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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
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...
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...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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ScienceShot: Jupiter's Blistering Fate
17 July 2012 4:20 pm
Jupiter, long known for its high radiation and spectacular atmospheric storms, is still a relatively cool planet compared with similar-sized worlds astronomers have spotted. But not forever. In several billion years, our sun, entering its so-called red giant phase (artist's impression above), will expand to roughly 100 times its present size, shrinking its distance from Jupiter from 765 million to roughly 500 million kilometers and causing the giant planet to glow like "faint red coils" on a hot electric stove. That's according to a new study to be published in the 10 September issue of The Astrophysical Journal. Once the sun exhausts its hydrogen fuel, its outward expansion will heat Jupiter's surface beyond 1000 K, not unlike the plethora of "hot Jupiters" elsewhere in the galaxy known to circle their own sunlike stars on orbits of sometimes only a few hours. As for our own fate in all of this? If the sun does expand to 100 times its present size, and Earth stays in its current orbit, the sun would easily overtake it. That's a point not lost on the paper's lead author David Spiegel, an astrophysicist at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey: "My best guess is that Earth will be swallowed and Jupiter will not."
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