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New Classification for Distant solar system Objects.

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Image credit: NASA
Amateur Spots a Gamma Ray Burst Afterglow

Aug 12, 2003 - Berto Monard, an amateur Astronomer from South Africa was lucky enough to spot the afterglow from a powerful gamma-ray burst - beating professional Astronomers to the target. The 40-second-long burst was discovered by NASA's HETE spacecraft, which provided Monard rough coordinates of where to look. He was able to provide the astronomy community with a precise location so they can follow up days or weeks later to try and determine what actually caused the explosion.

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Image credit: SDSS
Formation of stars is On the Decline

Aug 12, 2003 - The age of star formation in the universe is drawing to a close, according to a new report from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. A team of Astronomers analyzed the colour of an enormous number of nearby Galaxies and found that they contained less young stars than more distant galaxies. Since light takes so long to travel, the more distant Galaxies are seen as they appeared many billion years ago. The number of new stars being formed has been on the decline since about 6 billon years ago, when our own Sun formed.

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Image credit: NASA
New Classification for Distant solar system Objects

Aug 12, 2003 - Astronomers are working on a new way to classify the objects that inhabit the outer solar system. Currently there's some confusion between comets, Centaurs, trans-Neptunian objects, Kuiper belt Objects, etc. The new scheme classifies objects by their distance from the Sun, and then by the angle they make with the plane of the ecliptic. Hopefully this will help Astronomers trace the history and predict the future for different kinds of objects.

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