Martin Luther King Day, which will be observed on January 17, 2022, is about more than honoring the legacy of the American civil rights activist. It is the only US federal holiday designated as a national day of service — a "day on, not a day off." Americans are encouraged to celebrate the occasion by participating in service activities to help their local communities.
The season's first winter storm — which brought significant snowfall to the Washington, DC, area on January 3, 2022 — could not have come at a better time for the residents of the Smithsonian's National Zoo. With the park closed to visitors due to the inclement weather, the animals were able to welcome the New Year with several snow days all to themselves.
Desmond Mpilo Tutu, a leading activist in South Africa's fight against apartheid, passed away on December 26, 2021. The 90-year-old retired archbishop, who also spearheaded the country's smooth transition from apartheid to democracy, had been battling prostate cancer since 1997. Mr. Tutu was laid to rest at a state funeral at St. George's Cathedral, Cape Town, on January 1, 2022.
The name millipede, which translates to a "thousand feet," is a bit of a misnomer. Many species of the arthropods have fewer than 100 legs, and even the record holder — the Illacme plenipes — boasts a "mere" 750 legs. Now, a team led by Virginia Tech entomologist Paul Marek has finally found the world's first "true" millipede — one with over 1,300 legs!
On December 31, 2021, the world happily bid farewell to yet another year of COVID uncertainties and welcomed 2022 with high hopes. The celebrations were scaled back, or in some cases even canceled, due to the rapid spread of the new coronavirus variant, Omicron. However, the variant's milder symptoms and lower fatality rates has renewed optimism that the pandemic would soon be behind us. Here are some of this year's most spectacular fireworks displays from around the world.
On December 14, 2021, NASA officials revealed that the Parker Solar Probe had successfully pierced through the Sun's outer atmosphere — the corona — and "touched" the star. The historical feat was achieved on April 28, 2021, during the spacecraft's eighth flyby, when it was about 8.1 million miles away from the star. The space probe spent five hours collecting magnetic and solar particle data from the Alfvén critical surface — the point that marks the end of the Sun's atmosphere.
To a casual observer, the artwork in the image above may appear to be the scribbles of a toddler or — as is the case here — orangutans. However, a new study by French scientists has found that the seemingly random patterns showcase the primate artists' distinct style and ability, and possibly even state of mind.
On Tuesday, December 21, Northern Hemisphere residents will enjoy the shortest day of 2021. Known as the winter solstice, it also marks the start of the astronomical winter season. This means that while the days following will grow longer, they will also be colder. Conversely, Southern Hemisphere residents will celebrate the summer solstice — the beginning of their astronomical summer — with the longest day and shortest night of the year.