Jon HamiltonJon Hamilton is a correspondent for NPR's Science Desk. Currently he focuses on neuroscience, health risks, and extreme weather.
The northern lights dance over the Knik River near Palmer, Alaska. Activity on the surface of the sun creates this natural light show, but severe solar storms could devastate Earth's power and water utilities, and knock out communications.
The golden mask of Tutankhamen is displayed at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. New research suggests that the famous pharaoh suffered from numerous ailments, and probably spent much of his life in pain before dying at 19 from the combined effects of malaria and a broken leg.
Cell phone use while driving is one distraction that can contribute to driver-induced accidents. Research shows that drivers are at least partly to blame for accidents about 90 percent of the time and wholly to blame more than half the time.
Robert F. Bukaty/AP
Coronal loops, seen here, are fountains of multimillion-degree gas in the atmosphere of the sun. They are often precursors to solar flares, which emit strong bursts of electromagnetic energy.
A man stands inside a backscatter scanner at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. Backscatter technology uses low-level X-rays to detect hidden metallic and nonmetallic objects, such as weapons and explosives, without physical contact.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images