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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
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,...
Since arriving on the island of Guam in the 1940s, the brown tree snake ( Boiga irregularis ) has extirpated native...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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ScienceShot: Planets Orbit Dead Stars
8 January 2013 5:20 pm
LONG BEACH. CALIFORNIA—Planets appear to be everywhere astronomers look, even in orbit around white dwarf stars—the compacted and slowly cooling "corpses" of stars like our own sun. At the 221st meeting of the American Astronomical Society here, researchers reported the discovery of a planetary system around a white dwarf in the famous Hyades star cluster. This cluster is only 150 light-years from Earth and easily visible to the naked eye on a bright winter night. It's only the second time planets have been found in a cluster similar to the one that probably gave birth to our own sun. It's circumstantial evidence, though: The planets apparently stir up the rocky asteroid belt of the system, and as a result, the white dwarf's outer layers become "polluted" with asteroid dust, which in turn is detectable with sensitive spectroscopes. This may be the ultimate fate of our own solar system, after the sun sheds its gaseous mantle into space and condenses into a white dwarf.
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