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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
Thousands of scientists in the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) are about to lose their jobs as a result of the...
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...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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ScienceShot: Distant Quasar Is Early Universe's Brightest Object
29 June 2011 1:00 pm
The light from this cosmic beacon took 12.9 billion years to reach Earth, but the sight was worth the wait. Astronomers say it is the most distant quasar, a massive black hole surrounded by luminous gas, that they have ever seen as well as the brightest object to be sighted in the early universe. Its distance means astronomers are seeing it blazing away at a time when the universe was merely 770 million years old, a team reports online today in Nature. The quasar's brilliance is powered by a monstrous black hole at its center that's 2 billion times more massive than the sun. The energy radiating from it would have contributed to the last phase of reionization of the early universe, the process that helped clear away the hydrogen fog shrouding the infant cosmos. More distant objects have been spotted in recent years, such as a gamma ray burst and a galaxy more than 13 billion light-years away, but this quasar is hundreds of times more luminous.
See more ScienceShots.