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    Brainiac

    A timely retraction

    IMAGE DISTRIBUTED FOR SIGNIFY - In this image released on Thursday, July 26, 2018, is the Teide Observatory, Izana, Tenerife. The Milky Way is hidden from more than one-third of humanity.
    Daniel Lopez/IAC/Signify via AP Images
    The Teide Observatory on Tenerife, in the Canary Islands.

    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.

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