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The shade would block the light from the star.
X Prize officials have confirmed that Pilot Mike Melvill took Scaled Composites' SpaceShipOne to an altitude of 102, 870 metres (337,500 feet) on Wednesday. With this first flight qualified, they'll do their second flight on the morning Monday, October 4. SpaceShipOne and its carrier aircraft will take off at 1400 UTC (7:00am PDT) and ignite its rocket about an hour later. If everything goes well, the spacecraft will reach an altitude of 100 km (62.5 miles) carrying an extra 180 kg (400 pounds) - the equivalent of two passengers.
A common science experiment for young kids is to build a pinhole camera. Researchers from the University of Colorado at Boulder think NASA should build a gigantic one in space and use it to find planets orbiting other stars. The "New Worlds Imager" would be a football field-sized opaque light shade with a small opening right at the centre to let light through. A detector spacecraft would sit thousands of kilometres back and collect the light that comes through the opening. The shade would block the light from the star and let Astronomers detect planets orbiting it. The proposal was one of 12 advanced concepts recently selected for further study by NASA.
Supernovae are easy to see - after they've gone off. But it's impossible to find the stars beforehand, so you can study their final moments. Astronomers think they've found a warning sign that a star is about to explode: X-ray flashes. NASA's High-Energy Transient Explorer (HETE-2) has spotted three different powerful blasts of x-ray radiation over the last few weeks, and if astronomers' models hold true, these are precursors to much more powerful gamma-ray bursts, which have been linked with supernovae. Many Telescopes around the world will be studying the regions that these x-ray flashes happened, hoping to catch a supernova in the act of exploding.
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