It’s a prime! And another prime!

The number believed to be the 45th Mersenne prime has turned out actually to be a prime, according to GIMPS. The verification was completed on 6 September and announced on 7 September.

But in a fairly extraordinary turn of events, yet another number was submitted to the GIMPS servers as the next possible Mersenne prime on 6 September — and the initial verification shows that it is prime too! So we now have the 45th and 46th Mersenne primes discovered within two weeks of each other, which is incredible.

No word yet on the details of these primes. We’ll soon see who wins the Mersenne prime digit-guessing challenge. You can still play along with your own spreadsheet too!

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