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Where Have All the Bees Gone?
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A Whale's Amazing Tooth
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Island of Hope
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Spinning Clay into Cotton
Meteorites may have sparked life on Earth
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The hungry blob at the edge of the universe
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Results of GSAT are in schools this week
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Deep Drilling at Sea
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Springing forward
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Lessons from a Lonely Tortoise
Toxic Cleanups Get a Microbe Boost
The Down Side of Keeping Clean
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Stone Tablet May Solve Maya Mystery
A Human Migration Fueled by Dung?
Oldest Writing in the New World
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Symbols from the Stone Age
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Setting a Prime Number Record
A Sweet Advance in Candy Packing
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Prime Time for Broken Bones
Surviving Olympic Heat
A Better Flu Shot
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Dust Mites
Corals
Roundworms
Mammals
Humans
Ferrets
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Parents
Choosing a Preschool: What to Consider
What Not to Say to Emerging Readers
The Surprising Meaning and Benefits of Nursery Rhymes
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Powering Ball Lightning
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Spin, Splat, and Scramble
Plants
Cactus Goo for Clean Water
Sweet, Sticky Science
Making the most of a meal
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Space and Astronomy
Asteroid Moons
Sounds of Titan
Sun Flips Out to Flip-Flop
Technology and Engineering
Weaving with Light
Searching for Alien Life
Squeezing Oil from Old Wells
The Parts of Speech
Problems with Prepositions
Pronouns
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Transportation
Troubles with Hubble
Flying the Hyper Skies
Tinkering With the Basic Bike
Weather
In Antarctica watch the heat (and your step)
Polar Ice Feels the Heat
Earth's Poles in Peril
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Solving a Sedna Mystery

Orbiting beyond Pluto, a planetoid called Sedna has aroused plenty of curiosity—and created some confusion—since its discovery last year. It's the most-remote object known in the solar system. Astronomers have been especially frustrated by their inability to find a moon around the distant object. The first observations had suggested that there ought to be one. These observations appeared to show that Sedna spins very slowly, just once every 20 days. Only the tug of a little moon could explain this lazy spin rate. Images taken by the Hubble Space Telescope, however, failed to turn up a moon. Now, researchers from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass., say they have solved the puzzle. New measurements show that Sedna doesn't spin so slowly after all. Using a highly sensitive telescope on Mount Hopkins in Arizona, the astronomers measured periods of brightness and darkness on Sedna. The results showed that the planetoid spins some 50 times faster than previous estimates had suggested. Elsewhere, researchers turned up other interesting news about Sedna. Contrary to earlier assumptions, they found that Sedna doesn't appear to have any ice on its surface. That's strange because it's very cold so far away from the sun. And Pluto, which is closer to the sun, has lots of ice on it. So does Pluto's moon, Charon. The explanation for this mystery, the scientists suggest, is that Sedna used to have an icy surface. However, constant bombardment by cosmic rays and the sun's ultraviolet light produced a dark coating instead. Because Pluto and Charon orbit closer to the sun than Sedna, they might encounter more debris than Sedna does. Frequent collisions with this debris could then either prevent a dark coating from forming or deliver fresh ice to their surfaces.—E. Sohn

Solving a Sedna Mystery
Solving a Sedna Mystery








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