The 10 most read science articles of The Hindu online in 2019

2019 was a happening year for the world of science — scientists shared the image of a black hole, proved superconductivity at room temperature, and even investigated a space crime.

December 30, 2019 03:39 pm | Updated 04:00 pm IST

Here is a list of the most read articles on our website this year.

10) Black hole image

On April 10, astronomers unveiled the first image of a black hole. A dark core encircled by a flame-orange halo of white-hot gas and plasma looks like any number of artists’ renderings over the last 30 years.

9) Universe’s first molecule detected in space

In a paper published in the journal Nature in April , researchers from The Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy (MPIfR) in Germany wrote that they had detected Helium hydride ion (HeH+) in space. It was one of the first molecules that formed when, almost 14 billion years ago, falling temperatures in the young universe allowed recombination of the light elements produced in the Big Bang.

8) 4,500-year-old language family

Based on new linguistic analyses by an international team, including researchers from Germany and India, the Dravidian language family was found to have originated about 4,500 years ago. The findings, published in the journal Royal Society Open Science , match earlier linguistic and archaeological studies.

7) Mountains under Earth’s crust

In a study published in the journal Science , scientists used data from an enormous earthquake in Bolivia and were able to find mountains on a layer located 660 km straight down, which separates the upper and lower mantle.

6) Superconductivity at room temperature

Putting to rest all doubts and criticism, a team led by Prof. Anshu Pandey from the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru confirmed that their material exhibits major properties of superconductivity at ambient temperature and pressure.

5) ‘Crying’ snake of Arunachal

A new snake species with a dark spot under its eyes that lookis like a black tear, caught the attention of our readers. The discovery of the non-venomous crying keelback, whose zoological name is Hebius lacrima , was published in Zootaxa in February.

4) Explained | How litchi toxin is causing the deaths of undernourished children in Muzaffarpur

The Hindu’s explainer on acute encephalitis syndrome and on whether the litchi fruit was responsible for the deaths of more than 400 children in Bihar, garnered a lot of attention.

3) Solar eclipse: The ‘ring of fire’

Parts of Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu witnessed on December 26 an annular solar eclipse, where the Sun appears as a ring (annulus) around the Moon. Our explainer on the phenomena was read by over 4.5 lakh users.

2) Cracking a space crime

U.S. space agency NASA started investigating what may be the first crime committed in outer space, The New York Times reported in August. Astronaut Anne McClain is accused of identity theft and improperly accessing her estranged wife's private financial records while on a six-month mission aboard the International Space Station (ISS), the Times said.

1) The charm of Chandrayaan-2

When NASA’s orbiter captured images of Chandrayaan 2 Lander Vikram’s attempted landing site, it also captured the attention of our readers. The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft snapped a series of images during its flyby on September 17, 2019 of Vikram’s attempted landing site near the Moon’s uncharted south pole.

Our live updates on the launch, ISRO’s ‘thank you’ note to all Indians, and the explainer on what went wrong with the mission were also among the most read articles of the year.

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