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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: One Planet, Four Suns
15 October 2012 11:57 am
Ordinary people have spotted an extraordinary world: a giant planet larger than Neptune and smaller than Saturn that inhabits a star system with four suns. The citizen scientists discovered the planet by examining data from NASA's Kepler spacecraft. Professional astronomers then confirmed the find, which they submitted to The Astrophysical Journal. Named PH1, the planet goes around two of the four stars, shown close-up here: One is a yellow-white F-type star that is slightly warmer and more luminous than our sun; the other, at the 11 o'clock position, is a red dwarf, cooler and dimmer than the sun. The two stars orbit each other every 20 days. The planet is the round black dot at the 4 o'clock position. (The black splotches elsewhere are starspots.) The planet goes around the stellar duo every 138 days—slower than Mercury (88 days), faster than Venus (225 days). At the 10:30 position, a second stellar binary appears, about 30 times farther away than Pluto is from the sun. At certain times of the planet's year, those distant suns shine during the day; but at other times, they light up its night.
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