization

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Volcanic Eruption May Have Plunged the Maya into a "Dark Age"

A new study of ancient ash links an El Chichón eruption to a time of inexplicable cultural upheaval in Maya history

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Celestial Cartography Is in the Midst of a Dramatic Upgrade

A new map of the Milky Way will improve understanding of stellar physics—and ultimately of our galaxy’s entire history

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Numbers Cruncher: Why Trump’s Win Blindsided the Big Polls

Changing technology and fickle humans are pushing art into the science of aggregating surveys

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Numbers Cruncher: Why Trump’s Win Blindsided the Big Polls

Changing technology and fickle humans are pushing art into the science of aggregating surveys

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Upcoming Galaxy Map Could Radically Transform How We See the Milky Way

The Gaia spacecraft’s new chart may drastically improve our understanding of the physics of stars, and ultimately of our galaxy’s entire history

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Hellish Venus Might Have Been Habitable for Billions of Years

A team of astronomers think the torrid and toxic world was once a cozy home for potential life

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A Volcano Might Be Brewing under Rome’s Suburbs

Testing the limits of predictions, some geologists say long-silent Colli Albani might be starting a new eruption phase

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LIGO Discoveries Will Help Scientists Run Stellar Autopsies on Colliding Black Holes

Now that astronomers have detected gravitational waves, they are seeking the origins behind the black hole duos that give rise to them

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Underwater "Lost City" Built by Microbes?

Geologists find that ancient underwater structures off Greece were likely created by methane jets and bacteria

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