Wednesday, January 06, 2010

A Stellar Week in Astronomy

(Please click on this image for enlargement.)

Several developments on our knowledge of the Universe:

- A new Hubble Ultra Deep Field imaged in the infrared was released on Tuesday. The imagery was taken by the Wide Field Camera 3, which was installed on Hubble during the STS-125 servicing mission last May.

- The Kepler space observatory, launched last March, has revealed five new exoplanets (planets around other stars). These newly discovered worlds are large objects comparable to Jupiter in size. It will take a longer period of time for the spacecraft to detect Earth sized planets.

- The WISE space telescope, launched in December, has its first image released. The goal of this mission is to map the whole sky for faint objects.

- NASA Administrator Charles Bolden issues a strong endorsement for science and for human space exploration (hopefully reflecting coming Obama Administration policy).

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