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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
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...
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...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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Video: The Planet That Wasn't
5 April 2013 1:15 pm
The white orb in this video is more than meets the telescope lens. When astronomers saw red dwarf KOI-256 (large red object)—about 400 light-years away in the constellation Draco—dim every 28 hours or so, they first thought that a Jupiter-sized planet was passing in front. But upon looking closer at the Kepler space telescope data, they were surprised by how sharply the light dipped. Sensing something strange, the astronomers measured how much the red dwarf wobbled from the object's gravitational pull and found it wobbling 1000 times more intensely than it should. It turned out that the "planet" was actually a collapsed star, the researchers report in an upcoming issue of The Astrophysical Journal, and the dimness was caused when the smaller star passed behind KOI-256, blocking its light. When the astronomers returned to the Kepler data to look for the collapsed star passing in front, they found a surprisingly mild dip in brightness. That's because, although the tiny star is Earth-sized, it's as massive as our sun and about 75,000 times as dense as KOI-256. So its intense gravity acts as a lens, magnifying KOI-256's light in Earth's direction.
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