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Red Giant star and a White Dwarf star.
NASA's Deep Impact took its first photograph of its cometary target, Comet Temple 1, which it will smash into in just 10 weeks. Deep Impact took this image when it was 64 million kilometers (39.7 million miles) away. While it's just a few grainy pixels today, it will be the best view ever taken of a Comet when the spacecraft streaks past on July 4. It will release the 1-m impactor shortly before reaching the comet, which will smash into it and carve out a crater the size of a football field.
European Space Agency Astronaut Thomas Reiter from Germany will become the first from the agency to spend several months on board the International Space Station. Although ESA astronauts have visited the station several times before, they usually only stick around for about a week, perform a bunch of experiments, and then join the returning crew for the Soyuz flight home. Reiter will be launched with the Space Shuttle flight STS-121, currently planned for July 2006.
Astronomers have theorized that Mira AB is a binary star system consisting of an evolved red giant star and a White Dwarf star, and now the Chandra X-Ray Observatory has been able to resolve their relationship. Chandra can actually resolve the stream of matter flowing off the red giant, which is then captured by the white dwarf. This matter heats up as it bunches up around the white dwarf, and blazes in the X-ray spectrum. Mira AB is only 450 light-years away, and the stars are separated by approximately twice the distance of the Sun and Pluto.
NASA's Cassini spacecraft has taken the best image so far of Saturn's small, irregular Moon Epimetheus. Cassini took this photograph when it was only 74,600 kilometers (46,350 miles) away from the rocky moon. Clearly visible in the image is a large crater called Hilairea, which has a diameter of about 33 kilometers (21 miles). It takes up a large chunk of Epimetheus' surface, considering the Moon is only 116 kilometers (72 miles) across.
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