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Spitzer space telescope has peered through galactic dust.
The Hubble Space Telescope spent 40 hours gazing at the same spot in the sky to produce a photograph filled with galaxies. The field shown in this image is a fraction of the size of the full moon in the sky, but it shows a rich diversity of galaxies. Some are big; some small; a few close; and most far away. The photograph was actually a bonus, taken in September 2003 while Hubble was using its other instruments for research in the same area.
NASA's Cassini spacecraft made a relatively close flyby of Saturn's Moon Mimas on August 2nd, 2005. The 130 km (80 mile) crater Herschel makes the Moon look amazingly similar to the Death star from the star Wars series of movies. Cassini passed only 62,700 km (38,800 miles) above Mimas; the closest it's ever been to the moon.
Astronaut Steve Robinson successfully pulled out the protruding gap fillers from between the shuttle's thermal protection tiles during his 7 hour spacewalk yesterday. The gap fillers came out with a simple tug; Robinson didn't need the makeshift hacksaw he'd brought with him. NASA officials were worried that the Nextel fabric could lead to overheating in the area during Discovery's re-entry. The filler material keeps the shuttle's heat tiles from bumping into each other during launch, but aren't necessary during landing.
NASA's Spitzer space telescope has peered through walls of galactic dust to spot supermassive black holes called quasars. Some quasars are visible to telescopes, but others are behind so much gas and dust they can only be seen in the Infrared spectrum, which is good for viewing through dust. Based on background X-ray radiation, Astronomers had an estimate for how many quasars are out there, but they could never see them with telescopes. Now Spitzer has shown that those quasars are there, just hidden.
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