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New eyes on the cosmos

The next constellation of telescopes will dramatically extend and sharpen scientists’ view of the universe

When Galileo began pointing spyglasses toward the heavens —scanning methodically, classifying what he observed — he started a trend. Four centuries later, telescopes from the huge to the massive peer at the skies with an array of technologies. They look up from all over the Earth — and from far above it. But the heavens still conceal many secrets. So over the next decade or so, Galileo’s successors plan to deploy new, super-high–definition spyglasses to view the most distant objects in the cosmos, map the Milky Way and catalog newfound solar systems. Others would survey the heavens for breaking news: stellar explosions, passing comets or the appearance of potential “killer” asteroids.

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