November 1, 2018
The ocean floor stores a vast amount of information about Earth and its history. Volcanic rocks that make up most of the seafloor tell scientists about the composition of Earth’s interior, and the sediments lying on top of those rocks document what conditions were like when they were laid down millions of years ago. Scientists access this record of Earth’s past by drilling and extracting cores – long cylindrical samples …
October 1, 2018
Northern fur seals spend more than half their lives at sea. But every summer, they congregate on the rocky, charcoal-colored beaches of Alaska’s Pribilof Islands to mate and give birth to tiny, black-furred pups. Researchers take advantage of the seals’ short time on land to learn more about them by placing GPS trackers on the seals’ bodies. But it’s not easy walking into a fur seal breeding colony full of aggressive, 500-pound males – not to mention getting close enough to attach a satellite tag.
September 17, 2018
Check out this clip that didn’t make it into our recent episode, Inside the Boiling Center of the Solar System, with Dan Seaton, about what the sun actually sounds like! Transcript Shane Hanlon: Hi, Nanci. Nanci Bompey: Hey, Shane. Shane Hanlon: So, we’re back for a bonus clip, and it’s all about the Sun. And we obviously look at the Sun every day, or hopefully, if it’s not …
September 4, 2018
At the heart of our solar system is an enormous, churning ball of hot plasma. The Sun blows a stream of charged particles over our planet, creating the solar wind. Sometimes the Sun flares bursts of x-rays, or burps bursts of charged particles, which can sweep over Earth and potentially create havoc for power grids, satellites, and GPS networks. There is weather in space, and it has more consequences for civilization than you might think.
August 15, 2018
Check out this clip that didn’t make it into our recent episode, The Dark Sound of the Moon, with Trae Winter about balloons, astronauts. and aliens! Transcript Shane Hanlon: Nanci? Nanci Bompey: Hello? Shane Hanlon: I’m back. Nanci Bompey: Yay! We missed you. Shane Hanlon: Did you? Nanci Bompey: Not. No, I’m kidding. Not. Shane Hanlon: It’s always nice to get away for a …
August 1, 2018
On August 21, 2017, a total solar eclipse swept across the continental United States from Oregon to South Carolina. Millions of people stood looking up at the sky, their mouths agape, as the Sun’s disk was completely covered by the Moon. For many people, the experience of day turning into night and back into day, and the sight of the Sun’s corona streaming out behind the dark circle of the Moon, is a picture they’ll remember for the rest of their lives.
July 2, 2018
Building instruments to search for the building blocks of life in the rocks of Mars is no small feat. These gadgets must endure spaceflight, landing on the Martian surface, intense radiation, wild swings in temperature, uneven surfaces and then beam data collected millions of kilometers away back to expectant researchers on Earth.
June 14, 2018
Check out this clip that didn’t make it into our recent episode, The Secret Lives of Tide Gauge Operators, with Stefan Talke about some correspondence he found on how operators treated their equipment. Transcript Shane Hanlon: Hey, Nanci. Nanci Bompey: Hi, Shane. Shane Hanlon: Alright, I wanted to ask you. What’s your fix-all material of choice? Like duct tape, but you have- Nanci Bompey: …
June 1, 2018
In the 1800s and early 1900s, dozens of men stationed at harbors around the United States would record water levels and send them to a central office in Washington, D.C. where they were used by engineers building the country’s infrastructure.
May 9, 2018
Check out this clip that didn’t make it into our recent episode, Journey to the Center of the Ice, with glaciologist Kiya Riverman, about her close encounters with animals of the far north.