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New eyes on the cosmos

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

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11:19am, May 11, 2009

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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