How astronomers are piecing together the mysterious origins of superluminous supernovae

Superluminous supernovae, though rare, tend to be found in star-forming regions of our universe. Image credit - ESO/L. Calçad/ Wikimedia, licenced under CC BY 3.0

by Jonathan O’Callaghan When a massive star reaches the end of its life, it can explode as a supernova. But there’s a unique type of supernova that’s much brighter that we’re just starting to understand – and which may prove useful in measuring the universe. Known as superluminous supernovae, these events are typically 10 to 100 … Read more

Plants can detect insect attacks by ‘sniffing’ each other’s aromas

Caterpillar saliva causes maize to release a fragrant chemical that prepares other parts of the plant for attack. Image credit - Pxhere, licensed under CC0

Fragrant aromas from plants can actually be a response to attacks by insects, and can alert neighbours to an attack or summon the insects’ predators. Now, scientists are deciphering these secret codes to develop better, greener chemicals to defend crops against herbivorous insects. Plants have nowhere to run from their enemies – flying, crawling and … Read more

Fish farmers seek new weapons to fight thriving parasites

The number of fish parasites is rising with climate change and as fish farming becomes more common, say researchers. Image credit - Flickr/Artur Rydzewski, licensed under CC BY 2.0

by Alex Whiting Salmon farmers battling large numbers of parasites that flourish on fish farms are seeking – and finding – new ways to cut their losses and protect marine wildlife. About 20% of farmed salmon in Norway die as a result of parasites, according to Seafarm Development, a company developing technologies for fish farms, and researchers … Read more