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Earth and space sciences posts

Aurora origins News

by Pat, 8 November 2013 | 0 comments

Aurora over a winter landscape.

On a dark night, far from the Equator, you might be lucky enough to spot an aurora: a shimmering, colourful glow in the sky. This natural light show has captivated people for thousands of years. While it is mostly associated with cold, dark nights near the poles, auroras have a much brighter, warmer origin: the…

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How to make a climate report News

by Pat, 11 October 2013 | 0 comments

Sunset over drought-affected landscape.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has released the first part of its latest report. It might not sound like a big deal – most of us have written a report at some point for school or work. Yet we aren’t talking any old paper.

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Golden needles in rocky haystacks News

by Pat, 6 September 2013 | 0 comments

Gold nugget.

Imagine you have a massive pile of rocks. You think there might be gold in the rocks, not much, but enough to make some money. Now it might be easier to find out how much hidden gold there is.

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Microscope: Fire vs lava News

by Mike, 29 August 2013 | 0 comments

Stylised image of an erupting volcano

Welcome to Double Helix magazine’s Q&A section – Microscope. We take a close look at small questions full of big ideas. Q: I want to know which is hotter, fire or lava? Or are they both the same?

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All the Raijin News

by Pat, 9 August 2013 | 1 comments

The Raijin supercomputer - rows of black computer processors in a large room.

Australia’s most powerful supercomputer – Raijin – has been officially launched. Imagine arming the population of Earth with calculators and setting them to work for 20 years. Raijin is so fast it could complete the same number of calculations in one hour!

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The search for life in the Universe News

by Pat, 19 July 2013 | 0 comments

Radio telescope dishes in the outback.

The idea there are living organisms, as yet undiscovered by humans, living on other planets, has fascinated people for years. The search for alien life is not just a science fiction topic – it’s part of a scientific field called astrobiology.

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Megafauna mystery News

by Pat, 12 July 2013 | 0 comments

Marsupial lion skeleton. It casts its shadow on the back wall.

Giant wombats, short-faced kangaroos and the largest land lizard to ever have lived are just some of Australia’s megafauna. These large animals have mostly gone extinct. However, the cause of their extinction is still a matter of debate.

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Cold to the core News

by Pat, 5 July 2013 | 0 comments

Ice core being held by gloved hands.

A fridge or freezer can preserve food for weeks, months or years. But that’s nothing compared to glaciers, with layers of ice preserving information about Earth’s climate for thousands of years.

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Discover a changing climate in an ice core Activity

by Mike, 4 July 2013 | 0 comments

Plastic cup with three different layers. The contents are overflowing.

Do you wonder why scientists are down in the Antarctic? One reason is to take ice cores, which keep a record of how the Earth’s climate has changed. To learn more (and make a tasty snack) try this totally cool activity! Safety: When dealing with food, use clean hands and clean equipment. You will need…

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Powered by the sea News

by Pat, 7 June 2013 | 0 comments

Waves breaking on the shore.

It’s hard not to be impressed by the power of the ocean. The thunderous crash of waves during a storm and more gentle movements of the tides have captured many people’s imaginations. But the power of the ocean is not just poetic – it could literally be used to provide electricity.

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