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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
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...
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,...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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ScienceShot: Planetary Roommates Are an Odd Couple
21 June 2012 2:00 pm
Kepler-36b and Kepler-36c are as close as two planets get. The duo orbit just 1.9 million kilometers apart around a star named Kepler-36a, 1200 light-years from Earth. That's the smallest distance ever observed for two worlds, 20 times closer than the two nearest planets in our solar system—Venus and Mercury—and a mere five times the length from Earth to the moon. Kepler-36b is a rocky world like ours, but about 4.5 times more massive. Its companion (shown in Kepler-36b's sky in this artist's conception) is a gas giant roughly the size of Neptune and composed mostly of hydrogen, helium, and water, astronomers report online today in Science. Planets of such different weights and made up of such different elements do not typically orbit so close to each other. One bit of good news: this odd couple is in no danger of colliding.
See more ScienceShots.