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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
Thousands of scientists in the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) are about to lose their jobs as a result of the...
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
Since arriving on the island of Guam in the 1940s, the brown tree snake ( Boiga irregularis ) has extirpated native...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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ScienceShot: A Pint-Sized Quasar
13 April 2010 7:01 pm
In May 2009, astronomers were watching M82, a galaxy about 10-million light-years away known for its ability to churn out new stars at a very rapid clip. Suddenly they spied an intensely bright light, which they thought at first was a new supernova, the explosive death of a giant star. But unlike a supernova, the light didn't dim. Even now, nearly a year later, the light shines just as brilliantly. What could it be? Tomorrow at a meeting of the Royal Astronomy Society in Glasgow, United Kingdom, a team proposes that the new phenomenon is something they're calling a micro-quasar, a pint-sized version of the brightest light in the universe. Quasars are caused by the close encounter of two supermassive black holes, each with billions of solar masses and crammed into tight quarters at the center of a galaxy. But because the phenomenon in M82 is much smaller, astronomers think its source objects must be more garden-variety black holes with masses on the order of dozens of suns.