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Spirals such as the Milky Way and Andromeda galaxy.
Some current models of Galaxy formation predict that large spirals such as the Milky Way and Andromeda Galaxy should have more satellite Galaxies than are currently known to astronomers. Many of these Galaxies should be much smaller than those already discovered. Astronomers reviewing data from the automated Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) have now added a tenth satellite to the Milky Way's dwarf spheroidal Galaxy contingent and this one is a real lightweight.
This week will bring some excitement as asteroid Pallas flies through the Galaxy fields of Virgo and the Moon occults Antares for Hawaii. We'll focus on exploring some strange and unusual nebulae, and learn why it's "aurora season". The week will end with the several meteor streams and the opposition of Jupiter. So grab those binoculars, set up the telescope and hope for clear skies, because...
The astronauts on board the International Space Station spent a few hours walking around in space today. They installed new antennas to help guide the new European "Jules Verne" cargo ship when it launches next year. They also released a tiny Russian satellite by hand - flight engineer Salizhan Sharipov "threw" it off the station at a velocity of about 1 metre/second. The whole spacewalk finished ahead of schedule, and the two men returned inside after spending about 4.5 hours in space.
NASA's Deep Impact has completed the commissioning phase of its mission - mission controllers have verified that all the spacecraft's instruments and systems are functioning. It has now entered the cruise phase, which will continue from now until about 60 days before its encounter with Comet Tempel 1 on July 4, 2005. Deep Impact's flyby spacecraft has four data collectors which will watch as the impactor spacecraft smashes into the comet, carving out a stadium-sized hole, and giving Astronomers some of the best Comet photos ever taken.
A team of European Astronomers has found some unusual objects in the central part of our Galaxy which are emitting very high-energy gamma rays. What's strange, though, is these objects are invisible in the optical and X-ray spectra. So what they are is a complete mystery. Not only that, but these objects are also quite large; possibly on the order of several light years across. The observations were done using the High energy Stereoscopic System (H.E.S.S.) Telescopes in Namibia.
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