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Scientific Ignorance Becomes Apparent

Two reports indicate that what we know we don't know vastly exceeds what we think we know.

Inflation Again: This Time with Feeling

Inflation is dead. Long live inflation.

Stellar Dust Disk Vanishes in 3 Years

According to widely accepted theory, planets evolve from orbiting dust disks surrounding stars. If so, planets trying to form in the dust around one young star didn't have much time. The disk evaporated within 3 years.

Scientific Markers Can Mislead

In historical sciences, observable phenomena are often used as indicators of past phenomena. Some recent examples show how these can mislead researchers.

Too Hot to Handle: Io and Enceladus

Two moons in the solar system are turning up the heat on beliefs that they could be billions of years old.

Venus Transit Recalls Adventures of Yore

Today's transit of Venus, in which our sister planet appears to cross the disk of the sun, will be the last till 2117. As observatories and millions of people watch the rare planetary alignment, few may know the stories of astronomers who predicted them and explorers who risked life and limb to observe them.

Astronomers Wrestle with "Endless Mysteries"

Some of the biggest questions in the universe remain completely baffling to astronomers, a leading journal admitted.

Doomed Worlds: Planets Seen Disrupting, Not Forming

Much as astrobiologists would like to see the birth of a new planet, the ones we observe seem to be dying, not being born.

Earth's Magnetic Field Less Sustainable than Thought

Geophysicists have found that their favored dynamo theory for Earth's magnetic field is less stable than thought, leaving them wondering how our planet sustained its magnetic field for "geologic time."

Dark Matter as an Escape

Employing exotic unobservable entities such as dark matter may be an escape from scientific rigor in more ways than one.

Planet Theories vs. the Evidence

Planet theorists are putting up a valiant fight against new findings, but in some cases, the evidence seems to be winning.

Saturn Moons Continue to Shine

Saturn just passed opposition on April 15, making it a good viewing object from Earth this season. Amateur observers with telescopes may be able to make out the moons Titan, Rhea, Dione, Iapetus, Tethys, and Enceladus. They may look like beautiful little gems from Earth, but from the Cassini spacecraft in orbit at Saturn, they are no less than astonishing. Recent observations of these moons add to the astonishment.

Wernher von Braun Remembered

Wernher von Braun (1912-1977) would have turned 100 on March 23. His name is almost synonymous with "rocket scientist" to many. Father of the American space program, including the first American satellite, the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs, the moon landings and Skylab, von Braun left an indelible mark on America and the world.

Lunar Upsets Challenge Paradigms

Forty years after the last moonwalkers came home, new discoveries about the moon are calling into question what scientists know about our celestial partner. But is it legitimate for scientists to invoke mystery forces when a favored theory faces falsifying evidence?

SETI Finds Intelligent Humans

The Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI) is 50 years old this year. SETI’s latest scientific discovery was the detection of a human-made satellite in Earth orbit. In a sense, this counts as a success: the detection of a signal of intelligent origin from an extra-terrestrial source (beyond terra firma). The false alarm helped calibrate the instrumentation, but did little to garner support for the effort to find aliens. The SETI Institute was all SETI-ready to party hardy at the 50th anniversary of Frank Drake’s first search, but instead, found itself struggling to keep its doors open after a severe shortfall of private funds, highlighting questions about the scientific status of the long-shot project.
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