Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Reborn Hubble and Stellar Blast

The repaired and improved Hubble Space Telescope is sending back some spectacular images, including dazzling pictures of galaxies headed for a pile-up, a star throwing off its outer layers, dense clouds of gas and dust, and a new pin-sharp look at the planet Jupiter.

In another remarkable development, two teams of astronomers reported their observations of a gamma-ray burst from a star that died 13.1 billion light-years away. The massive star died about 630 million years after the Big Bang. UK astronomer Nial Tanvir described the observation as "a step back in cosmic time". Professor Tanvir led an international team studying the afterglow of the explosion, using the United Kingdom Infrared Telescope (UKIRT) in Hawaii.

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