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Fast-flying fungal spores
Tree Frogs
Frogs and Toads
Fishy Cleaners
Chicken Talk
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Listen and Learn
Supersonic Splash
Tropical Birds
Chemistry and Materials
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Games with a Purpose
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Results of GSAT are in schools this week
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Quick Quake Alerts
Coral Gardens
Catching Some Rays
A Change in Climate
Shrinking Fish
Finding the Past
If Only Bones Could Speak
Words of the Distant Past
A Long Trek to Asia
Great White Shark
Food and Nutrition
A Pepper Part that Burns Fat
Strong Bones for Life
In Search of the Perfect French Fry
GSAT English Rules
Whoever vs. Whomever
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GSAT Exam Preparation Jamaica
The Annual GSAT Scholarships
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Human Body
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Spitting Up Blobs to Get Around
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Surprise Visitor
Fungus Hunt
Copperhead Snakes
Space and Astronomy
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An Earthlike Planet
A Great Ball of Fire
Technology and Engineering
Space Umbrellas to Shield Earth
Dancing with Robots
Young Scientists Take Flight
The Parts of Speech
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How to Fly Like a Bat
Watering the Air
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Dark Galaxy

The Milky Way is packed with stars, comets, asteroids, moons, and planets, including our own. Other galaxies in the universe are similarly crammed full of stars and various objects. Astronomers have now spied something very unusual. They've found a patch of space that looks empty but actually appears to be a galaxy that contains no stars. Theorists had proposed that such "dark" galaxies could exist, but no one had ever seen one before. The mysterious object is in an area of space known as the Virgo cluster of galaxies. This cluster is the closet one to the Milky Way and contains more than 100 galaxies of various types, including spiral and elliptical galaxies. Five years ago, astronomers at Cardiff University in Wales noticed that this vast region has a pair of isolated clouds made up of hydrogen gas. Further observations revealed that one of the clouds is associated with a faintly glowing galaxy. This makes sense because balls of hydrogen gas usually indicate an area where stars are forming. The other hydrogen ball, however, appears to have no glowing galaxy as a partner. Yet, other observations suggest that it's part of a massive object weighing as much as a galaxy of 100 billion suns. The astronomers propose that the object, named VIRGOHI21, is full of a mysterious substance called dark matter. And they say there might be many more galaxies just like it. Astronomers just haven't spotted them yet. For now, there's a lot of explaining to do. "Seeing a dark galaxy—a galaxy without any stars—is like seeing a city without any people," says astronomer Robert Minchin of Cardiff University. "We want to know why nobody lives there."—E. Sohn

Dark Galaxy
Dark Galaxy

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