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17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
Vol. 344 ,
Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
Using the two high-quality genomes that exist for Neandertals and Denisovans, researchers find clues to gene activity...
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
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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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