A cloudy day here on Earth might be a sign for gloom, but elsewhere in the universe, to behold one is a scientific achievement.
Nearly thirty years after an international treaty banned the use of chlorofluorocarbons, the Antarctic ozone hole is finally starting to heal. By mid to late century, it should be fully recovered.
Even though New Horizons swept past Pluto last year, more than half the data that it gleaned from the planet during its flyby is still on the spacecraft, which means that there’s still much that we’ll be learning about the dwarf planet. Case in point: methane snow-covered peaks.
The internet is filled with butt-clenching stories of horrifying plane turbulence lately. Is dangerously rough air becoming more common nowadays, or what? Well, yes and no.
“Remember, remember the fifth of November....” It’s that time of year again, when eager Brits celebrate Guy Fawkes Night with extravagant fireworks displays and bonfires to burn the traitorous Fawkes in effigy. But a new study says that all that extra smoke and debris in the air wreak havoc with visibility.
Don’t worry, there is nothing unnatural about that strange arcs of light you’ll sometimes see in the sky. Ice halos are a very natural atmospheric phenomenon, created when ice crystals suspended in the sky reflect and refract sunlight. But they truly are an impressive sight.
It may not leave a trail of destruction and pew-pews in its wake but NASA's newest atmospheric sensor, the laser-beaming CATS module, could afford researchers a fuller understanding of how our reliance on nonrenewable energy fuels climate change.
Piling on to the good news from Mars this week, NASA’s MAVEN spacecraft sent home its first ultraviolet images from Mars. While they may not be flashy, these images will help determine the composition and variability of the upper atmosphere, and investigate the mystery of when the water escaped.
There are three primary sources of smells that commonly occur after rain. The first, the "clean" smell, in particular after a heavy thunderstorm, is caused by ozone. Ozone (scientifically known as trioxygen due to the fact that it is comprised of three oxygen atoms) is notably pungent and has a very sharp smell that…
This is the microbes' world—we just live in it. Throughout the history of Earth, microbes have radically reshaped life on the planet, from creating the very air we breath to wiping out almost all life on Earth. Don't underestimate the power of tiny, tiny microbes populating the Earth trillions of times over.
Dramatic sunsets are undeniably gorgeous, but they portend something ominous: millions of fine particles polluting the air. Researchers are now studying sunsets painted over the past 500 years to find clues to how our air got dirtier after the Industrial Revolution.
Your city's air quality got you down? Consider picnicking inside this glass-topped park proposed by Orproject. The transparent, ultra-lightweight canopy—inspired by the geometry of butterfly wings—would act as a kind of fresh air reserve: part filter, part outdoor hospital, where you and your friends can breathe in…
The Earth's atmosphere is actually a churning sea of fluid, though it's easy to forget when you're just hanging out, breathing it all in. This satellite shot of a tiny island in the Pacific shows the spiral trails it leaves as an ocean of air swirls by.
Take a deep breath. You're lucky to be able to. Without a handy blanket of atmosphere gases to swaddle us all, we'd be no more than a twinkle in evolution's eye. But that wonderful blanket of gas is slowly escaping, molecule by molecule, and there's not much we can do about it.
Imagine you're outside, walking happily on a beautiful sunny day. Suddenly, the light gets intense. You look up, and see a bright flash filling everything. Seconds later, a powerful wind starts pushing the clouds out of view at hypersonic speed. Buildings, trees, and people fly away, disintegrating into a billion…
Every year around this time, mysterious electric blue clouds appear over the North and South pole. They are called noctilucent clouds and they can only be seen in deep twilight, when the Sun is below the horizon. According to NASA, "their origin is still largely a mystery":
I thought I was tired of these space videos, but this one feels quite different from the many ones I've seen before. It may be the way it's framed and cropped, or the post-processing, or the whimsical Moby soundtrack, or everything combines, but it left me in awe once again.
Quit snickering! Something on Uranus has erupted and now scientists are all in a tizzy about what and why it might be.
Everyone mark your calendar as NASA's Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite may crash back to earth at the end of this week. The exact date and time is still TBD, but early estimates suggest Friday will be the big day.