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24 April 2014 11:45 am ,
Vol. 344 ,
Major climate data sets have underestimated the rate of global warming in the last 15 years owing largely to poor data...
The tsetse fly is best known as the vector for the trypanosome parasites that cause sleeping sickness and a disease in...
The National Institutes of Health is revising its "two strikes" rule, which allowed researchers only one chance to...
By stabilizing the components of retromers, molecular complexes that act like recycling bins in cells, a recently...
Fossil fuels power modern society by generating heat, but much of that heat is wasted. Semiconductor devices called...
Researchers are gaining insights into what made Supertyphoon Haiyan so powerful and devastating through post-storm...
Millions around the world got a first-hand look at what it was like to be in Tacloban while it was pummeled by...
- 24 April 2014 11:45 am , Vol. 344 , #6182
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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.