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NASA's Nustar X-Ray Telescope Rides to Orbit

from BBC News Online

The US space agency (NASA) has launched its latest orbiting X-ray observatory. The Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (Nustar) was sent into space on a Pegasus rocket operated out of the Kwajalein Atol in the central Pacific.

Nustar will study high-energy X-rays coming from exotic sources such as black holes, exploded stars and the hot gas in galaxy clusters. The observatory will capture its target X-rays using a novel optics system held on the end of a 10m-long extension.

"Nustar will open up a whole new window on the Universe by being the very first telescope to focus high-energy X-rays," explained Fiona Harrison, Nustar's principal investigator from the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California. "As such it will make images that are 10 times crisper and 100 times more sensitive than any telescope that has operated in this region of the spectrum."

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