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Dwarf star found orbiting closest to black hole

Researchers have found evidence of a white dwarf star orbiting a likely black hole at a distance of only 961,000 km at an astonishing speed

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New York, March 14, 2017: Researchers have found evidence of a white dwarf star orbiting a likely black hole at a distance of only 961,000 km — just about 2.5 times the distance between the Earth and the Moon.

In a tightest orbital dance ever witnessed for a black hole and a companion star, the star whips around the black hole at an astonishing speed — about two orbits an hour, said the study published in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

“This white dwarf is so close to the black hole that material is being pulled away from the star and dumped onto a disk of matter around the black hole before falling in,” said study lead author Arash Bahramian, affiliated with the University of Alberta in Canada and Michigan State University in the US.

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“Luckily for this star, we don’t think it will follow this path into oblivion, but instead will stay in orbit,” Bahramian said.

Although the white dwarf does not appear to be in danger of falling in or being torn apart by the black hole, its fate is uncertain.

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The stellar system, known as X9, is located in the globular cluster 47 Tucanae, a dense cluster of stars in our galaxy about 14,800 light years away from the Earth.

“For a long time astronomers thought that black holes were rare or totally absent in globular star clusters,” study co-author Jay Strader from Michigan State University said.

“This discovery is additional evidence that, rather than being one of the worst places to look for black holes, globular clusters might be one of the best,” Strader added.

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For the study, the researchers used data from the Australia Telescope Compact Array as well as NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and NuSTAR telescope. (IANS)

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USA: Everything you want to know about Security Clearance; Find out here!

A security clearance allows a person access to classified national security information or restricted areas.

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Former CIA Director John O. Brennan speaks at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, March 11, 2014. President Donald Trump revoked Brennan's security clearance Wednesday. VOA
Former CIA Director John O. Brennan speaks at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, March 11, 2014. President Donald Trump revoked Brennan's security clearance Wednesday. VOA

U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday revoked the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan. We take a look at what that means.

What is a security clearance?

A security clearance allows a person access to classified national security information or restricted areas after completion of a background check. The clearance by itself does not guarantee unlimited access. The agency seeking the clearance must determine what specific area of information the person needs to access.

What are the different levels of security clearance?

There are three levels: Confidential, secret and top secret. Security clearances don’t expire. But, top secret clearances are reinvestigated every five years, secret clearances every 10 years and confidential clearances every 15 years.

All federal agencies follow a list of 13 potential justifications for revoking or denying a clearance. VOA
All federal agencies follow a list of 13 potential justifications for revoking or denying a clearance. VOA

Who has security clearances?

According to a Government Accountability Office report released last year, about 4.2 million people had a security clearance as of 2015, they included military personnel, civil servants, and government contractors.

Why does one need a security clearance in retirement?

Retired senior intelligence officials and military officers need their security clearances in case they are called to consult on sensitive issues.

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Can the president revoke a security clearance?

Apparently. But there is no precedent for a president revoking someone’s security clearance. A security clearance is usually revoked by the agency that sought it for an employee or contractor. All federal agencies follow a list of 13 potential justifications for revoking or denying a clearance, which can include criminal acts, lack of allegiance to the United States, behavior or situation that could compromise an individual and security violations. (VOA)