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This newly discovered star system just broke the luminosity record

Astronomers have spotted a spectacular gamma-ray binary system in a galaxy right next door to our own, and not only is it the first to be found outside the Milky Way - it's also the brightest one yet.
Gamma-ray binaries are systems with two stars: a star like our own Sun, coupled with either a black hole or a small, dense neutron star. These black holes or neutron stars radiate gamma rays - the highest-energy form of light - and this newly discovered system breaks existing luminosity records.
It's fair to say that living in this binary system would be a whole lot different from here in our own Solar System, as the central star is some 25 to 40 times larger than our own Sun.
Until now, only five such systems have ever been detected. The newly discovered sixth has been called LMC P3, and sits some 163,000 light-years away from us in a small galaxy called the Large Magellanic Cloud.
"Finding [a gamma-ray system] so luminous and distant is quite exciting," said lead researcher Robin Corbet from NASA's Goddard Space Centre. "Gamma-ray binaries are prized because the gamma-ray output changes significantly during each orbit and sometimes over longer time scales."
"This variation lets us study many of the emission processes common to other gamma-ray sources in unique detail."
Astronomers have actually known about LMC P3 since 2012, but new data from NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope and other facilities means it's now been upgraded to a gamma-ray binary.
The second orbiting object, which takes 10.3 days to swing around the larger star, is believed to be a neutron star.
Oddly enough, this isn't the only discovery in the Large Magellanic Cloud to be announced this week: researchers from Tohoku University in Japan have spotted a star called ST11, with an entirely different molecular make-up than the ones we're used to.
It's a hint that life beyond the Solar System could be like nothing we've ever imagined.
ST11 is surrounded by a hot molecular core - one of the early stages of high-mass stars, which is responsible for forming complex molecules out in deep space.
These molecules can eventually form planets, comets, and asteroids, but the ones spotted around ST11 aren't like similar cores from the Milky Way.
hot-coreAn artist's impression of the hot molecular core. Credit: FRIS/Tohoku University
Sulphur dioxide, nitric oxide, and formaldehyde were found in abundance, while levels of organic compounds such as methanol were surprisingly low.
It's also the first hot molecular core to be found outside our galaxy.
"The observations suggest that the molecular compositions of materials that form stars and planets are much more diverse than we expected," said one of the team, Takashi Shimonishi.
Shimonishi and his colleagues used the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA) to study ST11 in detail, and super-powerful telescopes like ALMA and Fermi are giving us an unprecedented look at the galaxies beyond the Milky Way - and how weird and wonderful they are compared to our own.
The discovery of LMC P3 has been reported in The Astrophysical Journal.
The study of ST11 has also been reported in the same journal.

Click to hear about some of the things that have been keeping us busy. #2 will blow your mind.

I would like to share some of the things we have been up to since we last chatted.
On the product side, we’ve been busy. Both our iPhone and Android apps have had multiple releases, and we’re proud at how well they are progressing. Mobile web ( is undergoing a major overhaul that we’re testing internally, and hope to start showing to users in the next couple weeks. We have been running many experiments on desktop web to increase user engagement, particularly for users who are new to Reddit. You can see what experiments we are running on this live thread, and notable changes to the site are listed in r/changelog.
We’ve started development on a new frontpage algorithm. The current algorithm is outdated and is no longer meeting our needs. There are a number of problems we’d like to solve: increased velocity, improved personalization, reduced dependence on /new, and not requiring us to choose the defaults. We’re still in the early days, but I’m happy we’re dedicating resources to it.
As it relates to monetization, we’ve made a handful of changes: we tested adding affiliate tags to e-commerce links, which we ended up turning off; we announced Promoted User Posts; and we announced tests we’ll be running on sponsored headlines. Changes and additions to ads can be met with skepticism, and this is why we test changes carefully and listen to feedback. As we evolve our ads platform, we are working to do it in a way that that complements the core experience and engages redditors. These changes and experiments will continue to happen, but while it is critical that we build Reddit into a sustainable business, we don’t want to compromise what’s brought us here. Going forward, we will list these in r/changelog so all these kinds of announcements are in one place.
Yesterday, we previewed new moderator mail to moderators. This has been a long time coming, and we’re excited to show it off. The current moderator mail system is a hack on top of our messaging system, which is itself a hack on top of our commenting system. The new tool should save a lot of time for everyone, and new tech stack will allow for better future iterations and builds. We’ll be working with moderators to refine it while we work towards a full rollout.
We’ve seen great results from our Anti-Evil, Trust & Safety, and Community teams. The mandate of these teams is to eliminate spam and abuse and to ensure Reddit is a welcoming place for all. In the last quarter, we’ve reduced harassment reports by 15%, spam reports by 66%, and moderator spam removals by 15%. We’ve also reduced our support ticket backlog substantially, dropping our average response time from 64 hours to 7 in the process.
Happy to chat about this stuff, or anything else.
e: grammar
u: Thank you! Heading out for now. Will check back later.

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Crispy chicken sandwich from Burger King was raw.

Crispy chicken sandwich from Burger King was raw.

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