Thursday, February 7, 2013

Cluster of 35 Ancient Pyramids and Graves Discovered in Sudan

About 2,000 years ago, a kingdom named Kush flourished in what is now known as Sudan. Sharing a border with Egypt, the people of Kush were highly influenced by the other civilization. The result was that they built pyramids: lots of them. At one particular site known as Sedeinga, pyramid building continued for centuries. Now archaeologists have unearthed at least 35 of these small pyramids along with graves.
Discovered between 2009 and 2012, the pyramids were densely packed. In one field season alone, researchers discovered 13 pyramids within 5,381 square feet--only slightly larger than an NBA basketball court. So why was the density of the pyramids so great? Researchers theorized that since this building continued over centuries, the people of Kush used whatever space was available at the site, packing in pyramids in between others to make better use of the space.


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Harbingers of Death: Predicting Supernovae

A massive outburst may give a month’s advance notice of when certain giant stars will go supernova. That’s not great for evacuation plans, but perfect for observers who want to catch a supernova in action.

Three years ago a giant star gave us a signal of its impending destruction just 40 days before it happened. In a fit of frenzy, the star sent gas hurtling outward at 2,000 kilometers per second (4.5 million miles per hour), more than twice the speed of the fastest solar wind. Six weeks later the entire star exploded as a Type IIn supernova, leaving behind a tiny, dense stellar corpse.