Space: New Window on the Universe

With an unclouded view of the most distant stars, the sharp-eyed Hubble telescope will be able to look far back into time

Even on a clear night, astronomers cannot see forever. Light from the stars is diffused and distorted by the earth's atmosphere. To the casual stargazer, that produces a beautiful twinkle, but to the astronomer it is a tragic blur. Star watchers have long dreamed of somehow getting above the atmosphere to have an unobstructed look at the universe.

Now their opportunity has come. This week the space shuttle Discovery was scheduled to take off and deliver into earth orbit the Hubble space telescope, a bus-size instrument that will see the cosmos ten times as clearly as any ground-based telescope ever has....

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