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Results of GSAT are in schools this week
2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
E Learning in Jamaica WIN PRIZES and try our Fun Animated Games
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In Antarctica watch the heat (and your step)
A Grim Future for Some Killer Whales
Digging into a Tsunami Disaster
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Watching for Wildfires in Yellowstone
Indoor ozone stopper
City Trees Beat Country Trees
Finding the Past
A Plankhouse Past
Settling the Americas
Chicken of the Sea
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A Jellyfish's Blurry View
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Great White Shark
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A Pepper Part that Burns Fat
Sponges' secret weapon
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GSAT English Rules
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Ministry of Education Announces 82 GSAT Scholarships for 2010
2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
How are students placed after passing the GSAT exam
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GSAT stars reap scholarship glory
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Prime Time for Cicadas
Math is a real brain bender
How to Slice a Cake Fairly
Human Body
Fighting Off Micro-Invader Epidemics
Don't Eat That Sandwich!
Tapeworms and Drug Delivery
Invertebrates
Crabs
Leeches
Butterflies
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Cornish Rex
Domestic Shorthairs
Bobcats
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The Surprising Meaning and Benefits of Nursery Rhymes
Choosing a Preschool: What to Consider
What Not to Say to Emerging Readers
Physics
The Mirror Universe of Antimatter
The Pressure of Scuba Diving
Hold on to your stars, ladies and gentlemen
Plants
A Giant Flower's New Family
A Change in Leaf Color
Farms sprout in cities
Reptiles
Asp
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Tortoises
Space and Astronomy
Burst Busters
A Dusty Birthplace
Asteroid Moons
Technology and Engineering
Squeezing Oil from Old Wells
A Clean Getaway
Are Propellers Fin-ished?
The Parts of Speech
Pronouns
What is a Preposition?
Problems with Prepositions
Transportation
Robots on the Road, Again
Morphing a Wing to Save Fuel
Where rivers run uphill
Weather
A Dire Shortage of Water
Weekend Weather Really Is Different
Warmest Year on Record
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Super Star Cluster in the Neighborhood

Imagine cramming hundreds of thousands of bright, young stars into a space no bigger than our solar system. Talk about a traffic jam! Astronomers have observed such "super" star clusters, but only in galaxies far, far away—until now. It turns out there's a massive, super-dense star cluster right in our own galaxy, the Milky Way. It was spotted by a team of European astronomers using several telescopes at the European Southern Observatory's La Silla site in Chile. Just 10,000 light-years from Earth (a mere jog across town in space terms), the cluster measures 6 light-years across. Its weight, the astronomers estimate, is at least as heavy as 100,000 suns. The cluster's name is Westerlund 1. The fact that the cluster exists isn't a total surprise. Since 1961, astronomers have known that some sort of grouping of young stars lies in the constellation Ara. Because the cluster hides behind a large cloud of gas and dust, though, they had no idea how packed with stars it is. Sensitive detectors on telescopes at La Silla helped the researchers identify more than 200 massive stars in Westerlund 1. Each of these stars, they found, weighs 30 to 40 times as much as the sun. Some of the stars are a million times brighter. A few are so big that they would reach all the way to Saturn if you could put them where our sun is. The telescopes in Chile were not sensitive enough to detect smaller stars in the cluster, but scientists are sure they must be there. There are probably at least a half-million more stars in Westerlund 1, they say. The astronomers estimate that the cluster is just 5 million years old. That's young in star years. The discovery could help illuminate what the universe was like in its early days. Back then, studies suggest, star formation tended to happen within clusters. Collisions among stars in the super cluster could also lead to the formation of a medium-sized black hole. Right here in our own backyard.—E. Sohn

Super Star Cluster in the Neighborhood
Super Star Cluster in the Neighborhood








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