Michelle Starr, ScienceAlert

Michelle Starr


Sydney, NSW, Australia

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Recent articles by Michelle:

Wolves in Germany Are Making a Comeback, And The Military Is Weirdly Helping

Humanity has always had an uneasy relationship with wolves. They loom large in our ancient mythologies as fearsome beasts; over the millennia, that fear has led to devastation of wolf populations across Europe, including 19th century Germany. → Read More

Astronomers Have Detected a Previously Unnoticed 'River of Stars' Flowing Past Earth

If you live in the Southern Hemisphere, next time you get the opportunity, go outside and look at the night sky. Most of that celestial plain is covered in a star cluster that's been torn apart by galactic tidal forces, and is now flowing past us a → Read More

This Footprint on Gibraltar Could Have Been Made by One of The Last Neanderthals

Thousands of years ago, an ancient hominin strode through a sand dune, leaving footprints behind. Most of these marks were lost to the ravages of the years, but one was preserved as the sand hardened to stone. → Read More

This Simple Optical Illusion Could Actually Cause a Delay in Your Brain

The Pinna-Brelstaff illusion is tremendous fun: concentric rings of shapes, with inverse shading. When you move your head closer to or farther from the illusion, the rings appear to rotate, expand, and contract (go ahead, we'll wait while → Read More

Astronomers Detect a Stellar Flare 10 Billion Times Brighter Than Ones From Our Sun

Our Sun can let out some solar flare rip-snorters from time to time, but it's actually pretty quiet when compared to some other stars out there. Particularly, it seems, turbulent young stars. And astronomers have just caught one belching out a real → Read More

People Keep Finding Human Feet on The Shores of This Peaceful Canadian Province

The British Columbia Coroners Service has asked the public to help identify a foot found in West Vancouver, on the shores of the Salish Sea. It might sound like a gruesome find at first, but it's actually a surprisingly common occurrence in t → Read More

Researchers Made an AI Whose Performance Increases if They Let It Sleep And Dream

Sleep is pretty great. In humans, evidence suggests it has a whole range of benefits, including this one: it keeps the brain healthy by letting neurons prune unnecessary synaptic connections we make during the day. → Read More

You Must See This Incredibly Rare Black Leopard Caught on Camera in Kenya

On shadowy paws in the dark of the night, the rare black leopard is rarely seen by human eyes. But now its breathtaking beauty has been captured in exquisite detail, thanks to trail cams and camera traps set up in Laikipia County in Kenya. → Read More

New Map of Dark Matter Spanning 10 Million Galaxies Hints at a Flaw in Our Physics

An invisible force is having an effect on our Universe. We can't see it, and we can't detect it - but we can observe how it interacts gravitationally with the things we can see and detect, such as light. → Read More

5 Times People Thought a Science Idea Was Crackpot, And Were Proven Spectacularly Wrong

Science has the power to change the world, but it's not always an easy path to enlightenment. At many junctures throughout history, proponents of revolutionary ideas have come up against criticism and pushback from the establishment. → Read More

This Zoo Is Offering to Turn Your Ex Into The Cockroach They Are And 'Kill' Them, Too

Valentine's Day. It's for suckers, right? A Hallmark holiday designed just to part you with your money. But El Paso Zoo in Texas can help you celebrate in a way that will warm the cockles of your cold, black heart - and it won't cost you a thing. → Read More

A Rare Asteroid Has Been Spotted Orbiting The Sun Closer Than Venus

We've been gazing out at the Solar System for a very long time, and by now we know, more or less, where things go. Sun, planets, asteroid belt, more planets, then millions more asteroids (we're not really sure how many). Maybe another planet. OK, so → Read More

This Incredible Bird Is Half Male, Half Female And Totally Real

Two bird lovers in Erie, Pennsylvania were only expecting to enjoy the company of their colourful feathered friends when they began setting up backyard feeders 25 years ago. → Read More

This Is The Last Full View The Kepler Spacecraft Saw Before It Shut Down Forever

On 30 October 2018 Kepler, NASA's planet-hunting space telescope, sent its last signal. It had been on the ropes for years due to failing reaction wheels, but engineers had managed to keep it operational. Then, last year, it finally ran out of fuel. → Read More

Hidden in This Glorious Image Is a Major Discovery About Star Formation

Some of the most spectacular pictures of deep space are of nebulae - gorgeously coloured clouds of dust and gas glowing from within. They look peaceful and serene, but in actuality, they're scenes of violence. → Read More

Scientists Just Defied Chemistry Basics by Flipping 'Left-Handed' Molecules With Light

Using a beam of light, chemists have figured out how to turn an asymmetrical molecule into a mirror image of itself, with the asymmetry on the other side. → Read More

Female Brains Appear to Be More Youthful Than Male Ones, Study Suggests

Scientists have just found a new distinction between the brains of the two sexes: age-related changes to the brain occur more slowly in women than in men. → Read More

Incredibly Rare Footage Shows a Newborn Humpback Whale Less Than 20 Minutes After Birth

A researcher studying whales and dolphins was treated to an extremely rare sight in January: a baby humpback whale swimming with its mum, less than 20 minutes after being born. → Read More

We Just Discovered The Milky Way Isn't Actually a Flat Disc After All

Apparently our galaxy really likes to boogie. It has, on several occasions, enjoyed a Monster Mash; now it's been caught doing the Twist. A new study has revealed that the Milky Way isn't a nice, neat, flat disc - it's seriously warped around the e → Read More

Our Environment Is Turning These Adorable Birds Into Violent, Brain-Eating Killers

Every spring in the Netherlands, the resident great tits (Parus major) build their nests in tree cavities, hatch their young, and send a new generation of fluffy little black-and-gold featherballs into the sky. → Read More