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Astronomers Measure the Shape of a Supernova.


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Image credit: ESO
Astronomers Measure the Shape of a Supernova

Aug 6, 2003 - New data gathered by the European Southern Observatory's Very Large telescope (VLT) seems to indicate that supernovae might not be symmetrical when they explode - their brightness changes depending on how you look at them. This discovery is important, because Astronomers use supernovae as an astronomical yardstick to measure distances to objects. If they're brighter or dimmer depending on how you're looking at them, it could cause errors in your distance calculations. But the new research indicates that they become more symmetrical over time, so Astronomers just need to wait a little while before doing their calculations.

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Image credit: ESA
Perseid Meteor Shower Next Week

Aug 6, 2003 - The annual Perseid meteor shower is due to make its appearance in mid-August this summer. The shower began on July 23 and will end on August 22, but the bulk of shooting stars will appear on August 13, when upwards of one meteor per minute is visible in the night sky. Unfortunately, the full moon will brighten the sky and make some of the fainter meteors harder to see. To get the best view of the Perseids, get away from the city lights to a place which is as flat as possible to give you a wide view of the sky.

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Image credit: Harvard
Asteroid Juno Has a Chunk Out of It

Aug 6, 2003 - New images taken by the 100-inch Hooker telescope at Mount Wilson Observatory show asteroid Juno with a huge chunk taken out of it. Harvard Astronomer Sallie Baliunas used the adaptive optics system on the Hooker telescope, which compensates for distortions in the atmosphere, to take photos of the 241 km asteroid with incredible clarity. The photos show that Juno is misshapen and has a 100 km crater from an impact with another asteroid in the past.

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