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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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ScienceShot: Blinded by the X-ray Light
14 July 2010 4:24 pm
Modern telescopes are optimized to ferret out the faintest sources, but that spells trouble when a dazzling explosion erupts. On 21 June, a dying star in a distant galaxy unleashed a siren song of x-rays so intense it briefly blinded the x-ray telescope aboard NASA's orbiting Swift observatory. At its peak, the burst slammed the telescope with 143,000 x-ray photons per second, making it the brightest x-ray burst ever seen beyond the Milky Way and its satellite galaxies. The intense radiation was part of a gamma-ray burst that lasted a minute and which marked the death of a massive star transmogrifying itself into a black hole. Not surprisingly, the brightest celestial x-ray source is our sun, but that's hardly fair competition, since it's so close. In contrast, the June burst arose from a star located 5 billion light-years away—300 trillion times more distant than the sun.
See more ScienceShots.