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Comets May Break up More Often than Thought.


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Comets May Break up More Often than Thought

Image credit: SOHO
Researchers with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory believe that comets may break up several times before being consumed by the Sun, often taking several orbits to fully come apart. The team analyzed photographs of the region around the Sun and found that comets passed by in clusters or in parallel paths. The pieces are so small that should have disintegrated had they passed the Sun on an earlier trip. This means that the parent Comet must have broken up after it passed the Sun.

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Sep 8, 2002, 11:07pm

Supernova Remnant Seen Through Chandra

Image credit: Chandra
The Chandra X-Ray Observatory recently captured a fascinating image of the Tycho supernova remnant. The 20 million degree expanding shockwave of gas and dust is visible at the outside edges of the object; the stellar debris inside is 10-million degrees cooler, and only visible in X-rays. The original supernova explosion was seen by Dutch Astronomer Tycho Brahe in the Year 1572.

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Sep 8, 2002, 10:57pm

Experts Estimate asteroid Risk

Image credit: NASA
At a NASA-sponsored conference, a group of experts have estimated that the Earth is struck once every 1,000 years by an asteroid capable of releasing 10-megatons of energy - not a planet killer, but definitely enough to cause a terrible loss of life. NASA and the astronomical community has been systematically searching for all Near Earth Objects larger than 1 km across, and capable of crossing the Earth's orbit. So far they've found 600 out of an estimated 1,000.

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Sep 8, 2002, 9:03pm

Hubble Images an Unusual "Wheel" Galaxy

Image credit: Hubble
The latest photo taken by the Hubble Space Telescope is of a rare type of galaxy, known as Hoag's Object, where a ring of stars orbit a yellow nucleus. The bluish outer ring is composed of clusters of hot, young stars while the heart is made of mostly older stars. It's possible that the "gap" in between contains star clusters too faint to see.

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Sep 8, 2002, 8:55pm



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