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17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
Vol. 344 ,
Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
Using the two high-quality genomes that exist for Neandertals and Denisovans, researchers find clues to gene activity...
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
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ScienceShot: The First Carbon Planet?
8 December 2010 1:13 pm
So you think you live on a carbon-rich planet? Silly Earthling! Although terrestrial life is based on carbon, the element makes up precious little of the Earth's crust. Instead, oxygen—locked in silicate rocks—constitutes nearly half of the surface beneath your feet. Now astronomers have found a planet they say really is carbon-rich. Reporting online today in Nature, they say it circles a sunlike star named WASP 12 in the constellation Auriga, roughly 800 light-years away. The world is a gas giant like Jupiter that orbits so close to its star that it sizzles at thousands of degrees. By studying the planet's infrared glow, the astronomers discovered that its air abounds with the carbon-bearing molecules carbon monoxide and methane, implying that the planet could have carbide (a compound of carbon and metal) rather than silicate in its interior. If so, that makes it unlike any world in our solar system.
See more ScienceShots.