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Satellite Accidently Spots a Gamma-Ray Burst.

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Satellite Accidently Spots a Gamma-Ray Burst

May 29, 2003 - NASA's RHESSI satellite may have uncovered new clues about the most powerful explosions in the universe when it accidentally caught an image of a gamma-ray burst while capturing images of solar flares on the Sun. What RHESSI discovered is that the light coming from the burst is polarized, which indicates that a powerful magnetic field could be the cause. When a giant star becomes a rapidly spinning black hole, it could twist up the magnetic field so much that the whole object explodes like an uncoiled spring.

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Image credit: NASA
Investigators Suggest Shuttle Test Flight

May 29, 2003 - The group investigating the cause the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster held a press conference on Wednesday where they presented some new recommendations for NASA. One possibility is for NASA to make a demonstration flight of the shuttle before full-scale missions resume. The first four shuttle flights were considered test flights, where there were only two pilots equipped with ejection seats. The 13-member team will start writing its thick report, which should be finished in July.

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Image credit: ESO
A View of the universe Only 900 Million Years Old

May 28, 2003 - A team of Astronomers based in Hawaii have discovered a distant Galaxy 12.8 billion light years away which shows us what the universe looked like when it was only 900 million years old. They found the Galaxy by using a special camera installed on the Canada-France-Hawaii telescope which searches for distant objects in a very specific frequency of light. By uncovering this galaxy, located in the constellation of Cetus, right near the star Mira, the team has developed a new methodology for discovering distant objects which should help future observers look even further into the past.

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Image credit: ESA
ESA's Rosetta Gets a New Target

May 28, 2003 - The comet-chasing spacecraft Rosetta has been given a new Comet to chase: Comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko. The European Space Agency announced on Wednesday that the spacecraft will now be launched in February 2004, and it will rendezvous with the Comet in November 2014. Rosetta was originally supposed to launch earlier this year, but it was delayed after an Ariane 5 rocket failed to launch its satellite payload - Rosetta was held back to give investigation teams time to determine what called the failure, and lost its launch window for Comet Wirtanen.

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