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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
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...
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...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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ScienceShot: Star Gulp Gives Black Hole Indigestion
24 August 2011 1:00 pm
A giant black hole in the constellation Draco bit off more than it could chew. On 25 March, NASA's Swift satellite detected an x-ray flare when a black hole 3.9 billion light-years from Earth tore a passing star to shreds. The flare arose because friction and gravity roasted the star's remains and made them glow brilliantly before the black hole swallowed them. Now, as astronomers report online today in Nature, the x-ray data as well as radio observations indicate the fireworks caused a narrow jet of material to shoot away from the black hole's outskirts. Similar jets emerge from other black holes, but this is the first time that astronomers have witnessed the birth of one. The black hole in Draco resides at the center of a far-off galaxy and is about the same size as the 4-million-solar-mass black hole marking the Milky Way's heart. Although our galaxy's black hole is currently quiet, this discovery means just one wayward star can spark a spectacle.
See more ScienceShots.