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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: Kepler Watches Stellar Throbbing
7 April 2011 2:00 pm
Launched in March 2009, NASA's Kepler observatory has become synonymous with the search for extra-solar planets. But that's not all it's been doing up in space. The spacecraft has also been recording the gentle pulsations of stars—the small variations in their brightness caused by sound waves throbbing outward from the stellar core to the surface (seen in the yellow star in illustration). In the latest issue of Science, researchers report measuring these pulsations for some 500 sun-like stars, which is enabling statistical studies of stellar characteristics like mass, radius and age and test models of stellar evolution. In another paper in the same issue, a different research team reports using Kepler data to detect a system of three stars, which includes a red giant star and two red dwarfs. Although astronomers thought that the red giant would show sun-like oscillations caused by waves from within, they found that the star's pulsations were being driven by the waxing and waning of gravity from the orbital motion of the two red dwarfs. Researchers hope to use these observations to gain new insights into the formation of stellar systems, as well as the evolution of stars.
See more ScienceShots.