It's a pretty nifty science story to begin with: Scientists used a new technique to conduct what National Geographic calls the "first-ever penguin census from space." They pored over satellite images of Antarctica with resolution sharp enough to count about 600,000 emperor penguins on the continent. The best part, though, is that the figure is double the number scientists thought were there, notes the BBC.
"We are delighted," says a member of the British Antarctic Survey, which spotted seven new colonies The idea was to get a baseline count so scientists can monitor the effects of climate change on the penguins. And while the bigger number is welcome news, "it doesn't change the conservation concern for emperor penguins and many other species," says another researcher.