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6 March 2014 1:04 pm ,
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Considered an icon of conservation science, researchers at World Wildlife Fund (WWF) headquarters in Washington, D.C.,...
The new atlas, which shows the distribution of important trace metals and other substances, is the first product of...
Early in April, the first of a fleet of environmental monitoring satellites will lift off from Europe's spaceport in...
Since 2000, U.S. government health research agencies have spent almost $1 billion on an effort to churn out thousands...
Magdalena Koziol, a former postdoc at Yale University, was the victim of scientific sabotage. Now, she is suing the...
Antiretroviral drugs can protect people from becoming infected by HIV. But so-called pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP...
Two studies show that eating a diet low in protein and high in carbohydrates is linked to a longer, healthier life, and...
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ScienceShot: Speeding Star Was Born on the Run
22 July 2010 2:53 pm
The Energizer bunny has nothing on HE 0437-5439. This massive blue star should have burnt out tens of millions of years ago, but it's still going strong. The mystery has puzzled astronomers ever since they discovered the big star, which has zoomed well beyond the boundaries of the Milky Way, in 2005. They knew that the black hole at the center of our galaxy must have ejected it; otherwise it could never have traveled so far so fast. But because the journey took 100 million years, and hot blue stars only live about a third that long, the star should have gone kaput long ago. The explanation, astronomers report this week in The Astrophysical Journal Letters, is that HE 0437-5439 wasn't always a blue star. According to their calculations, it actually started out as a couple of run-of-the-mill yellow stars like our sun, which can live for billions of years. But millions of years after the black hole ejected them, the two stars merged. So HE 0437-5439 has trekked most of its 200,000 light-years as a youthful pair of suns—but now, as an aged blue giant, it's quickly dying.
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