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News briefs: August 8
Posted: Fri, Aug 9, 2002, 8:15 AM ET (1215 GMT)
  • A new study has raised questions about the reported discovery earlier this year of a "quark" star. According to a paper submitted to the Astrophysical Journal, scientists found that the spectrum of one of the two quark stars announced earlier this year at a NASA press conference is consistent with an ordinary neutron star. Quark stars are objects even smaller than neutrons stars, so dense that matter decomposes into free quarks, normally not found in nature.
  • The speed of light may change over time, a possibility that could radically change our understanding of physics. A team of scientists found that light from a distant quasar showed that fine structure constant, which dictates how photons interact with electrons, has changed over time; the Australian scientists say this could be explained if the speed of light has slowed over time. The scientists admin, though, that this conclusion is only speculative at this time.
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