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Did you know? Dolphins are in the whale family. 🐬 🐋
Happy #worldwhaleday from all of us at NOVA!

Rockets are becoming cheaper and more powerful than ever before thanks to stunning new technologies. As companies like SpaceX and Virgin Galactic make space more accessible, and NASA returns to crewed spaceflight, a new era of space exploration seems to be on the horizon. But will this seeming rocket Renaissance become more than just hype?
Check out “Rise of the Rockets,” streaming online now, to find out (link in bio☝️)

Each year, during the rainy season, Central America’s flora play host to hundreds of tiny green and yellow frogs and their masses of eggs. Called gliding tree frogs (Agalychnis spurrelli), they are cousins of the iconic red eyed tree frog, and strategically lays their eggs on long leaves, which hang over a body of water. In six to eight days, the eggs hatch, releasing the squirming tadpoles inside. They fall to the water below where they will grow, and, ultimately, metamorphose into adults.
Happy Valentine’s Day from all of us at NOVA ❤️🐸
📷 @sukeetatergram

Today is Charles Darwin’s 210th birthday.
“[The marine iguana] is a hideous-looking creature, of a dirty black colour, stupid and sluggish in its movements,” he wrote in “Voyage of the Beagle,” published in 1839. “These hideous reptiles may oftentimes be seen on the black rocks, a few feet above the surf, basking in the sun with outstretched legs.”
Despite his criticism of the Galapagos marine iguana, there is no denying the reptile—which is the only modern marine lizard on the planet—helped Darwin formulate his famous theory of evolution. #DarwinDay

Today is International Day of Women and Girls in Science! 🔬🦠🔭🧬🌑🚀
It’s no secret that science has a diversity issue. But the team behind New Horizons—which just revealed that the Kuiper Belt object Ultima Thule might resemble a pancake more than a snowman—is among the few that have made advances on the axis of gender and diversity.
Women now make up about 30 percent of the New Horizons staff, and about a quarter of the mission’s science leadership. Here, the team members give the “Pluto Salute” on the 11th anniversary of the New Horizons spacecraft launch.
#womeninscience #womeninSTEM 📷 @nasa/Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory

The albatross, which can soar over huge areas of the ocean, is a master of flight and migration.
To guide their way, these birds and others may use quantum entanglement to "read" Earth's magnetic field, a phenomenon that has long baffled scientists. But now, some researchers say they have a good working theory—and it shows that avian evolution has tapped into quantum mechanics.
Learn more on NOVA Next (link in bio☝️)

French archaeologists recently found the logbook of a labor team that delivered limestone blocks to build the Great Pyramid, yielding crucial insights into the planning and logistics behind the operation. That logbook happens to consist of the world’s oldest papyrus texts, which, amazingly, offer the only firsthand record of the building of the Great Pyramid.
The phrase “Akhet-Khufu,” which means the Horizon of Khufu, is repeatedly written in the logbook. In Ancient Egypt, “horizon” sometimes means “Mountain of Light”—somewhere where the sun rises or sets.
The Horizon of Khufu was the name the Ancient Egyptians gave to the sacred Great Pyramid, which today is the last remaining Wonder of the Ancient World.
“Decoding the Great Pyramid” premieres tomorrow night at 9/8c on @pbs
Music: APM

The 6 million-ton Great Pyramid of Giza is the last surviving Wonder of the ancient world. How did the Egyptians engineer the mighty pharaoh Khufu’s tomb so precisely, with none of today’s surveying and power tools? And who were the thousands of laborers who raised the stones? Were they slaves or volunteers, and how were they housed, fed, and organized?
“Decoding the Great Pyramid” premieres on Wednesday night at 9/8c on @pbs

As temperatures plummeted in Chicago, Lake Michigan took on the appearance of a giant boiling cauldron. This phenomenon happens when cold air (in this case, -20 degree winds) make contact with water just above freezing level. 💨❄️
Is the #polarvortex affecting your neighborhood?
Drone footage 🎥 by NOVA’s @whatthephysics
Music: APM

For some, waking up to see the sun rise evokes thoughts of joy. For others? Not so much.
According to a new study, over 350 regions in the human genome are linked to being an #earlybird. And the analysis, which pulls data from nearly 700,000 individuals enrolled in either the UK Biobank or with the personal genomics company 23andMe, suggests that morning people might be less likely to suffer from mental health issues.
Read more on NOVA Next (link in bio☝️)

Shimmering schools of fish, like this group of pennant coralfish, provide some of nature’s most captivating displays of synchrony. But with so many individuals in the mix, it’s a wonder that more of them don’t crash into each other.
According to a new study, animals that move in groups through fluids might have a dose of physics working in their favor. By surfing in the wake of individuals up ahead, schooling fish can keep pace with their leaders—even without mimicking their every move.
Learn more about the physics behind schooling, and how this can be applied to robotics, on NOVA Next (link in bio☝️)

Yesterday, @nasa’s New Horizons mission team released its best image of 2014 MU69, a 21-mile-long rock (aka “space snowman”) approximately 4 billion miles away from Earth. Nicknamed Ultima Thule, the formation is made up of two spherical rocks, which, NASA scientists believe, touched and fused together during our solar system’s early days, around 4.5 billion years ago.
The New Horizons spacecraft launched in 2006. Its first mission was to travel 3 billion miles (a process that took nine years) and conduct a flyby of Pluto.
Using the Hubble Space Telescope, NASA scientists identified Ultima Thule in 2014. They set their sights on—and New Horizons’ trajectory toward—Ultima, another billion miles beyond Pluto in the Kuiper Belt, and, on Jan. 1, 2019 at 12:33 a.m., conducted a successful flyby of the object.
This image was taken a mere seven minutes before the spacecraft’s closest approach.
📷 NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory

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