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Scents of Science

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Natural Phenomena

Why is ice so slippery?

The answer to the question of why ice is slippery lies in a film of water that is generated by friction, one that is far thinner than expected and much more viscous than usual water through its resemblance to the... Continue Reading →

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It’s Official: The Strange, Aurora-Like STEVE Is a Completely Unique Celestial Phenomenon

STEVE (the Strong Thermal Emissions Velocity Enhancement) is a spectacular and colorful celestial phenomenon that was first spotted in 2016. Scientists have studied the particles associated with STEVE for decades, but only recently have they witnessed the phenomenon in the sky.... Continue Reading →

Hurricane Dorian Seen From Aboard the Space Station

NASA astronaut Christian Koch snapped this image of Hurricane Dorian as the International Space Station during a flyover on Monday, September 2, 2019. The station orbits more than 200 miles above the Earth. Image Credit: NASA

HDR: Earth’s Circular Shadow on the Moon

What could create such a large circular shadow on the Moon? The Earth. Last week's full Moon -- the Buck Moon -- was so full that it fell almost exactly in a line with the Sun and the Earth. When that happens the Earth casts its shadow onto... Continue Reading →

What is a derecho?

It’s a violent storm system that can produce widespread wind damage, usually associated with a rapidly moving band of showers and thunderstorms. The strong-to-violent winds typically move ahead of the main system, as the outflow from the storms becomes more concentrated. Wind... Continue Reading →

Red Sprite Lightning over Kununurra

What are those red filaments in the sky? It is a rarely seen form of lightning confirmed only about 30 years ago: red sprites. Recent research has shown that following a powerful positive cloud-to-ground lightning strike, red sprites may start as 100-meter balls of ionized air that... Continue Reading →

Aerosol Earth

Aerosols are all around us. From the smoke from a fire, to the dust in the wind to the salt in sea spray — these solid particles and liquid droplets are always swirling in our atmosphere, oftentimes unseen. The Goddard Earth Observing... Continue Reading →

Polar Vortices

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y1sw5qLpuSU Every year or two, the Northern Hemisphere gets treated to a bout of intensely cold temperatures thanks to the polar vortex. What you may not realize, though, is that it’s not the polar vortex that causes this cold weather –... Continue Reading →

SPOTLIGHT ON ANTARCTICA

This ethereal image was taken by Daniel Michalik, currently a research fellow at ESA. It was shortlisted as a finalist in the Royal Society photography competition in 2017, and went on to become the overall winner in the ‘Astronomy’ category – and it’s... Continue Reading →

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