Articles from Discover Physics & Math

Chameleons, Already Dealt Unfair Share of Cool Traits, Also Have Fluorescent Heads

Maybe their moms told them nobody likes a showoff. That would explain why many species of chameleon are hiding fluorescent bone bumps on their heads that scientists only just discovered. Chameleons also have independently moving eyeballs, superlative tongues and sophisticated color-changing skills. The animals might use their glowing head bumps as signals to each other. These patterns of dots are invisible to a human eye, but may light up deep blue to the eye of another chameleon in a shaded

Where are You Going in 2018 (Cosmically Speaking)?

A while back, I wrote a column for Discover analyzing your place in space: astronomers' best look yet at where you fit into the big, crazy, cosmic scheme of things. Any discussion of where you are inevitably brings up the related question of not just where you are, but where you are going. And there's no better time to think about where you are going that at the beginning of the year--right around the time when you realize that, once again, this isn't going to be the year you keep all your Jan

Life Beneath Enceladus’ Ice?

The Cassini probe reveals a chemical brew erupting from the Saturnian moon.

Could a Lunar Fuel Depot Jump-Start Human Exploration of Deep Space?

In my previous post I started a conversation with spaceflight entrepreneur Charles Miller, who shared his insights about how NASA's human spaceflight program got been stuck in low-Earth orbit and how we could enter a new era of deep-space adventure. Part one of the interview focused on the role of private industry in radically lowering the cost of getting back to the Moon. But it left many topics unexplored.

In particular, I wanted to hear more about the economics of what some people are

Astronomers See and Hear the Cosmos

A gravitational wave and a flash of light open up a new field of astronomy.

In the Moon's Shadow, America Looks Up

The solar event that transfixed Americans from sea to shining sea.

7 Whole New Worlds

A record-breaking number of Earth-sized planets orbit a faint star in a nearby galaxy.

Cassini Is Dead; Long Live Cassini

The Saturn probe completes its years-long mission in a fiery descent.

Back to the Moon for Real: A Conversation with Private-Spaceflight Evangelist Charles Miller

NASA's human spaceflight program has been in a state of uncertainty pretty much from the moment the Apollo 17 crew left the surface of the Moon 45 years ago this month. The Space Shuttle never became the hoped-for workhorse that would makes space access cheap and routine; the International Space Station never became a glorious gateway to deep-space exploration. Now NASA faces yet another U-turn as President Trump has directed the agency's administrator to send astronauts back to the moon.

Tripping the Light Fantastic

Gravitational waves usher in the era of multi-messenger astronomy.