Astronomy Chemistry Paleontology 

Exploding Stars and Life on Earth

By Brian C. Thomas (@DrBrianAstroBio) A massive star that exploded near Earth about 2.5 million years ago—a supernova—may have helped drive the megalodon to extinction and may even have affected human evolution. Research by an international team of scientists and I have produced the most detailed picture ever of just how such a scenario played out. We’ve combined observations from astrophysics and geochemistry with new computer simulations to explore all the possible effects that life on Earth may have experienced. We’ve found that ozone in the atmosphere could have been…

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Shelf Life Video: Time Travel to Stars Astronomy Videos 

Shelf Life Video: Time Travel to Stars

With the help of high school students, scientists at The American Museum of Natural History are creating an online catalog of stars’ distances and relative positions. This video is another in the Shelf Life series from the American Museum of Natural History.   Since the early 17th century, thanks to the use of telescopes, astronomers have been able to draw detailed star maps. However, because the Earth wobbles on its axis, today we see the stars in a slightly different position than in the past. So, students and scientists are…

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Two Perseid meteors from western NC (Emily Willoughby) Astronomy 

Discovered: Nearby Planets that Could Host Life

MIT researchers found three potentially habitable planets orbiting an ultracool dwarf star The study, released today in Nature, located the planets just 40 light years away from Earth. While scientists continue to explore the potential of life on Europa, one of Jupiter’s moons, the newly-discovered planets represent the most likely so far to host life outside our solar system. The study’s lead author, Julien de Wit, tells us why the discovery was a stroke of luck and how we’ll be able to assess their habitability within the next five to ten years.  …

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