Science

Joe's Big Idea
2:01 am
Mon June 24, 2013

For Sharpest Views, Scope The Sky With Quick-Change Mirrors

Before And After: These near-infrared images of Uranus show the planet as seen without adaptive optics (left) and with the technology turned on (right).
Courtesy of Heidi B. Hammel and Imke de Pater

Originally published on Mon June 24, 2013 10:55 am

It used to be that if astronomers wanted to get rid of the blurring effects of the atmosphere, they had to put their telescopes in space. But a technology called adaptive optics has changed all that.

Adaptive optics systems use computers to analyze the light coming from a star, and then compensate for changes wrought by the atmosphere, using mirrors that can change their shapes up to 1,000 times per second. The result: To anyone on Earth peering through the telescope, the star looks like the single point of light it really is.

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NPR Story
6:17 am
Sat June 22, 2013

Tawny Crazy Ants Invade Southern States

Originally published on Sat June 22, 2013 9:59 am

Tawny crazy ants are invading ecosystems and homes in states including Texas and Florida, wiping out other ant species and overwhelming homeowners. Weekend Edition Saturday host Scott Simon talks to Texas A&M research scientist Robert Puckett, who says the ants are "ecological steamrollers" that reproduce so fast they are nearly impossible to get rid of.

The Two-Way
12:49 pm
Fri June 21, 2013

Supermoon To Dominate Weekend Sky

A "supermoon" rises in Washington, D.C., on March 19, 2011.
Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

The largest full moon of the year will grace the night sky Sunday as our nearest neighbor in space makes its closest approach.

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Krulwich Wonders...
10:44 am
Fri June 21, 2013

Every Night You Lose More Than A Pound While You're Asleep (For The Oddest Reason)

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon June 24, 2013 9:21 am

Editor's Note: Robert has added an update to this post. Scroll down to read it.

Here's a simple question: Why do you weigh more when you go to sleep than when you wake up? Because you do. In the video below, you'll see the evidence. You can check this yourself. Somehow, while doing absolutely nothing all night but sleep, you will wake up lighter.

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Digital Life
10:17 am
Fri June 21, 2013

Beaming Internet to the Boondocks, Via Balloon

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY, I'm Ira Flatow. If you have a smartphone, you might take the Internet for granted, right? It's always there. But around the world, some four and a half billion people still are not connected. Google, being in the Internet business, has a plan to expand its reach, bring Internet to all these people, but it's not by spooling out fiber-optic cable or building cell towers. It's using a technology that, well, sort of sounds like it belongs in another century: free-floating balloons. They call it Project Loon.

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