What the pandemic can teach us about ways to reduce air pollution

The COVID-19 pandemic wasn’t just a shock to the human immune system. It was also a shock to the Earth system, dramatically changing the air quality in cities around the globe. As countries around the globe struggled to contain the disease, they imposed temporary shutdowns. Scientists are now sifting through data collected by satellite and […]

10 ways COVID-19 changed the world

The year 2020 was defined by the coronavirus pandemic, arguably the worst pandemic the world has seen in 100 years. COVID-19 has caused more than 75 million cases and 1.6 million deaths worldwide as of mid-December. The illness has affected nearly every aspect of life, from work and school to everyday activities like getting groceries, […]

6 ways the hunt for dark matter changed in 2020

Perhaps the most confounding problem in astrophysics is dark matter. Vera Rubin discovered it in the 1970s, showing that galaxies spin much faster than the visible matter in them can explain. Now researchers believe dark matter makes up 85% of the mass of the universe, and is largely responsible for giving galaxies their shape. But […]

What are the most common ways people get injured?

Every year in the United States, 40 million people end up injured in the emergency department, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). From bee stings to car accidents, health care workers in emergency departments see it all. So, what are the most common ways people get injured? “Falls by far,” said […]

13 ways the Earth showed its wrath in 2020

In an already-dramatic year, our planet did not hold back from stirring the pot. 2020 brought a record Atlantic hurricane season, numerous life-threatening wildfires and several earthquakes severe enough to remind humanity of the strength of plate tectonics. Some of these disasters were part of the geological cycle; others were helped by human-caused climate change. […]

Milky Way’s central black hole may have zapped nearby red giant stars

Innumerable stars reside within 1.6 light-years of the Milky Way’s central black hole. But this same crowded neighborhood has fewer red giants — luminous stars that are large and cool — than expected. Now astrophysicists have a new theory why: The supermassive black hole, Sagittarius A*, launched a powerful jet of gas that ripped off […]

Mysterious gas found near Milky Way’s center

The center of the Milky Way galaxy is full of high-energy events that lead to the expulsion of gas away from the center in the form of galactic wind. These winds contain hot, warm, and cool gases. Recently, an international team of scientists observed mysterious gas clouds flying ‘like bullets’ away from the galaxy’s center, […]

Spaceflight affects the human body in two major, peculiar ways

Spaceflight impacts the body in a number of ways. (NASA /) There might be a few reasons we want to escape our planet’s troubles and hitch a ride to Mars right now. But space is hard: radiation, weightlessness, isolation and a screwed-up sleep schedule can take a toll on the body. Before us Earthlings embark […]

The best and safest ways to donate food and time this holiday season

Volunteering and donating money are two things your community food pantry needs more than ever. (Joel Muniz/Unsplash/) This Thanksgiving is definitely one of the weirdest in recent years. Not just because of a tumultuous election or shockingly warm weather, but because many people across the US will not be able to share turkey and stuffing […]