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Spitzer space telescope uncovers group of galaxies.
NASA's Spitzer space telescope has uncovered a group of ancient Galaxies that had eluded Astronomers using other telescopes. The primordial Galaxies were originally discovered using the UK's SCUBA instrument on the James Clerk Maxwell telescope in Hawaii, but the instrument wasn't fine enough to determine which were Galaxies in the background, and which were actually groups of galaxies, or objects in the foreground. Spitzer resolved the issue in only 10 minutes, giving the SCUBA team a new method of confirming their findings.
NASA has shortened its list of potential missions for its New Frontiers program down to two spacecraft. The first is called "Moonrise", and would send two identical landers to the Moon's south pole - which is believed to have water ice mixed in with the lunar soil - to return 2 kg (5 lbs) of material back to Earth. The second is called "Juno", and would send a spacecraft into a polar orbit around Jupiter to study the giant planet in great detail. Both missions will receive $1.2 million in funding to perform 7-month feasibility studies to see if they can launch by June 2010 at a cost of less than $700 million.
Astronomers have detected a small bright spot on a familiar Neutron star, Geminga, located 500 light-years away. The hot spot was discovered using the XMM-Newton x-ray observatory, and it's the size of a football field. Geminga itself is only 20 km (12.4 miles) across, and spins 4 times a second, but it's got 1.5 times the mass of our own Sun. The hot spot is created because material ejected from the rapidly spinning object is being recaptured by its gravity, and then funneled by its magnetic field to strike a specific point, heating it up millions of degrees.
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