Natural Sciences

Severe 2012 solar storm narrowly missed Earth

A massive ejection of material from the sun initially traveling at over 7 million miles per hour that narrowly missed Earth last year is an event solar scientists hope will open the eyes of policymakers regarding the impacts and mitigation of severe space weather, says a University of Colorado Boulder professor.

Tallgrass prairie restoration could be bolstered by understanding rare microbes

In the first half of the nineteenth century, American settlers pushed westward into the Great Plains, lured to the prairies by the agricultural promise of their dark, rich soils.

Within a century, America’s tallgrass prairies—which once stretched across more than 150 million acres, from Minnesota south to Texas and from Illinois west to Nebraska—had all but vanished under settlers’ plows. The demise of the tallgrass prairie also meant the demise of dozens of species of grasses that could grow to the height of a man, hundreds of species of flowers and herds of roaming bison.

Bugs that don't blend in can endanger larger insect community

One badly disguised bug easily becomes a snack for a bird.

But the impact reaches far beyond one poorly camouflaged insect. The bird, drawn to the insect that doesn't blend in, sticks around to eat all the other insects that live on the same plant. Those insects, in turn, are not able to feed on the leaves of the plants as they normally would.

Modernized Fiske takes viewers through universe in high definition

Sky gazers at CU-Boulder’s Fiske Planetarium are getting better, clearer and deeper views. And not just of astronomy anymore. The planetarium has been upgraded, transforming it into a digital IMAX-like theater that’s open to the public every Saturday and Sunday with a variety of programs including shows for children. In addition to space odysseys and laser shows -- longtime favorites of audiences -- movies are now part of the Fiske lineup.

Satellite designed and built by CU-Boulder students now in orbit

DANDE has left the planet.

A beach ball-sized satellite designed and built by a team of CU-Boulder students is now whipping around the planet in a polar orbit. Roughly 150 students have been involved in the project since 2007.

The satellite, known as the Drag and Atmospheric Neutral Density Explorer satellite, or DANDE, will investigate how atmospheric drag can affect satellite orbits.

NSF fellows tackle research ranging from cystic fibrosis treatment to a better hip replacement

This fall, the University of Colorado Boulder is again hosting a large class of National Science Foundation fellows. Twenty-six new graduate researchers have received NSF fellowships, bringing the total number of NSF fellows on campus to 101, a new record for CU-Boulder.

The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program is one of the most prestigious awards available for student researchers in the country. This year CU-Boulder was among the top 20 universities enrolling NSF fellows.

Rare western bumblebee creates a buzz on the Front Range

When University of Colorado Boulder junior Cole Steinmetz first begins a bumblebee hunt, he walks slowly, listening for the bee’s persistent, rumbling buzz, which Steinmetz has learned is usually lower and less singsongy than the noises made by flies and other insects.

CU-Boulder instrument set to launch to the moon

A $6 million University of Colorado Boulder instrument designed to study the behavior of lunar dust will be riding on a NASA mission to the moon now slated for launch on Friday, Sept. 6, from the agency’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

Feather colors may be for more than just looks: Hue can affect bird health

For female North American barn swallows, looking good pays healthy dividends.

A new study conducted at the University of Colorado Boulder and involving Cornell University shows the outward appearance of female barn swallows, specifically the hue of their chestnut-colored breast feathers, has an influence on their physiological health.

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