Michelle Starr, ScienceAlert

Michelle Starr


Sydney, NSW, Australia

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Recent articles by Michelle:

Study: There May Be Exoplanets Out There Even Better Suited For Life Than Earth

The search for a habitable exoplanet has been a frustrating one. Although we've found a bunch of rocky planets orbiting at the right distance from their star, further investigation has so far mostly yielded nothing but barren poisonous rocks lashed w → Read More

Analysis of a Strange Erupting Magnetar Hints Link With Mysterious Fast Radio Bursts

A magnetar that recently erupted with a storm of activity may have given us a lead on the mystery of fast radio bursts (FRBs). → Read More

Scientists Just Used The Cosmos to Measure The Mass of a Ghost Particle

How do you weigh a ghost? If you're a cosmologist, you could use... the Universe. Combine vast cosmological data with info from particle accelerators, and, it turns out, you have a pretty good scale for measuring the mass of a neutrino - also known a → Read More

DNA Analysis Just Made The Eerie Mystery of Himalayan 'Skeleton Lake' Even Stranger

High in the Himalayas of India, amid the snow-capped peaks, nestles a mystery. Roopkund Lake is a shallow body of water filled with human bones - the skeletons of hundreds of individuals. It's these that give the lake its other name, Skeleton Lake, → Read More

New Experiment Just Placed a Major Constraint on The Mysterious Force of Dark Energy

The Universe is expanding, and that expansion is speeding up over time. These two facts have been well established through observation, but we don't know what's causing that expansion. It seems to be some mysterious, unknown energy that acts like t → Read More

The Effects of Climate Change Might Make Spiders Angry, According to New Study

A dramatically changing climate is going to have a lot of negative side effects we didn't predict, and scientists have just found a new one: really cranky spiders. → Read More

Brilliant Video Shows a Comet Get Utterly Vaporised by Our Sun

Between its raging heat and intense gravity, the region really close to the Sun is a pretty hazardous place. And that has been spectacularly demonstrated in a new video of a comet, like the legendary Icarus, falling to its doom when it veered a lit → Read More

Oh Great, There's a New Form of Plastic Pollution That Looks Exactly Like Rocks

Plastic pollution has reached the Antarctic wilderness. It's at Earth's highest peak, and its deepest chasm. And yet, the extent of this insidious plague can still take us by surprise. According to new research, plastic has now turned up camouflaged → Read More

Scientists Grew a Mysterious Life Form That Could Reveal The Origins of Complex Life

When scientists ran DNA analysis on a sediment core taken from the floor of the Arctic ocean back in 2010, they found something surprising. A previously unknown organism belonging to the strange domain of microbes called Archaea appeared to have ge → Read More

For The First Time Ever, Scientists Have Made a Stable Ring of Pure Carbon

Carbon can be arranged in a number of configurations. When each of its atoms is bonded to three other carbon atoms, it's relatively soft graphite. Add just one more bond and it becomes one of the hardest minerals known, diamond. Chuck 60 carbon ato → Read More

Early Reports Indicate We May Have Detected a Black Hole And Neutron Star Collision

It looks like we've bagged another win for gravitational wave astronomy. A new gravitational wave detection is the best candidate yet for a type of cosmic collision never seen - the elusive merger between a black hole and a neutron star. → Read More

A Human-Sized Penguin Fossil Has Turned Up in New Zealand, Again

Ah, New Zealand. The ancient home of enormous parrots. And, apparently, penguins that would tower menacingly over them. Researchers have found the remains of a beast that would have stood nearly as tall as a human, one of the biggest penguins to ever → Read More

Bones Reveal That Neanderthals Were Prone to Surfer's Ear, But Nobody Knows Why

Something weird can happen to the ears of people who hang out in the icy cold of the ocean's embrace. Small spurs of bone start growing in the ear canals, triggered by the irritation the cold temperatures cause on the inner ear. It's a condition seen → Read More

Astronomers Have Detected a Whopping 8 New Repeating Signals From Deep Space

One of the biggest mysteries out there in the Universe is inching closer to answers. An astonishing eight new repeating radio signals known as fast radio bursts (FRBs) have been detected flaring from deep space. → Read More

Incredible Fossil Fly Eyes Are Changing What We Know About Insect Eye Pigment

Around 54 million years ago, in the early Eocene, there lived a tiny crane fly. It may not have been a particularly remarkable crane fly while it was alive, but after it died, geological processes turned it into something magnificent: a fossil so bri → Read More

Astronomers Just Got Closer to Unravelling The Mystery of 'Glitching' Pulsars

A peculiar hiccup in the rotation speed of a dead star has turned out to be even more interesting than we thought. For the first time, astronomers have shown that the rotation of the Vela pulsar slowed down immediately before its 2016 glitch. → Read More

Astronomers Create Millions of 'Virtual Universes' to Find Out How Our Universe Evolved

The Universe is vast beyond imagination, containing billions upon billions of galaxies. We have a pretty good handle on a lot of galactic dynamics, but how these colossal objects form, grow, and change is still something we're struggling to underst → Read More

Our Galaxy's Supermassive Black Hole Has Emitted a Mysteriously Bright Flare

The supermassive black hole at the heart of the Milky Way, Sagittarius A*, is relatively quiet. It's not an active nucleus, spewing light and heat into the space around it; most of the time, the black hole's activity is low key, with minimal fluctu → Read More

You Must See The Glorious New Photo Hubble Has Taken of Jupiter

Recently, Jupiter entered a position in the sky known as opposition: almost directly opposite the Sun from Earth. It's the perfect time for eyeballing our Solar System's biggest planet - and the Hubble Space Telescope got in on the action. → Read More

These Sharks Produce an Eerie Glow Through a Mechanism Previously Unknown to Science

Glowing catsharks that lurk the briny depths have a fluorescence mechanism never seen before in another organism. And that glow could be conferring some serious perks - such as the ability to pick out other sharks among the many fluorescent things on → Read More