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10 April 2014 11:44 am ,
Vol. 344 ,
Tight budgets are forcing NASA to consider turning off one or more planetary science projects that have completed their...
Ebola is not a stranger to West Africa—an outbreak in the 1990s killed chimpanzees and sickened one researcher. But the...
In an as-yet-unpublished report, an international panel of geoscientists has concluded that a pair of deadly...
Tropical disease experts tried and failed before to eradicate yaws, a rare disfiguring disease of poor countries. Now,...
Since 2002, researchers have reported that agricultural communities in the hot and humid Pacific Coast of Central...
Balkan endemic kidney disease surfaced in the 1950s and for decades defied attempts to finger the cause. It occurred...
The Pyrenean ibex, an impressive mountain goat that lived in the central Pyrenees in Spain, went extinct in 2000. But a...
- 10 April 2014 11:44 am , Vol. 344 , #6180
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ScienceShot: Lonely Planet Orbits Nearly Ten Times Farther Out Than Pluto
18 June 2010 1:49 pm
Now that's a lonely planet! Astronomers have discovered a world orbiting its star from 50-billion-kilometers away—or nearly 10 times farther out than Pluto is from our sun. Shown here in two different wavelengths of infrared light, the planet is following an orbit that takes about 6000 years to complete. How did such a large body form so far away from its sun? Reporting in an upcoming issue of The Astrophysical Journal, astronomers say the same cloud of dust and gas that gave birth to the star—known as 1RXS JI60929.1-210524 and located about 450 light-years away in the constellation Scorpius—probably split apart, which is what often happens when binary star systems are born. Except that in this case, the fragment was too small to produce anything but a very large, very cold, and extremely isolated planet.
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*This item has been amended to provide additional information.