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Latest Jason X. Prochaska Stories

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2009-01-06 14:30:00

The brilliant afterglow of a powerful gamma-ray burst (GRB) has enabled astronomers to probe the star-forming environment of a distant galaxy, resulting in the first detection of molecular gas in a GRB host galaxy. By analyzing the spectrum of light emitted in the GRB afterglow, the researchers are gleaning insights into an active stellar nursery in a galaxy so far away it appears as it was 10 billion years ago. "This observation required a rare and exceptionally bright event to allow us to...

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2006-07-31 18:45:00

SANTA CRUZ, CA -- A survey of galaxies observed along the sightlines to quasars and gamma-ray bursts--both extremely luminous, distant objects--has revealed a puzzling inconsistency. Galaxies appear to be four times more common in the direction of gamma-ray bursts than in the direction of quasars. Quasars are thought to be powered by accretion of material onto supermassive black holes in the centers of distant galaxies. Gamma-ray bursts, the death throes of massive stars, are the most...


Word of the Day
attercop
  • A spider.
  • Figuratively, a peevish, testy, ill-natured person.
'Attercop' comes from the Old English 'atorcoppe,' where 'atter' means 'poison, venom' and‎ 'cop' means 'spider.' 'Coppa' is a derivative of 'cop,' top, summit, round head, or 'copp,' cup, vessel, which refers to 'the supposed venomous properties of spiders,' says the OED. 'Copp' is still found in the word 'cobweb.'
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