Dark-energy camera snaps first pictures

The Dark Energy Camera, mounted on the Blanco telescope in Chile.

A dark energy camera led by Fermilab and the Dark Energy Survey collaboration has achieved first light, it was announced yesterday. The 570-megapixel instrument, based in Chile, snapped its first images of galaxies and star clusters on 12 September. It is designed to hunt for signs of dark energy, and will survey the skies in a bid to explain why our universe is expanding at an ever-increasing rate (See ‘Cameras to focus on dark energy‘).  Read more

Highest recorded temperature record overturned

Death valley: hot enough for you?

The world’s highest temperature ever recorded has fallen from 58ºC (136.4 ºF) to 56.7°C (134°F), after a World Meteorological Organization (WMO) assessment, published on September 13th, showed that the previous record was a mistake. As a consequence, the hottest spot ever measured has moved from Libya, where it has been believed to be for the last 90 years, to Death Valley in California.  Read more

Giant nature reserve to be built with earth dug up from under London

The rebuilt wetlands will form Europe's largest coastal wildlife reserve.

Construction has begun on a new nature reserve in the Thames Estuary, east of London, a project that will create the largest man-made coastal reserve in Europe. The venture is headed by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) with help from Crossrail, a huge rail project in London, and will put 4.5 million tonnes of earth excavated from rail tunnels being dug under the city to good use.  Read more

Drilling ship Chikyu returns deepest seabed core samples yet

Japanese deep-sea drilling vessel Chikyu has bored into the sea bed and recovered rocks from more than 2.11 kilometres beneath the sea floor, the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology announced on 6 September. Although oil wells frequently reach deeper, this is the first scientific expedition to retrieve core samples from such depths.  Read more

The tale of the tail: measuring dinosaurs is tough when bones are missing

The tale of the tail: measuring dinosaurs is tough when bones are missing

Travel down the body of a dinosaur, and our knowledge of its anatomy tails away past its hips. As Dave Hone from University College Dublin has discovered, the vast majority of dinosaur skeletons, even many that are deemed to be “complete”, are missing parts of their tails.  Read more

Nile University students start sit-in at Zewail City campus

Nile University students start a sit-in in front of the main building until their demands are met.

In an escalation of the row between Nile University and Zewail City of Science and Technology in Egypt over a disputed campus (see ‘Universities clash by the Nile‘), more than 50 students from Nile University today forced their way into the Zewail City campus to protest the “loss of their campus”.  Read more

National security trumps indigenous rights on development projects in Brazil

A regulation passed earlier this month by the Brazilian government is stirring anger among indigenous people and environmentalists, as it allows dams, roads, and military bases to be built in indigenous territories without their prior consent if the projects are considered to be relevant to “national security”.  Read more