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Science Illustrated Issue 80

Science Illustrated delivers natural science, break through discoveries and an understanding of the world for the entire family. Packed with stunning photography and in-depth editorial it’s a visually spectacular gateway to the world looking into the beginning of life to distant objects in the universe.

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8 Issues

in this issue

4 min
reader survey 2021

Who are you? We really want to know. We love hearing from our readers at any time, via email, or online at our website, on our social media pages. But in order to continue delivering you the best, the most relevant and intriguing science content for you all, we’re running a READER SURVEY so you can tell us what you like, what you’d like more of, and what (if anything) you may tend to skip over. We shall then use this to fashion our content in 2021 and beyond! AS A THANK YOU for taking part we have included “I like Science Illustrated magazine because…” at the end, to be answered in 25 words or less, and we will send this whole mini science library shown here to the author of…

1 min
jelly babies: photographer captures bee birth up close

In 2019, authorities allowed German wildlife photographer Ingo Arndt to fell a tree that contained a bee hive and place it in his garden. Arndt then cut a hole in the back of the tree to access the hive and document bee birth at close proximity. Bees begin their lives as larvae in royal jelly, surrounded by bee wax. The jelly is so nutritious that a larva increases its weight 500-fold in six days. The larva then pupates, and two weeks later the young bee eats its way through the cell’s thick layer of wax.…

1 min
screen test: world’s biggest camera shoots a vegetable

A new image sensor at the American SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory has a resolution so high that 378 Ultra High Definition TVs would be needed to show all the detail of images it captures. It was built to photograph the universe, as part of the Vera C. Rubin telescope under construction in Chile, and its sensor measures 61cm across – almost 20 times the sensor size used in a professional D-SLR camera. But the scientists tested it with something rather closer to home, taking the world’s largest ever photo – of a head of broccoli.…

6 min
venus still has volcanic activity

ASTRONOMY Venus has been nicknamed ‘Earth’s evil twin’, because of the extreme conditions of the environment on our neighbouring planet. The two planets are similar in terms of size and mass, but temperatures on the surface of Venus exceed 400°C, while the pressure corresponds to being a kilometre deep in the ocean here on Earth. It has long been known that violent volcanism occurred in the past on Venus, generating huge quantities of CO2 that contributed to an out-of-control greenhouse effect and the hostile conditions we see today. But astronomers were unsure whether there are still active volcanoes on the planet. Scientists from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology have now found evidence suggesting that the answer is yes. They used computer simulations to examine how a volcanic crater on Venus might…

2 min
pigs reverse human lung damage

MEDICINE Patients in need of an organ transplant often face a waiting list because demand for transplants is higher than supply. This is made worse by available donor organs often being in such a poor condition that doctors cannot use them. Lungs are also particularly fragile organs which weaken quickly outside the body, so that doctors must transplant them into a recipient within a few hours. Scientists from Columbia University in the US have invented a method that can not only keep the lungs fresh for longer, it could actually improve their condition. The lungs’ blood vessels are connected to the carotid artery of a pig, which then functions as the lungs’ blood supply. The living pig keeps the lungs alive. The scientists used five sets of lungs that had been rejected for…

10 min
can clouds really ‘shine’ at night?

METEOROLOGY Night clouds ‘shine’ because they are still illuminated by sunlight after sunset. That is only possible when the clouds are located at an altitude of about 80km in the part of the atmosphere known as the mesosphere, which is almost in space. Ordinary clouds are located no more than 13km above Earth. The effect is also most common between 45 and 70 degrees latitude either north or south, so the phenomenon is rare in Australia, though more common in New Zealand and northern Europe. In 1833, the volcano Krakatoa, now in Indonesia, started to erupt. Over the following years, shining night clouds frequently appeared over cities such as London, the result of billions of tonnes of chemicals and dust sent into the atmosphere. But the clouds continued after other signs…