• Drilling to Doomsday
  • David Trilling holds a rock in his Northern Arizona University office as he talks about meteors and asteroids. Trilling is helping plan a conference to discuss how to plan for and avoid potential asteroid strikes. (Jake Bacon/Arizona Daily Sun)
  • Credit: Courtesy of Spaceport America | Photo by Mark Greenberg
  • No such thing as free parking
  • Astronomers discovered a possible magnetar that emitted 40 visible-light flashes before disappearing again. (ESO/L.Calçada)
  • For billions of years, it waited. A city-sized chunk of primordial space rock circled the solar system somewhere between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. Earth took shape. Life evolved. And all the while, the space rock just drifted, tumbling end over end like a poorly thrown football. Then,...

    Read more
  • A flash lit up the dawn sky above Chebarkul. Thousands of Russians flocked to their windows and watched the fireball. Without warning, an explosion rang out. The infrasound waves sent a shock through windows, dishware and electronics, spraying glass shrapnel and injuring more than 1,000 people. Incredibly, no one...

    Read more
  • A runway in an otherwise vast, empty stretch of desert in southern New Mexico will soon become the starting point of weekly sightseeing trips to space for anyone who can afford the $200,000 ticket, and with NASA retiring the Space Shuttle, that might eventually include traditional astronauts as well....

    Read more
  • Next time you’re searching for a parking space and someone grabs a spot from right in front of you, it might seem like the last space left on Earth, but ponder this: there are at least 500 million empty spaces in the United States at any given time. The...

    Read more
  • Astronomers have announced the discovery of a new star, found with help from a most unusual source — a screen saver. Chris and Helen Colvin, owners of the personal computer running the screen saver are participants in a project called Einstein@home, an experiment in distributed computing that uses the...

    Read more

Less than full orbit: The history of Flagstaff’s moon tree

Less than full orbit: The history of Flagstaff’s moon tree

There’s a small Douglas fir just uphill from Frances Short Pond. Since 1976, it’s grown slowly alongside what was once Flagstaff Junior High School. And beneath it is a fading, wooden sign. The sign reads: “This seedling was grown from the very seeds that journeyed to the moon and back on board Apollo 14.”...

Astronomers fight back against electronic billboards

Jeff Hall, director of Lowell Observatory, is concerned about statewide loosening of regulations concerning electronic billboards. (Josh Biggs/Arizona Daily Sun)

Astronomy is big business in Arizona. And it also protects national security interests. That’s the case the state’s astronomy community is making against HB2757, which would lift the state ban on electronic billboards and let local jurisdictions take responsibility for them. The astronomy sector supports more than 3,000 jobs with a total capital investment...

Cosmic rays fuel next big astronomy project

Cosmic rays fuel next big astronomy project

Every second of every day, the Earth is bombarded with cosmic-rays — high-energy particles soaring in from the outer reaches of space at nearly the speed of light. When such a particle enters the atmosphere, it sets off a fireworks show invisible to the naked eye. The cosmic ray collides with molecules in Earth’s...

Giant ice volcano may have been found on Titan

Giant ice volcano may have been found on Titan

Astronomers have announced the discovery of a potential new ice volcano on Saturn’s moon Titan. Named Sotra, the volcano is more than 3,000 feet (1 kilometer) tall and has a 1-mile-deep (1.2-kilometer) pit alongside it. Surrounded by giant sand dunes, it is thought to be the largest in a string of several volcanoes that...

What holds the world together? The Cheerios effect

Pictures Depot

Have you ever noticed how the last bits of cereal in the bowl always seem to cling to one another, making it easy to spoon up the remaining stragglers? Physicists have — and they’ve given it a name: the “Cheerios effect.” This effect isn’t exclusive to breakfast cereals, however. It also reveals itself in...

Mars landing: ‘7 minutes of terror’

NASA

Landing on Mars is no easy task. Of all the spacecraft sent by NASA to the red planet, only one in three did so successfully. And yet, NASA needs its newest rover, the $2.5 billion Mars Science Lander, to land and execute its mission flawlessly tonight. The agency’s budget and the future of the...

More from Space/Astronomy

“When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe.” — John Muir

OUTDOORS

Yosemite Falls, the highest measured waterfall in North America, is framed by frosted trees during an early winter snowstorm. Photo by Eric Betz

Slotted for controversy: The fire in Illusions Canyon

Slotted for controversy: The fire in Illusions Canyon

Even in the long days of summer, the heart of Illusions Canyon is dark, cold and wet. The deep and narrow slot canyon feeds into the West Fork of Oak Creek Canyon. Its beautiful...

Rim-to-Rim record: Flagstaff pharmacist sets new Grand Canyon mark

Rob Krar and Jason Wolfe run up a trail near the top of Arizona Snowbowl Road. (Josh Biggs/Arizona Daily Sun)

The three friends sat at the top of the Grand Canyon’s South Kaibab Trail at about 8:30 a.m. last Friday. Covered in sweat and dirt, they gazed acr oss to the North Rim and...

Backcountry access dispute heats up at Grand Canyon

Backcountry access dispute heats up at Grand Canyon

The superintendent of Grand Canyon National Park has drawn the ire of avid backcountry users after a letter he sent to the chairman of the Havasupai Tribe popped up online. In it, he offered...

John Wesley Powell’s grand ambition

grand-canyon-powell

It was a brutally hot day on August 13, 1869, when John Wesley Powell and his nine-man crew reached what he called the foot of the Grand Canyon. At this spot where the Little Colorado...

More from Outdoors

Life sciences

A wolf that is part of a captive breeding program roams his compound at Heritage Wildlife Park in Prescott. (Photo by Eric Betz)

Group wants wolves at Grand Canyon

The last, best place to release wolves in the United States might be right in our own back yards. The Flagstaff-based Grand Canyon Wolf Recovery Project wants to allow the beleaguered Mexican gray wolf to migrate northward and establish packs on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Wilderness advocates contend the wolves are...

How cranberries evolved into a Thanksgiving favorite

How cranberries evolved into a Thanksgiving favorite

In the early days of the American Republic, one tiny, red fruit would become a fixture of the fall harvest and a mainstay of holiday meals. The cranberry — one of only a few commercial fruits native to North America — might have even sat beside a roast turkey at the first Thanksgiving feast....

NAU researcher thrust into the maelstrom

NAU researcher thrust into the maelstrom

On the morning of September 11, 2001, Paul Keim was out for a run with his dog on Observatory Mesa, oblivious to the events unfolding along the eastern seaboard. He was training for a marathon that he would never run. Within weeks, he would be sitting on the hood of his Toyota on the...

Environment

No such thing as free parking

No such thing as free parking

Next time you’re searching for a parking space and someone grabs a spot from...

Drug trade destroying forests

Drug trade destroying forests

The remains of a burned-out airplane sits at the edge of a primitive runway...

Loggers ready to gear up in northern Arizona

Loggers ready to gear up in northern Arizona

Slash. Burn. Cut. This coming year, northern Arizona will leap into an era of...

Climate change makes grass greener — at first

Climate change makes grass greener — at first

Bruce Hungate reaches down and plucks a bit of tumbleweed from a small, PVC...

Roses are red, but not green

Roses are red, but not green

(ISNS)—For many Americans, giving your significant other a dozen sweet-smelling roses is the ultimate...

Pond scum an alternative to foreign oil

Pond scum an alternative to foreign oil

Instability in many of the world’s largest oil producing nations has gas prices on...