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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: Black Holes Are Messy Eaters
25 March 2011 1:22 pm
Intense magnetic fields near a black hole known as Cygnus X-1 may be stripping electrons from infalling material just milliseconds before it passes a point of no return and disappears within the black hole, according to new observations by the INTEGRAL gamma-ray observatory. The fields then channel these electrons away, allowing them to escape via powerful jets of material and radiation. The key evidence—the polarization of gamma rays emitted by material just before it is swept into the black hole—is reported online this week in Science. Because gamma-ray photons form only a small part of the radiation emitted by the black hole, researchers had to stitch together dozens of observations made by an Earth-orbiting telescope over the past 8 years to discern the polarized radiation. Although scientists still aren't sure how the jets spewing from the poles of black holes (see image) originate, the new image—one equivalent to taking a single time-lapse photo more than 5 million seconds, or more than 2 months, long—indicates that the magnetic fields near Cygnus X-1 may be hundreds of thousands of times stronger than Earth's.
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