Pufferfish love circles
[Full Story: Pufferfish Love Explains Mysterious Underwater Circles]
Pakistan's earthquake island
A series of satellite images snapped a few days after the earthquake-triggered island emerged offshore of the town of Gwadar reveals the strange structure is round and relatively flat, with cracks and fissures like a child's dried-up mud pie.
[Full Story: New Photos of Pakistan's Earthquake Island Released]
The alkaline water in Lake Natron has a pH as high as 10.5 and is so caustic it can burn the skin and eyes of animals that aren't adapted to it. The water's alkalinity comes from the sodium carbonate and other minerals that flow into the lake from the surrounding hills. And deposits of sodium carbonate — which was once used in Egyptian mummification — also acts as a fantastic type of preservative for those animals unlucky enough to die in the waters of Lake Natron.
[Full Story: Lake That Turns Animals to Stone? Not Quite]
Supervolcanoes on Mars?
By examining an extremely old part of Mars called the Arabia Terra region, scientists have found what could be the remnants of a supervolcano — the unofficial way to describe a huge, explosive volcano that produces more than about 240 cubic miles (1,000 cubic kilometers) of volcanic material when it erupts.
[Full Story: Explosive Supervolcanoes May Have Rocked Ancient Mars]
"One thing that I have learned during my decade documenting sharks is that they resonate in a different way with each person," photojournalist Thomas P. Peschak writes.
[Full Story: Humbling View of Sharks Revealed in Stunning Photos]
Milky Way Stuns in Southern Sky
Folks in the Southern Hemisphere get a brighter, richer view of the Milky Way due to their location on the globe. If you want to see such a sight from American soil, head to the National Park of American Samoa, where Ofu Island is located. This park is the only U.S. national park found in the Southern Hemisphere.
The Milky Way is the galaxy that contains our solar system. The name "milky" comes from its appearance as a dim but glowing band across the night sky. Individual stars make up the band, but they are indistinguishable to the naked eye.
Ofu is one of three islands of American territory in American Samoa. Ofu and its twin Olosega are parts of a volcanic doublet of the Samoan Islands formed from shield volcanoes. The two islands have a combined length of 3.7 miles (6 kilometers).
There are other reasons to look up when visiting Ofu Island. The forests here are home to a unique species of megabat — yes, a megabat — known as the Samoa Flying-fox. It looks just like it sounds.
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Yacht passes Northwest Passage
[Full Story: Sailing Yacht Crosses Northwest Passage]
Cloudy alien world
Although the roughly Jupiter-size Kepler-7b lies far closer to its star than scorching-hot Mercury does to the sun, astronomers using NASA's Kepler and Spitzer space telescopes have determined that clouds exist high up in the western portion of the exoplanet's atmosphere.
[Full Story: Clouds On Alien Planet Mapped for 1st Time (Image)]
"I sat on this cliff for about an hour with the wind in my hair mesmerized by the beautiful blue-grey moonlight casting shadows on the cliffs that danced with the sway of the tides," MacNeill told LiveScience in an email. "Welcome Autumn!" [Related: 5 Odd Facts About Fall]