Black holes rapidly spinning and twisting spacetime
Scientists analyzed X-ray light to determine the spin of the black hole at the center of galaxy NGC 1365.
February 27th, 2013
05:37 PM ET

Black holes rapidly spinning and twisting spacetime

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By Elizabeth Landau, CNN

Scientists have been able to pin down the most accurate estimate yet for how fast a supermassive black hole is spinning. The answer is "fast": near the speed of light.

The black hole in question is more than 2 million miles across, with a surface traveling near the speed of light. It is at the center of spiral galaxy NGC 1365 and is the equivalent of about 2 million solar masses. Don't worry, this black hole not an imminent danger to us, given that it's in a galaxy 60 million light years away.

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Filed under: News
Warming climate could mean bigger blizzards, less snow
Southwest Airlines employees guide a plane into the gate at Midway International Airport in Chicago on Tuesday, February 26. Back-to-back storms have hit the Great Plains, which is still digging out from last week's weather.
February 27th, 2013
03:45 PM ET

Warming climate could mean bigger blizzards, less snow

OK, go ahead and get the "Where's my global warming?" jokes out of your system. With the U.S. Midwest trudging through its second blizzard in a week, we understand.

But while it may seem contradictory at first, scientists say bigger blizzards fit the pattern they expect to see from a changing climate.

The immediate meteorological cause of the back-to-back snowstorms is a colder-than-normal mass of air that's been hovering over the central United States, combined with an amped-up jet stream that's been dipping south from Canada. That makes conditions ripe for major snowstorms after a warmer-than-normal January for most of the Lower 48.

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February 27th, 2013
02:50 PM ET

Group aims to send 2 humans on Mars mission in 2018

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By John Zarrella, CNN

If newly unveiled plans pan out, a man and a woman may represent humanity on one journey that has never been attempted before: a mission to Mars.

“It’s incredibly feasible. It’s not crazy talk," Taber MacCallum, CEO of Paragon Space Development Corp., told CNN.

MacCallum and millionaire Dennis Tito announced their plans Wednesday to send a couple of earthlings on a 501-day trip in a spacecraft that would fly by the red planet. The proposal was unveiled at the National Press Club in Washington.

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Filed under: Mars • News • the Moon
How pretty flowers deceive insects
Darwin's orchid, shown above, attracts the hawk moth of Madagascar.
February 27th, 2013
08:00 AM ET

How pretty flowers deceive insects

By Sally Holland, CNN

The red roses of Valentine's Day have withered, and the yellow daffodils of spring have yet to bloom, so it's orchids that are having their time in the spotlight at the Smithsonian in Washington.

The orchids on display in an exhibit called Orchids of Latin America are strikingly vivid and manipulative.

"It is believed that at least a third of all orchids engage in some kind of deception," said Tom Mirenda, an orchid collections specialist at the Smithsonian Gardens.

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Filed under: On Earth

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