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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
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...
An animal rights group known as the Nonhuman Rights Project filed lawsuits in three New York courts this week in an...
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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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.