Caltech Scientists Explain Puzzling Lake Asymmetry on Titan

Researchers at Caltech suggest that the eccentricity of Saturn's orbit around the sun may be responsible for the unusually uneven distribution of lakes over the northern and southern polar regions of the planet's largest moon, Titan. A paper describing the theory appears in the November 29th advance online edition of Nature Geoscience

Caltech Researchers Reveal Unexpected Sources of Nitrogen Fixation

Researchers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have identified an unexpected metabolic ability within a symbiotic community of microorganisms that may help solve a lingering mystery about the world's nitrogen cycling budget. A paper about their work appears in the October 16 issue of the journal Science.

Caltech Scientists Discover Storms in the Tropics of Titan

Saturn's moon Titan is dull, weatherwise. Nothing happens for years, making it hard to understand the carved channels that seem to line the surface. Now Titan has finally been caught in the act. Caltech planetary astronomer Mike Brown and his colleagues set a trap for Titan, waited years for it to be tripped, and, finally, nabbed their prey: bright but transient clouds over Titan's tropics, a region where clouds were thought unlikely to form.

Caltech Researchers Show How Organic Carbon Compounds Emitted by Trees Affect Air Quality

A previously unrecognized player in the process by which gases produced by trees and other plants become aerosols—microscopically small particles in the atmosphere—has been discovered by a research team led by scientists at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). Their research on the creation and effects of these chemicals, called epoxides, is being featured in this week's issue of the journal Science.

 

Caltech, JPL Scientists Say that Microbial Mats Built 3.4-Billion-Year-Old Stromatolites

Stromatolites are dome- or column-like sedimentary rock structures that are formed in shallow water, layer by layer, over long periods of geologic time. Now, researchers from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) have provided evidence that some of the most ancient stromatolites on our planet were built with the help of communities of equally ancient microorganisms.

Unique Sky Survey Brings New Objects into Focus

An innovative sky survey has begun returning images that will be used to detect unprecedented numbers of powerful cosmic explosions–called supernovae–in distant galaxies, and variable brightness stars in our own Milky Way.

Caltech Scientists Predict Greater Longevity for Planets with Life

Roughly a billion years from now, the ever-increasing radiation from the sun will have heated Earth into uninhabitability; the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that serves as food for plant life will disappear, pulled out by the weathering of rocks; the oceans will evaporate; and all living things will disappear.

Or maybe quite so soon, say researchers from Caltech, who have come up with a mechanism that doubles the future lifespan of the biosphere.

Caltech Visiting Associate Champions the Study of Solar Eclipses in the Modern Era

Championing the modern-day use of solar eclipses to solve a set of modern problems is the goal of a review article written by Jay Pasachoff, visiting associate at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and Field Memorial Professor of Astronomy at Williams College. The review is the cover story of the June 11 issue of Nature, as part of its coverage of the International Year of Astronomy.

Caltech Scientists Lead Deep-Sea Discovery Voyage

Scientists from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and an international team of collaborators have returned from a month-long deep-sea voyage to a marine reserve near Tasmania, Australia, that not only netted coral-reef samples likely to provide insight into the impact of climate change on the world's oceans, but also brought to light at least three never-before-seen species of sea life.

Caltech Researchers Find Ancient Climate Cycles Recorded in Mars Rocks

Researchers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and their colleagues have found evidence of ancient climate change on Mars caused by regular variation in the planet's tilt, or obliquity. On Earth, similar "astronomical forcing" of climate drives ice-age cycles.

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