Orpheus

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The Secret of Cygnus X-3

BY ANDREW COLLINS

Recently the prestigious journals Nature and Science announced that Cygnus X-3, either a black hole or neutron star located 30,000 light years away in the constellation of Cygnus, the celestial swan, has now been shown to produce pe­riodic bursts of high energy gamma rays, the first confirmed source in the Milky Way galaxy (Tavani et al, Nature, 2009 & Fermi LAT Collaboration et al, Science, 2009. See also Reddy, 2009). This is a revelation, for extreme cosmic radiation of this type is normally only associated…

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News

Can Friendly Bacteria Help Clean Up the Gulf Oil Spill? As the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico grew worse over the early summer, it was difficult to imagine how the vast pool of brown sticky goo could ever be disposed of. As in the human digestive system, at least some of the answer may yet come from bacteria, what might be called friendly bacteria. Researchers at Oregon State University say they have discovered a new strain of Pseudomonas aeruginosa—a common bacteria that researchers…

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The Mystery of Music

BY RON McVANN

The universe hums like a great harp string resounding a mighty chord answering each thought by returning a thing from that place where all things are stored. Sound is the principal medium by which the higher animals express and excite emotion, and music, or sound in­dulged in for its own attractiveness, far preceded man’s creation of a spoken language. The Thrice Great Hermes is credited with designing the first musical lyre by stretching intestinal cords of sacrificial bulls over a tortoise shell. When his half…

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Eris in Aries – 1926-2048

By Julie Loar

“Truly, Eris is a goddess to fear.” Euripides, Phoenician Women Pluto was discovered in 1930 and was considered to be a planet for seventy-six years. Then, along came Eris. At first, she was heralded as the tenth planet, since she is larger than Pluto. But the net result was Pluto’s demotion, the IAU defining a planet for the first time, and the creation of a whole new category of objects in our Solar System—dwarf planets. Astronomers suspect that at least another forty known objects in…

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