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NASA to Launch a New Telescope Array

June 11, 2012; 5:30 AM ET

NASA is making final preparations to launch its Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, NuSTAR. The goal of this mission, which will use X-ray vision to search for hidden black holes, ultra-dense neutron stars, and supernova remnants, is scheduled to launch from Kwajalein Atoll in the central Pacific Ocean anytime after June 13.

NuSTAR will be the first space telescope of its kind to forge focused images of cosmic X-rays with the highest energies. These are the same types of X-rays that doctors use to see your bones and airports use to search your bags. The telescope will have more than 10 times the resolution, and more than 100 times the sensitivity of any other telescope operating in a similar energy range.

Researching all different types of black holes, NuSTAR will aim to answer questions about the formation and physics behind these wonders of the cosmos. The observatory will also investigate how exploding stars create the elements that make up planets and people, and it will even help us learn about our own sun's atmosphere.

An Artist's Rendition of NuStar

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Astronomy Blog
The astronomy blog, by Dave Samuhel, discusses stargazing, including how weather will affect viewing conditions of astronomical phenomenon.