World News

This astronomy student found 17 new exoplanets — and one is potentially habitable

Michelle Kunimoto has a knack for finding exoplanets, or planets that orbit stars outside of our solar system. The University of British Columbia astronomy student found four while she worked on her undergraduate degree. Now a doctoral candidate, she has discovered an additional 17 planets by poring over data from NASA’s Kepler mission, which ended…

Did Iran give Trump a foreign policy victory, after all?

All hell didn’t break loose, after all. Before the new coronavirus epidemic gripped the globe — about a million supercharged news cycles ago — we seemed to be on the brink of a major US-Iran war. But two months later, the feared backlash of the US killing of top Iranian military leader Qasem Soleimani has…

Biggest explosion in the universe spotted by astronomers

A record-breaking explosion created by a black hole 390 million light-years away has been discovered by astronomers. “In some ways, this blast is similar to how the eruption of Mt. St. Helens in 1980 ripped off the top of the mountain,” said lead author Simona Giacintucci, director of research at the Naval Research Laboratory in…

Turns out there are actually two species of red panda, not just one

Scientists have discovered for the first time that there are two distinct species of red panda, not just one — and the find could have important ramifications for conservation efforts. The small mammals, which are already endangered, are native to China, Nepal, India, Bhutan and Myanmar. Although red pandas’ physical differences have led many to…

How to see Venus and a crescent moon side-by-side this Thursday

A celestial phenomenon is set to occur between Venus and the moon Thursday night, according to NASA’s calendar. If you live in the Northern Hemisphere and you’ve got a clear sky Thursday, look to the southwest and you’ll see a very bright Venus alongside a crescent moon, together two of the brightest objects in the…

Potentially habitable exoplanet could broaden the search for life beyond Earth

The more scientists learn about exoplanet K2-18b, the more intriguing it becomes. And it could broaden the types of exoplanets astronomers target in their search for life beyond Earth. Last year, astronomers peered into the atmosphere of the exoplanet — a planet outside our solar system — and discovered both water vapor and temperatures that…

Earth has a new mini-moon — but it’s only temporary

It’s not the moon, but you can call it mini-moon. Earth has captured a tiny object and pulled it into orbit. The asteroid, known as 2020 CD3, is only the second asteroid known to orbit Earth. And while it won’t last, this asteroid acts as a temporary mini-moon whirling around our planet. The discovery was…

Chinese space mission reveals what it’s like on the farside of the moon

China’s Chang’e-4 mission, the first to land on the far side of the moon, is unveiling lunar secrets one layer at a time, according to a new study. Chang’e-4 landed in the Von Karman crater on January 3, 2019, after which it deployed a lunar rover named Yutu-2. The rover’s purpose was to explore the…

Could life have existed on a warm, wet Mars? Ancient Earth crater may explain how

While it’s not possible to go back in time and see if Mars truly was habitable billions of years ago, scientists are investigating the next best possibility: ancient meteorite impact sites on Earth. And there just happens to be a very Mars-like one in southern Germany. Today, Mars is a frozen desert with a thin…

What happens when the new coronavirus hits democratic countries

Covid-19, meet democracy. It’s one thing to battle an epidemic in an authoritarian state like China, which can isolate an entire epicenter city. It’s another in a free nation like Italy, where government curfews and curtailed rights are relics of a tortured history. The world is now finding out what happens when a contagion hits…

Scientists discovered the first animal that doesn’t need oxygen to live. It’s changing the definition of what an animal can be

You’d think all animals would need oxygen to live, right? Wrong. Researchers just discovered a unique organism that doesn’t need to breathe. Instead, the tiny parasite lives in salmon tissue and evolved so that it doesn’t need oxygen to produce energy. It’s a brilliant simplification that proves, sometimes, less is more, said Stephen Atkinson, senior…

Ash Wednesday’s changing tradition

Are you ready to give up caffeine for 40 days? What about your social media accounts? While giving up those things may seem hard for you, Christians long ago used to give up a whole lot more. Ash Wednesday is today. It marks the first day of Lent in Western churches. The ashes symbolize penance…

Iranian women’s rights activist: ‘Don’t wait for anyone to hand you your rights’

She may just have won the Geneva Summit 2020 International Women’s Prize but Iranian activist Shaparak Shajarizadeh says she can’t feel happiness anymore — not while her friends and other women’s rights activists remain imprisoned in Iran. “I’m not a happy person and I feel guilty all the time,” she told CNN in a candid…

Putin must be loving Washington’s meltdown over Russian election interference

Forgive Vladimir Putin a wry smile. Just one report that Russia is meddling again in US elections has pitched Washington into a meltdown that will only further the Kremlin’s goal of tarnishing US democracy. Bombshell reports last week revealed that US intelligence agencies identified a new Russian election interference effort — and suggested the Kremlin…

60 years later, Fidel Castro could loom over another US election

Fidel Castro is back. From beyond the grave, the socialist icon who faced down Uncle Sam for 50 years is casting his spell over yet another US election campaign. Front-running Democrat Bernie Sanders, author of his own, milder leftist revolution, refused to fully repudiate past praise of the Cuban dictator in a “60 Minutes” interview…

Ancient humans lived through a massive volcanic eruption 74,000 years ago

About 74,000 years ago, Sumatra’s Mount Toba experienced a super-eruption — an event scientists suspect was large enough to wipe out a majority of early humans living at the time, slowing down the spread of humanity. But researchers have discovered evidence that Homo sapiens were migrating before, during and after the event, according to a…

Why people eat pancakes on Shrove Tuesday

Today is Shrove Tuesday. Also known as Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras (in French) and by many other nicknames. It’s the big hurrah before Christians start Lent, a season of prayer, penance and fasting in preparation for the Easter season. But even on a day with king cake, beads, parades and giant floats, there’s still a…

Why solar storms from space may blind and strand whales

Space weather has more implications than causing glitches in Earth’s satellite-based communications — it can also strand gray whales, according to a new study. Typically, space weather is created when solar storms occur on the sun and stream out toward Earth. The high-energy particles can disrupt our communications and Earth’s magnetic field. But they may…