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telescopes

  1. Hubble Space Telescope Celebrates 25th Anniversary By Updating Iconic “Pillars of Creation” Image

    I think I can see Thanos!

    Ultimate Space Porn Reboot!

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  2. Here’s How to Get the Best View of This Summer’s 3 “Super Moons”

    Bonus! You also get to correct everyone about how ordinary they are!

    This summer, there will be 3 super moons. But are they really as "super" as we think they are?

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  3. A Black Hole-Powered Quasar Is Showing Astronomers That the Universe Is Pretty Gassy

    Turns out the universe owes everyone a big "excuse me."

    Computer simulations have previously shown astronomers that the universe was, well, pretty gassy, but they're just now getting their first glimpse of the universe's gas, and they didn't even have to hold a match up in front of its butt to do so. While that's mildly disappointing, a black hole-powered quasar lighting it up is still pretty cool.

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  4. If We Had a Really Big Telescope, Could We See Star Wars?

    And then if we get the super-high-tech-laser from Paycheck, could we watch Firefly, too?

    Everyone likes watching Star Wars. They're awesome movies, and I think we've all had that majorly trippy moment when we realize "A long time ago" means that everything we're watching happened in the past. But if it was so long ago, and so far away, that the light is reaching us now-- does that mean we could theoretically watch Star Wars live?

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  5. Check Out the First Amazing Pictures of the Sun from NASA’s IRIS

    NASA stares into the Sun so you don't have to.

    NASA's Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS) satellite has been open for less than two weeks, and already it's returned the first images from its mission to study the Sun's atmosphere. The combined ultraviolet telescope and spectrograph is pulling in amazing views as well as valuable data on energy transfer in the Sun's interface region.

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  6. The IRIS Telescope Opens Its Eye to Space

    We're one step closer to pretty space pictures in our inbox!

    In exciting space news, the door on NASA's Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS) telescope is open. The door was successfully opened by the IRIS Lockheed Martin team today at 2:14 PM EDT, and it's a pretty major milestone for the IRIS in its 60-day checkout period. When that's over on August 26th, the instrument will go into "normal science mode" and we can probably expect some lovely images shortly there after.

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  7. Astronomers Have Found One Of The Largest Stars In The Milky Way, And It’s Still Forming

    You know how the Sun is, like, really big? Well, this is one may eventually be hundred times bigger than the Sun.

    If Hercules hadn't been made into a constellation, he would probably have been reborn in space as a recently discovered star: the largest one ever spotted in the Milky Way. A group of astronomers found the embryonic star, which is still forming inside of a huge cloud about 10,000 light years away from Earth, using the ultra-powerful ALMA(Atacama Large Millimetre/submillimetre Array) telescope. Now that they're getting a good look at the massive star, researchers have been able to learn some new lessons about how stars this size are born.

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  8. New Data on Extraterrestrial Cloud Cover Could Double the Number of Habitable Exoplanets

    In news sure to delight off-world travel agencies everywhere, there could be as many as 60 billion habitable planets just in the Milky Way.

    There may be something like 60 billion potentially habitable planets in the Milky Way galaxy alone. Just let that sink in for a minute: 60 billion. If it seems like an unusually high number, it's because it's been doubled from what we thought was possible before. The new higher estimate comes from astronomers at the University of Chicago and Northwestern University who realized that earlier calculations done to determine which alien planets might support life may have underestimated a major climactic influence: clouds.

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  9. Astronomers Identify 514 of the Most Powerful Objects in the Universe, Have No Clue What 65 of Them Are

    Some of the most energetic gamma ray sources in space are total mysteries to researchers, and could prove to be dark matter galaxies or other exotic objects

    A new map of the universe created with data from the Fermi Space Telescope has identified the 514 most highly energetic objects in the known universe. The slightly unnerving part of that news -- researchers have exactly no idea what 65 of those objects, which are throwing off more than 10 gigaelectronvolts of gamma ray energy, are. These sources could be standard high energy objects -- like blazars -- that simply haven't been properly identified yet, or they could be an entirely new class of object never before seen on the cosmic landscape.

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  10. Crowdfunded ARKYD Space Telescope Lets You Put Your Face in Space, Take Space Selfies

    I'm probably not ever going to space, but for $25 I can make a space telescope take my picture? You've got yourself a deal.

    Asteroid mining company Planetary Resources has a new venture on their hands, and they've turned to Kickstarter to fund it. They want to launch the ARKYD, a space telescope that's not only crowdfunded, but actually crowd controlled. They've already hit their goal, but there's still time to fund it for some sweet rewards like time controlling the telescope, and a very affordable option to have a photo of you displayed on the ARKYD while it takes a space selfie with your picture and the Earth as the background.

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  11. Too Beautiful for This Universe: Herschel Space Telescope Shuts Down for Good

    It's with great sadness today that we bring you news of the passing of the Herschel Space Observatory. After more than three years of dutiful service to astronomers and appreciators of the beauty of space, the telescope's supply of liquid helium coolant has run dry, and it is officially out of commission.

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  12. Look To The Skies! Watch Saturn Make A Beautifully Close Approach To Earth Tonight

    1.3 billion kilometers is a great distance, but tonight consider it relatively close. That's how far away close Saturn will be to the Earth tonight. What does that mean for you? It means that with a telescope -- even a cheap one -- you can get a beautiful view of another planet that's more than 800 million miles away. Oh, you don't have a telescope? Go buy a telescope. There's still time.

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  13. We Hardly Knew Ye: ESA’s Herschel Space Telescope Powering Down for Good

    Since it's launch in 2009, the European Space Agency's Herschel Space Telescope has treated us to some truly amazing images of space. All good things must come to an end, though, and the ESA's shiniest toy is just about out of time. Sometime in the next couple of weeks, the liquid helium tanks that provide coolant for the telescope's impressive instrumentation will run dry, marking the close of a good run for one of the most powerful instruments ever used to capture images of space.

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  14. Comet to Buzz Earth This Week, Watch It With Your Own Eyes

    Sure, you can watch an alien on TV, but it's way more arresting when one walks right by your open window, right? In the same vein, it's particularly exciting when a piece of space debris -- like, oh, a comet -- shoots by our own atmospheric windshield. That's right, folks.The comet known as C/2011 L4 will be buzzing the Earth this week, and it will be visible to the naked eye.

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  15. Newly Discovered Asteroid Passed Earth Within Distance of the Moon This Morning

    While you were sleeping, an asteroid that was just discovered two days ago made a close pass by Earth at 2:35 a.m. ET. How close? Within lunar orbit close. There was nothing to worry about, as it was clear this asteroid -- roughly the size of the object that recently exploded over Russia -- had no chance of hitting the Earth. Though it is a little unsettling that it was discovered with so little time before its near miss, the bright side is that we discovered it at all. Every asteroid, it seems, has a silver lining.

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  16. Nice Knowing You: Dangerous Asteroid Apophis is Bigger, More Dangerous Than We Thought

    The asteroid Apophis, clearly named for the Stargate SG-1 villain, has been called a "doomsday asteroid," because in 2004 there was a study that said there was a 2.7% chance of Apophis hitting Earth when it flies past us in 2029. That study has since been disproved, but astronomers are keeping a close eye on Apophis anyhow, which is due for another pass in 2036. One telescope in Europe has captured new images of Apophis that reveal it's even larger than initially believed. That can't be good.

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  17. Astronomers Measure Black Hole With Mass of 17 Billion Suns

    Back holes are pretty massive as a rule, but this one in galaxy NGC 1277 might be the most massive one ever measured. Astronomers at the McDonald Observatory at the University of Texas have measured a super-sized black hole with a mass equal to 17 billion Suns. The black hole takes up a never-before-seen percentage of the galaxy's total mass, and gives us all a new gold standard against which to compare a friend's mother when telling "yo momma" jokes.

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  18. NASA Now Accepting Proposals on What to Do With Their Spiffy New Telescopes

    Back in June, it was revealed that the National Reconnaissance Office would be gifting NASA with two high-end secret space telescopes. Why an intelligence agency would just unload two expensive telescopes like that remains a mystery, but NASA's perfectly happy to take their leftovers considering the budget they operate under. The agency's now accepting proposals from the community on what to do with their newfound plethora of scopes. Please, nobody suggest a thorough study of Uranus.

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  19. Lonely Planet: Researchers Discover Wandering World That Doesn’t Orbit A Star

    A team of astronomers at the University of Montreal has uncovered a cosmic first -- a planet without a star to orbit. Though stargazing scientists have theorized the existence of planet-sized objects that don't orbit any star for years, research published today is the first to confirm a sighting of a so-called "free-floating planet," CFBDSIR2149, which meanders about a cluster of stars known as the AB Doradus Moving Group.

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  20. NASA WISE Mission Finds Millions of New Black Holes, 1,000 Superhot Galaxies For Good Measure

    NASA was teasing some big news about black holes yesterday, and this afternoon, we know what that is. The Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) space telescope has found millions of black holes dotting the universe, as well as more than 1,000 of the brightest galaxies ever observed, which have gone unobserved until now because they are shrouded with dust that has hidden them from view. This despite the galaxies in question being as much as 100 trillion times brighter than our Sun.

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