Shannon Hall


Science Reporter

Online News Stories in 2015

A Turning Point in Combating Climate Change
May Be Here

Scientific American, December 2015


Hawaii's Telescope Controversy Is the Latest in a Long History of Land-Ownership Battles
Scientific American, December 2015


Archaeologists Survey Seaplanes Sunk During
Pearl Harbor Attack

Scientific American, December 2015


Little Fusion, Deep Learning and Other World Changing Ideas
Scientific American, December 2015


5 Reasons to Thank Your Lucky Constants This Thanksgiving
Scientific American, November 2015


The Case of the Disappearing Quasars
Scientific American, November 2015


Astronomers Indirectly Spot Neutrinos Released Just 1 Second after the Birth of the Universe
Scientific American, November 2015


Geologists Confirm Mantle Plumes Generate Volcanic Hotspots
Scientific American, November 2015


Bubbling From the Deep
Dormancy, October 2015


Exxon Knew about Climate Change Almost
40 Years Ago

Scientific American, October 2015


A Strong Work Ethic Brings Sick Doctors to Work
Scientific American, October 2015


Hubble's Looming Deathbed
Dormancy, October 2015


Drifting with Daydreams
Dormancy, October 2015


A Dusty Mystery Around AU Miscroscopii
Sky & Telescope, October 2015


Light from Universe's First Stars Spotted in
Hubble Photos

Scientific American, October 2015


VW Scandal Causes Small but Irreversible Environmental Damage
Scientific American, September 2015


The Supervolcano Under Yellowstone is Alive and Kicking
Nautilus, August 2015


Is it Time to Embrace Unverified Theories?
Nautilus, August 2015


6 Graphs That Showed Landmark Discoveries
But Were Later Debunked

Nautilus, August 2015


Is Coloring Within the Lines the New Form of Meditation?
Nautilus, July 2015


A Visual History of Humantiy's Exploration of
Pluto

Nautilus, July 2015


Black Hole Too Big for its Breeches
Sky & Telescope, July 2015


Why Fireworks Displays Can't Include a Perfect Red, White and Blue
Nautilus, July 2015


What Do Aliens See at the End of Their Days?
Nautilus, June 2015


Fallingwater: A Building that Bonds with Nature and Dances with Time
Nautilus, June 2015


The Recklessness of Playing God with the Planet
Scienceline, June 2015


Microwave Ovens Spark Radio Signals
Sky & Telescope, May 2015


Science and Religion Clash Over Telescope Construction on Sacred Summit
Discover, May 2015


Moose are in a Climate Noose
Motherboard, May 2015


Giant Whales' Mouths Have Unique Nerves:
They Stretch

Live Science, May 2015


Snapshot of a Storm: Scientists Capture 1st
'Image' of Thunder

Live Science, May 2015


Satellite Photos Aiding Nepal Earthquake
Recovery Efforts

SPACE.com, May 2015


Best Evidence Yet That Black Holes Really Exist
Sky & Telescope, May 2015


Century-Old 'Mini-Supernova' Captured in Gorgeous NASA Photo
SPACE.com, May 2015


Size of the Milky Way Upgraded, Solving Galaxy Puzzle
SPACE.com, May 2015


Chile Volcano Unleashes Massive Plume of Ash (Photo)
Live Science, May 2015


Aurora Flare-ups on Jupiter Cuased by volcanic Moon Io
SPACE.com, April 2015


Newborn Star Erupts After Binging on Gas and Dust
SPACE.com, April 2015


The Last Hubble Servicing Mission: Q&A with Photograph Michael Soluri
SPACE.com, April 2015


'Infinite Worlds': NASA's Last Hubble Telescope Mission in Photos by Michael Soluri
SPACE.com, April 2015


Abandoned Baby Tiger Triplets Thrive with Zoo's Aid
Live Science, April 2015


Where in the US are People Most Worried About Climate Change?
Live Science, April 2015


Giant Radio Telescope Peels Away Magnetic Field Shrouding a Black Hole
SPACE.com, April 2015


Spooky Ring of Light Created by Arctic's Ice-Mapping Lasers (Photo)
Live Science, April 2015


Where Wildfires and Climate Scientists Meet
Scienceline, April 2015


'Cosmic Precipitation' Can Extinguish Star Formation in Galaxies
SPACE.com, April 2015


Stars May be Forming in Shadow of Milky Way's Monster Black Hole
SPACE.com, April 2015


What Are the Most Endangered Rivers in the US?
Live Science, April 2015


'Freak Weather Event' Sets Antarctic Heat Records
Live Science, April 2015


Search for Alien Life Should 'Follow the Methane,' Scientists Say
SPACE.com, April 2015


Amped-Up Atom Smasher Will Restart This Weekend
Live Science, April 2015


Zap! New Map Charts Every Lightning Bolt
Live Science, April 2015


Antarctic Octopus's 'Blue Blood' Helps It Survive
in Frigid Waters

Live Science, April 2015


New Map of Global Ocean Temperatures Is a
Work of Art

Live Science, March 2015


Darwin's 'Strangest Animals' Finally Placed on
Family Tree

Live Science, March 2015


Flat CO2 Emissions Are Not Enough to Curb Climate Change, Experts Say
Live Science, March 2015


Space Experiment Hunts for Key to Alzheimer's Disease in Weightlessness
SPACE.com, March 2015


US Military Satellite Explosion Is No Threat to European Space Missions
SPACE.com, March 2015


Snowy Owls' NYC Visit Reveals Migration Habits
Live Science, March 2015


Wow! Watch a Drone Fly Through the World's Largest Atom Smasher
Live Science, March 2015


Why Do Geysers Erupt? It Boils Down to Plumbing
Live Science, March 2015


Gallery: Probing Geysers in Yellowstone and Chile
Live Science, March 2015


'Love' Hormone Sobers Up Drunken Rats
Live Science, February 2015


Earth's Worst Mass Extinction Preserved Ancient Footprints
Live Science, February 2015


Triassic Tracks: Gallery of Ancient Reptiles' Footprints
Live Science, February 2015


A Star's Closest Flyby to the Sun
Sky & Telescope, February 2015


Cluster Filled with Dark Matter May House
'Failed Galaxies'

SPACE.com, February 2015


'Fast Radio Burst' Spotted Live in Space for 1st Times
SPACE.com, February 2015


Wavelike Cloud Hugs Grand Teton Mountains (Photo)
Live Science, February 2015


Our Endless Pursuit
Beacon, February 2015


Student Loans May be Bad for Young Adults' Mental Health
Live Science, February 2015


Cosmic 'God's Hand' Shines in Telescope Photo, Video
SPACE.com, February 2015


This Super-Saturn Alien Planet Might Be the
New 'Lord of the Rings'

SPACE.com, February 2015


Haunting Space Bubbles Shine in Amazing
Hubble Telescope Photo

SPACE.com, February 2015


Americans Will Vote for Climate-Loving
Politicians, New Poll Suggests

Live Science, January 2015


BICEP2 Was Wrong, But Publicly Sharing the Results Was Right
Discover Magazine, January 2015


Lightning Electrifies Cyclone's Eye in Dramatic Space Photo
Live Science, January 2015


Mountain-Size Asteroid Flies by Earth Today:
Watch It Online

SPACE.com, January 2015


Mountain-Size Asteroid to Fly by Earth Monday: How NASA Will Watch
SPACE.com, January 2015


Gamma-Ray Signals from Beyond Our Galaxy Pinpointed for 1st Time
SPACE.com, January 2015


Atmospheres Spin Worlds to Habitability?
Sky & Telescope, January 2015


Why Rain Gives Off That Fresh, Earthy Smell
Live Science, January 2015


What's the Secret to Getting Kids to Eat
Veggies? Let Them Play First!

Live Science, January 2015


Anybody Home?
Beacon, January 2015


When Two Supermassive Black Holes Merge,
Its a Galactic Train Wreck

Universe Today, January 2015


Big Asteroid to Zoom by Earth on Jan. 26
SPACE.com, January 2015


Monster Black Hole Caught Feeding in Galactic Crash
SPACE.com, January 2015


New 3D Printed Models of Eta Carinae Reveal Hidden Features
Universe Today, January 2015


Prying Planets Out of The Shadows: The Gemini Planet Imager's First Year of Light
Universe Today, January 2015


Kepler Targets Supermassive Black Hole
Universe Today, January 2015


Exciting Exoplanet News From the AAS: How
Rocky Worlds are Made; Oceans on Super-Earths

Universe Today, January 2015

Investigations against oil and coal companies raise optimism for a cleaner future.



The current standoff between Native Hawaiian protesters and proponents of the planned Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) can take some lessons from similar disputes in the past.


Better equipment, visibility allow University of Hawaii researchers to map and photograph planes lost during the December 7, 1941 bombing.


Video talks (and one audio interview) with the scientists behind four transformative innovations.



As you dig into those mashed potatoes, be grateful the universe’s physical constants are so precise that a slight variation in any one would render that drumstick — and even your existence — impossible.

A dozen quasars in the early universe appear to have shut down in just a few years, baffling astronomers.

The cosmic neutrino background could provide more details about the universe as it once was.



Scans reveal 28 mantle plumes rising from Earth’s core — the first direct evidence that these columns of heat create hotspots above.


Not only is the supervolcano beneath Yellowstone still very much alive, the land above it is literally boiling over. Here's a photo story of the alien landscape.

A new investigation shows the oil company understood the science before it became a public issue and spent millions to promote misinformation.


Two new studies pinpoint why doctors come to work sick and offer solutions for hospitals to implement.

The World-Famous Telescope's Future is Unknown.


Walking the delicate line between mindfulness and mind wandering.


Unexplained ripples have been found racing outward in a dusty disk around a star.


Astronomers have detected faint light that dates from shortly after the big bang.



Scientists and engineers remain skeptical of high pollution claims.



An alien landscape makes it surprisingly easy to believe that northwestern Wyoming sits directly above an active supervolcano.


In the world of modern physics, there is change afoot.


A tantalizing new result is gathering steam, stirring the curiosity of physicists worldwide. It could rewrite physics or it could be a statistical fluke. Here are five examples of even bigger would-be discoveries that have led physicists astray.

Adult coloring is surging in popularity. And some argue that it's a form of meditation. Not only are you able to be fully engaged in the moment, but you’re also able to focus on a single repetitive movement.


After a nearly-10-year journey, NASA's New Horizons Spacecraft came face to face with the last of the nine nearby bodies that we have — at least during some point in history — called planets.


A supermassive black hole in the early universe is at least 10 times too heavy for its host galaxy, raising questions about galaxy and black hole coevolution.

A deep, vibrant blue is still beyond our reach, despite the fact that fireworks were invented more than a millennium ago. It’s the holy grail for pyrotechnic experts.


Sunsets on alien worlds are, well, alien. Take HD 209458b where the star transforms from blue to green just before dipping below the murky horizon.

Fallingwater is both boundless and bound, infinite and finite, stone and liquid.



A government-sponsored scientific panel called for more research on geoengineering — here’s why we shouldn’t even consider it.

After 17 years, researchers using the Parkes radio telescope in Australia have identified the culprit behind a mysterious type of radio signal: two on-site microwave ovens.

The world’s largest telescope paves a path forward in spite of two court cases and multiple protests.



Warmer weather is taking its toll on moose, which are dying at an alarming rate.


Newly discovered nerves in the mouths of massive whales can unfold, nearly doubling in length, and recoil like a bungee cord. These stretchy nerves could explain how the whales are able to eat by ballooning their mouths during dives.

Lightning strikes Earth more than 4 million times every day, but the physics behind these electic bolts and their accompanying thunder is still poorly understood. Now, for the first tme, researchers have captured an "image" of thunder.

Space agencies around the world are using satellite images and other technologies to aid rescue efforts and learn more about the April 25 earthquake in Nepal, which killed at least 5,000 people, injued 8000, and affected millions more.

A team of astronomers has found indirect evidence of a supermassive black hole’s event horizon, providing further proof that these wacky objects actually exist in nature.

A stunning new photo shows the expanding celestial fireworks created by a stellar explosion that first lit up Earth's skies more than a century ago.


Two ringlike structures of stars wrapping around the Milky Way's outer disk now appear to belong to the disk itself.


The Calbuco volcano in southern Chile awoke with vengeance on April 22, splashing lava down its slopes and sputter a plume of ash high into the atmsophere. Scientists are keen on studying the plume and, more specifically, the accompanying amount of sulfur dioxide.

Jupiter's supervolcanic moon Io is apparently responsible for dramatic brightenings of the giant planet's stunning blue auroras, a new study suggests.


A young star in the earliest phase of its life has erupted after gobbling up gas and dust, and appears to be the ealiest such burst ever recorded.


An interview with photographer Michael Soluri, who chronicled the final Hubble mission in his latest book.


A sneak peak at the photographs taken throughout Hubble's final servicing mission.



Three male Amur tiger cubs were born Tuesday (April 21) at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in Powell, Ohio.


Residents in California are much more worried about the warming planet than those in parts of central United States, according to a new set of interactive maps showing public opinion on climate change.

Astronomers have peeled away most of the gas and dust enshrouding a monster black hole, taking a close look at the giant that lies some 68 thousand light-years away.


It may look like the setting of a sci-fi film, but a new photo of a backward-C-shaped pattern of lights against a desolate blue background has a more terrestrial origin.


A chemist flies through smoke plumes to better understand global warming.


Massive galaxies don't form nearly as many stars as possible due to a phenomenon known as "cosmic precipitation," a new study finds.


Despite the harsh environment created by the monster black hole lurking in the center of the Milky Way galaxy, new observations show that stars — and, potentially, planets — are forming just two light-years away from the colossal giant.

The nonprofit organization American Rivers has deemed the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon the most endangered river in American in 2015. Every year, the organization highlights 10 rivers that face environment threats and management decisions that could jeopardize their futures.

A remarkable heat wave warmed Antarctica's northernmost peninsula in March. It was a record high for the cold continent. But scientists say it cannot be directly attributed to climate change.

In the search for life beyond Earth, the mantra has usually been, "Follow the water." But now, scientists say it may be possible for a waterless environment to give rise to alien life.


It's a great day for particle physics fans: The world's largest atom smasher has been cleared to start running again as early as this weekend.


Every second, as many as 100 lightning bolts strike the Earth. Now, a new map reveals a tally of those flashes over the last two decades, tracing where they strike the planet each year.

Octopuses in Antarctica survive subzero temperatures because of blue pigment in their blood, a new study finds.


A new global map of the world's oceans is so visually stunning that it could be mistaken for art.



The origins of two wacky beasts that Darwin dubbed the "strangest animals every discovered" had remained a mystery for some 180 years. But now, researchers say they've pinned down the evolutionary history of the two odd creatures.

Global emissions of carbon dioxide stalled in 2014, marking the first time in 40 years that there was no climb in CO2 emissions during a time of economic growth. The results suggest that efforts to reduce emissions may be on the upswing, but experts say the situations is not so simple.

The International Space Station now plays host to an experiment that could help scientists unlock the mysteries of Alzheimer's disease.


The debris from the military weather satellite that exploded in orbit last month doesn't pose a threat to any nearby European missions, officials with the European Space Agency have said.


This was another banner winter for snowy owl sightings in New York City. At least seven have been spotted since December, typically in wide-open areas that resemble their tundra homes.

A new video shot by a drone flying over and through the Large Hadron Collider provides a unique view of the immense particle detector.


Like a hidden world of chutes and ladders, the loopy plumbing beneath geysers might explain what causes them to erupt, a new study finds.

Geysers erupt — sending steam and hot water hundreds of feet into the air, and often releasing a frightening screech and the stench of rotten eggs — for reasons that mostly baffle scientists. But it makes for fun research expeditions and great photos.

A little injection of oxytocin can sober up drunken rats, reversing their clumsy alcohol-induced behaviors, scientists report.

Earth's worst mass extinction may have created the ideal conditions for preserving the ancient footprints of giant reptiles on the muddy ocean floor, according to a new study.


A gallery of the fossilized tracks of tetrapods during the early Triassic period.



A red dwarf and its brown dwarf companion buzzed through the outer Oort Cloud some 70,000 years ago, around the time when modern humans began migrating from Africa into Eurasia.

A strange set of 48 galaxies appears to be rich in dark matter and lacking in stars, suggesting that they may be so-called "failed" galaxies.


For the first time, a burst of radio waves hundreds of millions of times more energetic than the Sun was caught red-handed as it slammed into the Earth.


A bizarre sheet of clouds embraced the highest peak in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming last week, enchanting even the park's most seasoned visitors.


Astronomers are on the technological brink of being able to answer the age-old question: Are we alone? In my last feature article, we'll analyze the riveting search for Earth-like planets and look toward its bright future.

College takes a heavy toll on a student's mental health. The pressure of graduating on time, studying for exams, and ultimately planning for a carrer can be toxic. But now, there's a new item to add to the list: student loans.

A telescope in Chile has captured a stunning view of a celestial object appearing to devour distant stars and even space itself.


A newly discovered alien planet's ring system puts Saturn's collection to shame.



A haunting landscape of star systems, bubbles, and shock fronts lies toward the constellation of Taurus in an amazing new photo.


Most Americans support goverment action to combat the effects of global warming and will likely vote for candidates who put forth a promising stance on environmental issues, a new poll has found.


The trend in physics, as seen with BICEP2, is to announce discoveries before putting them through peer review — and on the whole this is a good thing.


From a quiet perch above a huge and threatening storm is a hauntingly beautiful view.



A huge asteroid will become the largest space rock of its kind to pass closest to Earth until 2027 today (Jan. 26) when it zooms safely by Earth beyond the orbit of the moon.


A mountain-size asteroid will zoom past Earth Monday (Jan. 26), marking the closest pass by such a large space rock until 2027.


Scientists have detected the origins of three bright gamma-ray signals from objects beyond our own Milky Way galaxy for the first time, including one signal from a strange "superbubble" of gas.


The best place to look for nearby Earth-size planets are around the smallest, coolest stars. New research shows that any exoplanets tightly circling their stars might have a better chance of being habitable than previously thought.

Walk through the first rainstorm of the season and it slowly hits you: that fresh, earthy smell. Now, scientists think they've identified the exact mechanism that releases this aroma into the environment.

A new study finds that kids eat more fruits and vegetables when school recess takes place before lunch, rather than after.


Astronomers are searching for the Holy Grail of science: to find life elsewhere in the galaxy. In light of incredible progress, many outstanding questions and philosophical contradictions remain unanswered.

Hidden behind a wacky light signature are two supermassive black holes in the final phases of a merger — something theoretically predicted but never before seen.


A large asteroid about a third of a mile wide will zoom safely by Earth this month, and mark the planet's closest encounter with a space rock of its size until 2027.

A NASA space telescope has spotted a colossal black hole chowing down on gas in a distant collision between two doomed galaxies.


In the constellation of Carina, lies the most luminous and mysterious star system within 10,000 light-years. Now, new 3-D printed models reveal never-before-seen features of this mysterious system.


The opportunity to directly image exoplanets will help astronomers learn an incredible amount about these alien worlds. Here are the first results from one of these instruments.


NASA's Kepler space telescope, designed to hunt for planets in our own galaxy, has helped measure an object much more distant and more massive than any of its detected planets: a black hole.

Astronomers from around the world gathered in Seattle for the 225th meeting of the American Astronomical Society. Here are some of the highlights from this morning's exoplanet session.

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