Elise Cutts

All Stories by Elise Cutts

  1. A composite image of the starry disk of galaxy NGC 4632.

    This ‘polar ring’ galaxy looks like an eye. Others might be hiding in plain sight

    New images of two galaxies reveal what look like rarely seen rings of hydrogen gas nearly perpendicular to the galaxies’ starry disks.

  2. Quantum astrochemist Clara Sousa-Silva stands in front of a blackboard, holding a molecular model in her hand.

    Clara Sousa-Silva seeks molecular signatures of life in alien atmospheres

    Quantum astrochemist Clara Sousa-Silva studies how molecules in space interact with light, offering clues to what distant objects are made of.

  3. An illustrated image of oxygen-28 on a green background just after 4 blue neutrons have fallen away.
    Particle Physics

    Scientists finally detected oxygen-28. Its instability surprised them

    The elusive isotope was predicted to be very stable, thanks to “magic” numbers of neutrons and protons. It fell apart almost immediately.

  4. A photo of a black male palm cockatoo sitting on a branch.

    Wild male palm cockatoos rock out with custom drumsticks

    Along with flashy dances and distinctive drumbeats, these birds craft their own signature drumsticks to win over mates.

  5. A photo of lenticular galaxy Messier 102, also known as the Spindle Galaxy.

    Spiral galaxies might have been lentil-shaped before becoming starry whirls

    By using black holes to track how galaxies merge and grow, an astronomer has proposed an update to the prevailing story of how galaxy shapes evolve.

  6. An illustration of the BepiColombo probe with Mercury in the background.
    Planetary Science

    A rain of electrons causes Mercury’s X-ray auroras

    The first direct measurement of electrons raining down on Mercury suggests this particle precipitation causes most auroras in the solar system.

  7. illustration of Megacerops kuwagatarhinus with small, striped mammals in the foreground and background

    ‘Thunder beast’ fossils show how some mammals might have gotten big

    Rhinolike mammals called brontotheres repeatedly evolved into bigger and smaller species, a fossil analysis shows. The bigger ones won out over time.

  8. An illustration of five people standing around on a cream colored background. Above all of them are multi-colored speech bubbles with the word "Hello" in multiple languages.

    Your brain wires itself to match your native language

    MRI scans of nearly 100 native speakers of either German or Arabic revealed differences in how the language circuits of their brains are connected.

  9. A simulation image of filaments and clusters shown in blue lines and pink dots.

    Astronomers spotted shock waves shaking the web of the universe for the first time

    Studying these elusive shock waves could give scientists a better look at the mysterious magnetic fields that permeate the cosmic web.

  10. Round Emiliania huxleyi cells, some clustered around smaller rod-shaped bacteria, consuming them

    Some ‘friendly’ bacteria backstab their algal pals. Now we know why

    The friendly relationship between Emiliana huxleyi and Roseobacter turns deadly when the bacteria get a whiff of the algae’s aging-related chemicals.

  11. an echidna standing in tall grass

    These adorable Australian spike-balls beat the heat with snot bubbles

    An echidna’s snot bubbles coat the spiny critter’s nose with moisture, which then evaporates and draws heat from the sinus, cooling the blood.

  12. A photo of a researcher looking at a clear petri dish with blue dots on it.
    Health & Medicine

    Here’s how mysterious last-resort antibiotics kill bacteria

    Scientists are finally getting a grip on how a class of last-resort antibiotics works — the drugs kill bacteria by crystallizing their membranes.