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SCIENCE IN THE NEWS DAILY

X-Ray Telescope Promises Insight into Black Holes

from the San Francisco Chronicle

Space scientists at UC Berkeley are about to train their sights on a unique telescope that will fly into orbit Wednesday to explore the violent edges of black holes at the centers of countless galaxies like our own Milky Way.

The new NASA telescope, operated by the university's Space Sciences Laboratory, will also aim its X-ray eyes at the embers of burned-out exploding stars and at the sun's bursts of high-energy flares that send solar particles streaming to Earth at 2 million mph.

The telescope's instrument chief, astrophysicist William Craig of Berkeley's Space Sciences Laboratory, said Monday the mission, named NuSTAR, "will open a new window into the high-energy universe."

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PODCASTS: From Balloons to Space Stations: Studying Cosmic Rays

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Cosmic rays have mysterious qualities about them that scientists continue to research in order to better understand their origins and composition. Dr. Eun-Suk Seo, a professor of physics at the University of Maryland, and her colleagues, fly enormous balloons as large as a football stadium and a volume of 40-million-cubic feet for extended periods over Antarctica to study particles coming from cosmic rays before they break up in the atmosphere.

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