New Research at Smithsonian

An infrared image of 47 Tucanae, a dense globular cluster of stars located roughly 16,000 light years from Earth. A new study has predicted that a black hole lies at its center.

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How Astrophysicists Found a Black Hole Where No One Else Could

A new method could help scientists peer inside universe's densest star clusters to find undiscovered black holes

From top left: (A and B) The new species Pylopaguropsis mollymullerae in Bonaire; (C and E) the new species in a den with a broad banded moray (D) the new species' coral ledge habitat.

Smithsonian Scientist and a Reef-Diving Grandmother Team Up in Discovery of New Hermit Crab

A new species of hermit crab is named to honor her 7-year-old granddaughter Molly

One of the rarest orchids east of the Mississippi, the small-whorled pogonia, emerges from a long dormancy when there is an abundance of specific fungi in the soil.

A Mystery of Hiding Orchids, Solved

Smithsonian scientists have discovered what triggers the rare small-whorled pogonia to awaken from dormancy

Scimitar-horned oryx being released into their holding pen in Chad last March

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Second Group of the Once-Extinct African Oryx to Be Released Into the Wild

Hunting wiped out wild populations of the scimitar-horned creatures, but breeding programs are helping them make a comeback

Creatures so small that they had been overlooked in the past—sea urchins, Echinometra viridis, (above)  the size of ping-pong balls and a diminutive species of parrotfish, Scarus iseri, were grazing algae on the reef.

These Itsy-Bitsy Herbivores Could Stage a Huge Coral Reef Rescue

Tiny parrotfish and sea urchins can take over the job of their larger cousins to keep a reef free of algae

Because Cystisoma live far from shore, scientists have just begun to study them in their natural habitat.

The Master of Disguise of the Ocean Reveals Its Secrets

A marine creature’s unusual defense is becoming perfectly clear

Turns out, the Arctic squirrels (Urocitellus parryii) on Chirikof Island, long believed to be an invasive species, were native.

The Invasive Squirrel That Wasn't

Everyone thought that the Arctic ground squirrel was an invasive species on this remote Alaskan island. A pair of scientists beg to differ.

At the top of Dome A, an unmanned research station, is a smattering of antenna masts, small shipping containers, scientific equipment and a lot of footprints that take years for the snow and meager wind to cover up.

The Coldest, Driest, Most Remote Place on Earth Is the Best Place to Build a Radio Telescope

This remote Antarctic field station is an ice-covered arid desert, perfect for peering deep into space

Caribbean spiny lobster on a sea fan off the coast of Honduras

Proposed New Marine Reserve System Offers Rosy Outlook for Both the Lobster and the Lobster Fisherman

With the help of a supercomputer, Smithsonian scientists figure out how to help the lobster fishery off the coast of Honduras

A midwater creature has few ways to hide from predators. A new report says some tiny crustaceans use tiny spheres that might be bacteria to cloak themselves with invisibility.

These Sea Creatures Have a Secret Superpower: Invisibility Cloaks

Scientists have found that some crustaceans have just the trick for hiding from predators

From top left, clockwise: male orangequit; female tungara frog; purple mort bleu butterfly; sunflower; red coral; Galapagos marine iguana

Big Data Just Got Bigger as IBM's Watson Meets the Encyclopedia of Life

An NSF grant marries one of the world's largest online biological archives with IBM's cognitive computing and Georgia Tech's moduling and simulation

Mercury still has a molten core, like Earth does. As Mercury's core slowly cools, the density of that core increases and it gets slightly smaller.

Mercury Is Tectonically Active, Making It Uniquely Like Earth

A whole new picture of Mercury's geologic history emerges, showing its crust is being thrust up and its surface is changing over time

In an artist's interpretation, the forested and warm Late Cretaceous is abruptly destroyed by a six-mile wide asteroid.

Life Bounced Back After the Dinosaurs Perished

The devastation was immediate, catastrophic and widespread, but plants and mammals were quick to take over

After just moments in the air, flight 1549 collided with a flock of geese.

Smithsonian Expert Fills in the Missing Science Behind the Movie “Sully”

Forensic ornithologist Carla Dove shares her story of analyzing the bird remains or “snarge” scraped from the engines of flight 1549

An artist's impression of the Milky Way six million years ago, depicts an orange bubble at the galactic center and extending to a radius of about 20,000 light-years. Scientist think that outside of that bubble, a pervasive "fog" of million-degree gas might account for the galaxy's missing matter.

Solving the Mystery of the Milky Way’s Missing Mass

Smithsonian scientists have discovered a huge cloud of super hot gas expanding from the middle of our galaxy

The fossil Arktocara yakataga (resting on an 1875 ethnographic map of Alaska) belonged to a dolphin that swam in subarctic marine waters around 25 million years ago.

Smithsonian Researchers Uncover Extinct, Ancient River Dolphin Fossil Hiding in Their Own Collections

Sometimes, paleontologists don’t have to go into the field to discover a tantalizing new species

Named for photographer Barry Brown, meet the newly discovered scorpionfish Scorpaenodes barrybrowni.

On a Deep Dive in a Custom-Built Submarine, a New Species of Scorpionfish Is Discovered

A Smithsonian scientist dives deep to a coral reef and finds much to discover

Tiny nurse ants tending to white ant larvae are dwarfed by the queen ant in the upper right. All the ants feed upon protein-rich food produced by a white-grey fungus that they cultivate underground.

Were Ants the World's First Farmers?

A new study shows that a group of ants have been conducting a subsistence type of farming since shortly after the dinosaurs died out

An astrophysicist makes the case that it might be worthwhile to revisit the Outer Space Treaty of 1967 to safeguard the practice of science on the lunar surface.

Can There Be Real Estate on the Moon?

A Harvard-Smithsonian astrophysicist thinks a legal crisis is waiting for us on the surface of the moon.

In this artist's conception, a carbon planet orbits a sunlike star in the early universe.

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Diamond Planets Might Have Hosted Earliest Life

A new study pushes back the earliest date that extraterrestrial life might, maybe, could appear; if so, it'd be on planets made of diamond

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