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New reports show that Earth’s surface temperature last year was its highest since modern temperature record keeping began in 1880. The global record was also broken in 2014, although 2015 saw dramatic increases by comparison.

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(babeltravel / Flickr)

Earlier this month, North Korea claimed to have successfully detonated its first hydrogen bomb as a "self-defense against the U.S." While it was known that the secretive, totalitarian dictatorship had atomic weapons, the assertion to have successfully tested a far more powerful hydrogen bomb has been greeted with skepticism.

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Juvenile channel catfish released into the Chicago River on May 12, 2015. (Friends of the Chicago River)

Two organizations have joined forces to release nearly 200,000 fish into the Chicago and Calumet waterways over the past two years. Not only are these new residents helping to rehabilitate the rivers, they're also the inspiration behind an upcoming art installation along the Chicago Riverwalk.

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Alice, the famous smelly flower of the Chicago Botanic Garden, is bearing fruit – hundreds of them.

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A common redpoll examines seeds from a birch tree at the Chicago Botanic Garden (Carol Freeman/Chicago Botanic Garden)

Birds not ordinarily found in Chicago visit the region during the winter to utilize natural – and man-made – resources.

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The Penn State astronomer will discuss his involvement in an astrological event from 2014 which many at the time speculated to be a sign of alien life. 

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SpaceX's Falcon 9, left, and Blue Origin's New Shepard. (SpaceX / Flickr, Franke360 / Wikimedia)

Last month, Elon Musk's SpaceX successfully landed one of its Falcon 9 rockets back onto its launch pad. In November, Jeff Bezos’ company Blue Origin landed its sub-orbital capsule New Shepard. Space enthusiast and Fermilab physicist Don Lincoln recently wrote a column on the Musk versus Bezos competition and shares his insights.

New Website Explains What Can and Can’t be Recycled

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Starting Jan. 1, items placed in the city’s blue recycling carts must be loose. That means no plastic bags. Learn more about Chicago's rules for recycling.

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A new high-tech analysis of the fossilized jaw bone of Haramiyavia clemmenseni, one of our earliest ancestors, is shedding new light on the mammalian family tree. University of Chicago paleontologist Neil Shubin was one of the lead authors of the study and he joins us in studio to talk us through the findings.

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It raked in nearly $250 million in its first weekend, garnering critical acclaim along the way. "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" is well on its way to becoming the highest-grossing movie of all time. Tonight, we revisit a 2013 "Chicago Tonight" report that introduced viewers to the Chicago computer scientists who helped make some key special effects in the very first "Star Wars" movie.

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Simulating the evolution of the cosmos. A local physicist is here to talk about using supercomputers to delve into the mysteries of the universe.

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With an average of 60 to 70 meteors per hour and roughly one or two sightings per minute during its peak, the Geminids offers the most abundant, reliable meteor show of the year. Find out when to turn your eyes to the sky.

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The drones are coming, and on Thursday the City Council debated new rules on where and when they can fly in Chicago. Paris Schutz has the details.

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WGN meteorologist Tom Skilling tells us how a huge El Nino in the works could affect the upcoming winter. 

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Lisa Randall

Dark matter: we can't see it, but it's believed to make up 85 percent of all matter in the universe and without it we almost certainly wouldn't be here. Particle physicist and New York Times bestselling author Lisa Randall joins us to discuss her new book "Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs: The Astounding Interconnectedness of the Universe."

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Gavin Van Horn

Chicago is not defined solely by its human residents. It’s a city with a living, evolving "ecological web of interactions" between man and animal, according to Gavin Van Horn. He joins "Chicago Tonight" to talk about "City Creatures," a book which details urban wildlife history through essays, poetry, photography and paintings.