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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
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...
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...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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ScienceShot: The Milky Way Does the Wave
22 October 2013 5:45 pm
Stars in our part of the Milky Way seem to be doing “the wave,” a new study suggests. The finding comes from an analysis of the motions of more than 70,000 red giant stars that lie within 6500 light-years of Earth—a distance that, in one direction, reaches about one-fourth of the way to the center of the galaxy. Above the horizontal plane that slices through the center of the galaxy, stars closer to the center of the galaxy than the sun are, in general, moving away from the plane at speeds of 10 kilometers per second or less. Meanwhile, those farther from the galactic center than the sun are moving toward the plane—in some cases, as fast as 17 kilometers per second. All together, the complexity of motions observed by the team is similar to that seen among molecules in a gas with a sound wave passing through it, the researchers report this month in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. As of yet, the reasons for these anomalous motions aren’t clear, the researchers note. The “wave” may indeed be a ripple caused by a long-ago collision with a small companion galaxy, or it may result from perturbations in pressure triggered as the Milky Way’s spiral arms (artist’s concept above) push their way through space as the galaxy rotates.