Rare Transit of Venus

The transit of Venus across the sun is one of the rarest celestial sights visible from Earth, one that wowed scientists and amateur observers around the world Tuesday (June 5). The event, arguably the most anticipated skywatching display of the year, marked the last time Venus will cross the sun (as seen from Earth) for 105 years. Venus transits occur when Venus reaches a point in its orbit that brings the planet directly between the Earth and the sun.

Samsung Unveils Galaxy S III Smartphone

Samsung has launched its Galaxy S III smartphone, which it hopes will help solidify the company as the leading challenger to Apple and its iPhone 4S. The new smartphone, with a whopping 4.8-inch screen and an 8-megapixel camera, was unveiled at a slick launch party in London on Thursday. Billed by Samsung as having been designed for humans, the phone features voice and eye-recognition technology that the company hopes will set the handset ahead of its rivals in the crowded smartphone market.

Rare Venus Transit of Sun Occurs in June 2012

On June 5-6 of this year, a rare celestial event, called a transit of Venus, will take place.Venus is the second planet from the Sun, orbiting it every 224.7 Earth days. Venus and Earth are often called twins because they are similar in size, mass, density, composition and gravity. During the transit, Venus will pass directly in front of the sun from Earth’s perspective, appearing as a small, slowly moving black dot.

New Ancient Hominin Species Discovered in Ethiopia

A new type of hominid foot bone has been discovered in the Afar region of Ethiopia, showing that Lucy, the famous early human ancestor, had company. The 3.4 million-year-old bones have been shown not to belong to Australopithecus afarensis, but instead to a creature that spent much of its time in trees. It hasn’t yet been assigned a species, as no skull or teeth have yet been found. According to Dr. Yohannes Haile-Selassie of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History the Burtele partial foot clearly shows that at 3.4 million years ago, Lucy’s species, which walked upright on two legs, was not the only hominin species living in this region of Ethiopia.

Andre Kuipers Snapped Photo of Lava Crater in Mauritania

Dutch astronaut Andre Kuipers snapped the image of the so-called Richat structure in Mauritania, as the space station flew over the Sahara Desert on the Atlantic Coast of West Africa. Erosion of the various rock layers created the ring-like features that make up the sprawling structure, but according to geologists the origin of the Richat structure remains somewhat mysterious. The photo shows Andre Kuipers’ unique vantage point from the orbiting complex, which flies approximately 240 miles (386 kilometers) above the surface of the Earth.

New Family of Caecilians Found in India

A new family of caecilians, the most enigmatic branch of the amphibians, has been discovered in northeastern India.The animals, which at first glance resemble worms, live in forest soil and are most closely related to an African group of caecilians. The females incubate their young for several months without eating. As reported Royal Society journal Proceedings B, the animals may be threatened by population growth and slash-and-burn agriculture according to scientists. Caecilians are very hard to spot as they live either underground or under leaf litter that lies on the soil.