This week in science

JWST captures galaxy merger and more: Understand the world through 8 images

ESA/Webb, NASA & CSA, L. Armus & A. Evans

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope offered a new view of a previous Hubble target the week of October 20–26, as researchers unraveled mysteries behind desert blooms and plant distress signals.

Here are the biggest science stories of the week, told in 8 amazing images

8. Protective coat

Daniel Stahler/NPS

October 20

Researchers determined the gene that causes black coats in wolves may also protect against canine distemper virus. Black wolves are more likely to survive CDV than grey wolves, according to an analysis of 12 populations, and black wolves are more common in areas with CDV outbreaks.

Daniel Stahler/NPS

7. More than meets the eye

Oven Pérez-Nates

October 21

Researchers found that insects see an enormous range of colors during rare desierto florido (blooming desert) events in Chile’s Atacama Desert. Pollinators see far more variation than humans, which suggests the diversity evolved to encourage cross-pollination during short blooming periods.

Oven Pérez-Nates

6. Closer than you think

UQ/Matthew Luskin

October 21

Researchers found tiger, elephant, clouded leopard, and wild boar populations increased near human settlements in areas with adequate poaching and deforestation controls. While other animal populations declined, similar policies could help conservation efforts elsewhere.

UQ/Matthew Luskin

5. Ride the wave

Annalisa Bellandi

October 21

Scientists found calcium waves that move through plants when they’re wounded are likely a passive reaction to amino acid glutamate being released. Previously, scientists suspected hydraulic pressure or chemical reactions drove calcium waves.

Annalisa Bellandi

4. The nose knows

Han Hu et al

October 24

Researchers created a 3D image of a Jeholornis skull by compiling CT scans of a compressed skull. The resulting image suggests Jeholornis relied more on smell than modern birds and was adapted for daylight vision, based on the size of its olfactory bulbs and narrow bony rings around its eyes.

Michael Rothman

3. A familiar sight

NASA/Goddard/SwRI

October 25

NASA released an image of Earth taken by its Lucy spacecraft just before its gravity assist last week. The image is part of a process to calibrate the cameras Lucy will use to track the Trojan asteroids around Jupiter.

NASA/Goddard/SwRI

2. Cosmic crash

ESA/Webb, NASA & CSA, L. Armus & A. Evans

October 25

The James Webb Space Telescope captured IC 1623, a pair of merging galaxies previously spotted by the Hubble Space Telescope. Webb’s infrared sensors are better able to capture the galaxy merger, which could help astronomers untangle the effects of their interaction.

ESA/Webb, NASA & CSA, L. Armus & A. Evans

1. Double take

ESA/ROB

October 26

ESA’s Proba-2 satellite captured a partial solar eclipse twice within two hours as it orbited the Sun. Designed to observe the Sun’s corona, Proba-2 offered a unique view of the eclipse that’s impossible to see from Earth.

ESA/ROB