Space gas beats a maser rhythm

A GIANT cloud in space is acting like a maser – the microwave equivalent of a laser – which is flashing in synch with a pulsar, whose intense beams of radiation sweep across space like light from a lighthouse. Joel Weisberg of Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota, and his team monitored the pulsar, which is about 15,000 light years away, and an intervening giant gas cloud. While the cloud was absorbing some of the pulsar’s radiation, the team found that the hydroxyl molecules in the cloud were amplifying the pulsar’s signals at a frequency of 1720 megahertz and emitting additional,
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