scorecardresearch
Brainiac

A timely retraction

The Teide Observatory on Tenerife, in the Canary Islands.
The Teide Observatory on Tenerife, in the Canary Islands.(Daniel Lopez/IAC/Signify via AP Images)

Twinkle twinkle little star, how I wonder . . . how bright you are, an astronomer at George Washington University is left wondering after having to withdraw an earlier claim about the brightness of a neutron star. Writing in July in The Astronomer’s Telegram, a website for the field, George Younes reported that he’d observed bursts of unusual brightness from the star, with the unpoetic name 1RXS J170849.0-400910. But Younes soon learned from two colleagues that the starbursts weren’t as bursty as he’d initially believed. Younes, however, wasn’t bitter. In retracting the claim just a day after he made it, he apologized for the error and graciously thanked the researchers who corrected the record.