If you've ever seen the Northern Lights, you've seen the most visible evidence of a solar storm. Bursts of electrically charged particles race toward Earth, and when they hit the planet's magnetic field, they cause beautiful auroras. A norm in northern locales, sky watchers in southerly states like Colorado were treated to a rare light show in June. In addition to clogging up your Instagram with photos, solar storms can also wreak havoc on our electric grid.
Federal regulators are working on new rules that are supposed to protect the electric grid from solar storms, but there's criticism that they don't go far enough.
Scientists have found a "new" horned dinosaur that lived about 79 million years ago — and they say the discovery helps them understand the early evolution of the family that includes Triceratops.
The new dinosaur, which was named Wendiceratops pinhornensis after a famous fossil hunter who discovered the bone bed in Canada where these fossils were buried, is one of the oldest known horned dinosaurs.
Designing a rechargeable battery is a tradeoff: you can either have more power or faster charging speed. Amy Prieto, a researcher at Colorado State University, wants to make a battery where she doesn’t have to compromise.
Instead of choosing to focus on a battery with a longer life, more energy storage, or a shorter charging time, Prieto decided to tackle all three. And she’s not doing it in Silicon Valley or some other far-flung tech hub. She’s instead based her company in place that has an innate attraction to her research: Fort Collins, Colorado.
“It was just incredible to find this wealth of people who were interested in renewable energy,” says Prieto.
Colorado State University worries that they are losing future engineers.
"There are a lot of students that come in that have the desire and the aptitude to be engineers but they're leaving the discipline in very large numbers," explains Tony Maciejewski, the head of the Electrical and Computer Engineering department at CSU.
So Maciejewski and a few of his colleagues applied for a grant to change the way that his department teaches engineering. They’ve received $2 million from the National Science Foundation that will allow them to do just that over the next five years.
Orchid cacti, like this one housed at a library in Illinois, bloom just once a year.
Credit Abby Wendle / Harvest Public Media
It’s Monday, around 9 o’clock, and the library is locked for the night. Silently, Linda Zellmer appears on the other side of the glass door. She opens it and guides us up four dark floors towards a puddle of light.
“There it is,” she says, gazing down at the swollen bud of an orchid cactus. “It’s slowly opening.”
While most plants flower for weeks, orchid cacti only blossom for a few short hours a year, and always at night. Botanists name it Epiphyllum oxypetalum, but the plant’s elaborate, nocturnal mating dance has earned it the nickname of “Queen of the Night” or “Lady of the Night.”