NPR News



Thu September 15, 2011

Here Come The Suns: New Planet Orbits Two Stars

Originally published on Thu September 15, 2011 9:03 pm

NASA's Kepler mission has discovered a planet that circles two stars instead of one. The planet, shown as the black dot in this artist's illustration, is similar to Saturn, though it is more dense and travels in a 229-day circular orbit around its two stars.
R. Hurt NASA/JPL-Caltech

A trillion is a huge number — when you're talking dollars or euros. But a trillion miles is not so much in the cosmic scheme of things. Astronomers say they've now found a planet that orbits two suns a mere thousand trillion miles from here. It's yet another example of a weird solar system being discovered around nearby stars.

Two years ago, NASA launched the Kepler observatory to look for Earth-like planets beyond our own solar system. It has found more than 1,000 apparent planets around distant suns.

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Thu September 15, 2011
The Two-Way

Medal Of Honor Recipient Is Among 'Best Of A Generation,' Obama Says

"For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty," U.S. Marine Dakota Meyer was just presented with the nation's highest honor for valor on the battlefield. He's the first living Marine since the Vietnam War to receive the Medal of Honor.

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Thu September 15, 2011
Around the Nation

Workers Start To Dismantle Dams In Olympic Peninsula

Work crews Thursday begin dismantling the two dams on the Elwha River, on Washington's Olympic Peninsula. By some measures, this is the largest dam-removal project ever — and, at 210 feet, one of the dams is certainly the tallest dam ever taken down. The process is an extremely tricky one — in terms of engineering, ecology and politics — but environmentalists hope this project heralds the beginning of the end of the age of big dams in the American West. Those who like big dams, for economic reasons, worry about the same thing.


Thu September 15, 2011

Bomb Explodes At Funeral In Pakistan

Originally published on Thu September 15, 2011 1:15 pm

Pakistani villagers and officials collect shoes at a funeral ceremony after a suicide bomb struck in Lower Dir, Pakistan, on Thursday.
M.A.Khan AP

At least 31 people, including three children, were killed Thursday in an attack at a funeral service in a Pakistani village near the Afghan border; 75 others were wounded.

According to Police Chief Saleem Khan, a suicide bomber walked up to the crowd of about 200 mourners in the northwest village of Lower Dir and detonated his explosives.

Police say the funeral was for Bakhat Khan, a member of the Mashwani tribe, which is reputed to be rabidly anti-Taliban. Residents near the scene of the bombing have raised volunteer militias against the Taliban.

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Thu September 15, 2011
The Two-Way

Feathers Perserved In Amber Give Scientists A More Colorful View Of Dinos

Originally published on Thu September 15, 2011 2:12 pm

A trove of dinosaur protofeathers and more modern bird feathers, preserved in amber from a Late Cretaceous Canadian site, offers researchers a unique chance to examine the structure, function and even color of the feathers adorning dinosaurs and early birds 70 to 85 million years ago.
AFP/Getty Images

For most of us, the idea of dinosaurs covered in feathers is still something we're getting used to. It's the same with the idea that they weren't olive-colored creatures, but instead were imbued in a wide array of pigments.

Today, brings news that thumbnail-sized feathers found preserved in amber are telling scientists some new things about these glorious creatures. First, it opens a window — as old as 85 million years — into the evolution of their feathers and secondly it gives scientists a better idea of what they looked like.

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