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10 April 2014 11:44 am ,
Vol. 344 ,
The Pyrenean ibex, an impressive mountain goat that lived in the central Pyrenees in Spain, went extinct in 2000. But a...
Tight budgets are forcing NASA to consider turning off one or more planetary science projects that have completed their...
Ebola is not a stranger to West Africa—an outbreak in the 1990s killed chimpanzees and sickened one researcher. But the...
In an as-yet-unpublished report, an international panel of geoscientists has concluded that a pair of deadly...
Tropical disease experts tried and failed before to eradicate yaws, a rare disfiguring disease of poor countries. Now,...
Since 2002, researchers have reported that agricultural communities in the hot and humid Pacific Coast of Central...
Balkan endemic kidney disease surfaced in the 1950s and for decades defied attempts to finger the cause. It occurred...
- 10 April 2014 11:44 am , Vol. 344 , #6180
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ScienceShot: Compact Solar System Could Fit Inside Mercury's Orbit
15 October 2012 1:56 pm
The paths of the sun's planets take up billions of kilometers of space, but now astronomers using NASA's Kepler spacecraft (shown) have spotted an alien solar system with five planets whose orbits could all fit inside a region that's just a quarter the size of Mercury's path. Kepler found the planets going around the star KOI 500 by detecting the tiny dips they cause when they pass in front of their sun, dimming its light ever so slightly. The planets are somewhat larger than Earth, and all five make Mercury, the sun's fastest planet, which whirls around our star every 88 days, seem like a laggard. Their years are just 1.0, 3.1, 4.6, 7.1, and 9.5 days long, so they're the perfect place to reside if you like frequent birthday parties—and can stand the heat.
See more ScienceShots.