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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: No Star Left Behind
17 August 2012 12:19 pm
Contrary to expectations, the brightest supernova in recorded history left no star in its wake, say astronomers who have searched the celestial wreckage (shown). In 1006, observers watched a star explode in the constellation Lupus that shone about a dozen times more brilliantly than Venus ever does. The explosion was a Type Ia supernova, the most luminous variety, which occurred when a small, dense star known as a white dwarf blew up about 7000 light-years from Earth. Such a supernova is supposed to result when a larger companion star dumps material onto the white dwarf, triggering a runaway nuclear reaction that annihilates the small star. However, as astronomers will report in The Astrophysical Journal, a thorough search for the companion, which should have survived the explosion, has turned up nothing. This finding dovetails with a similar nondetection in a nearby galaxy and suggests the explosion arose instead when two white dwarfs that were in orbit around each other merged and blew up—hinting that more Type Ia supernovae may stem from double white dwarfs than astronomers had thought.
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