Earth has a newly discovered companion. It’s not another moon, though. Asteroid 2016 HO3 is a quasisatellite (KWAH-zee-SAT-uh-lyte). This space rock appears to orbit Earth. But that’s an illusion. It’s just looping around the sun and playing leapfrog with our planet.
This temporary tagalong was discovered on April 27 in images from the Pan-STARRS observatory in Hawaii. The asteroid’s...Readability Score: 6.4
Sharks appear to have a sixth sense that helps them locate prey in murky ocean waters. These fish rely on special electricity-sensing pores on their heads and snouts. The pores were first described in 1678. Even now, however, scientists aren’t quite sure how they work. But new data have just brought them a step closer.
These pores are known as ampullae (AM-puh-lay) of Lorenzini. They...Readability Score: 6.3
Anna Savage hikes through a Florida swamp looking for frogs. She spots a shiny black critter hopping in the swamp grass. It’s a tiny cricket frog, no bigger than a bug. She’s hunting a killer infection — and the few frogs able to survive it.
Learning what makes these frogs special could hold a key to managing the fungal scourge.
Savage is a frog biologist at the University of...Readability Score: 7.1
Without cows, our diets would look very different. We’d go without hamburgers, grilled cheese sandwiches and barbecue beef. We wouldn’t melt butter on pancakes or put milk in our cereal.
There would be no ice cream.
Until the 1850s, most American families had their own cows. Now, most people live some distance from their nation’s 9.3 million dairy cows and 90 million beef cattle....Readability Score: 6.9
TERCEIRA ISLAND in Portugal’s Azores — The Usual Suspects are at it again. From the small Zodiac, I can see them coming towards us. Their gray dorsal fins slice through the water just off the coast of Terceira, an island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.
Fleur Visser, a Dutch biologist, can see them, too. She angles the small, inflatable speedboat towards the fins. This group of...Readability Score: 7.0
There is nothing quite like seeing a whale. From the comfort of a boat at sea, eager whale watchers might hope for a glimpse of a humpback hurling its 45-ton body out of the water. Perched on a cliff with a spotting scope, overlooking the Pacific Ocean, others may keep an eye out for gray whales as they migrate from feeding areas to breeding areas.
Such views capture only the tiniest...Readability Score: 6.8
Oil and water don’t mix.
You have probably heard this old saying. It isn’t just folk wisdom, however. It’s chemistry. Another common expression — like water off of a duck’s back — illustrates the same basic principle. The oil on a duck’s feathers repels water and prevents the bird from getting soaked in the rain. Naturally oily feathers also help keep a bird dry as it swims.
...Readability Score: 7.1
When Dan Goldman was 12, lizards were pretty much the center of his universe. He was fascinated by how they looked, how they behaved — and especially how they moved.
Now a physicist at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, Goldman still loves lizards, which explains his latest work. He is studying the locomotion, or movement, of the sandfish. Despite its name, this animal is a...Readability Score: 6.7
Over the past year, a viral infection has infected 15 people — killing nine. All lived in the Middle East or Britain. The novel germ doe not yet have a formal name. It causes pneumonia, a type of severe lung infection. On Feb. 27, scientists from around the world met in Washington, D.C., to share what they know about the mystery illness and its threat.
There is no evidence the...Readability Score: 7.7