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A close-up with a comet

Even as Tom Economou approached retirement age in 1994, he began planning an instrument for the European Space Agency's Rosetta mission to a comet. He still remembers the reaction of Riccardo Levi-Setti, ...

dateNov 11, 2014 in Space Exploration
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Rosetta: The dark side of the comet

(Phys.org) —Rosetta's scientific imaging system OSIRIS has caught a glimpse of the southern side of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. During the past months, this side has continuously faced away from the ...

dateNov 06, 2014 in Space Exploration
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Deformable mirror corrects errors

Very high power is needed to cut or weld using a laser beam. But this creates its own problem: the beam's energy deforms the mirrors that are focusing it to a point. When this happens, the beam expands and ...

dateMay 14, 2014 in Optics & Photonics
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Image: Glowing jewels in the galactic plane

The majority of the stars in our Galaxy, the Milky Way, reside in a single huge disc, known as the Galactic Plane, spanning 100 000 light-years across. The Sun also resides in this crowded stellar hub, lying ...

dateApr 29, 2014 in Astronomy
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Red moon at night; stargazer's delight

Monday night's lunar eclipse proved just as delightful as expected to those able to view it. On the East Coast, cloudy skies may have gotten in the way, but at the National Science Foundation's National Optical ...

dateApr 16, 2014 in Space Exploration
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Rosetta's final sprint to the comet

(Phys.org) —After a ten-year journey and a long, deep sleep the Rosetta space probe was woken up on 20 January. The vehicle now starts the last leg of its journey which will lead it to the 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko ...

dateJan 21, 2014 in Space Exploration
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Cosmic oddball

Some bodies have a very disturbing effect on the order in the solar system - P/2013 P5 is one of them. With several clearly visible tails, it may look like a comet, but orbits around the Sun within the asteroid ...

dateNov 13, 2013 in Space Exploration
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Tracking dust across the Atlantic

Hundreds of millions of tons of dust are picked up from the deserts of Africa and blown across the Atlantic Ocean each year. That dust helps build beaches in the Caribbean and fertilize soils in the Amazon. ...

dateSep 13, 2013 in Earth Sciences
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