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A spectacular image of the Bubble Nebula (NGC 7635) demonstrates the potential of the One Degree Imager, located at the WIYN 3.5-meter telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory. The imager is sensitive to visible light and features a 1000 megapixel camera. When capturing an image of a celestial object with the ODI, astronomers must translate what the telescope sees into something human eyes can see. To generate an image, the astronomers use a series of filters and assign different colors to each one. These colors roughly correspond to what the human eye would see. Learn more …

Caption:The Bubble Nebula.

Credit: T.A. Rector, University of Alaska, WIYN ODI team and NOAO/AURA/NSF

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Revealing early cosmic radiation: Researchers use the 10-meter South Pole Telescope to make the most precise measurement yet of the primordial radiation known as the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB). The researchers have extracted important information on the dynamics of the early universe by measuring the small-scale structure in the CMB.

Learn more: South Pole Telescope Reveals Early Cosmic Radiation

Caption: The South Pole Telescope, which is funded by NSF, measures structure in the cosmic microwave background. Credit: Daniel Luong-Van, NSF

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The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) has begun science operations by collecting images and spectra for several of the 100 projects selected from over 900 requests. Even in its “early science” configuration with just 16 of its 66 antennas operating, ALMA is the world’s most capable millimeter-wavelength telescope.

Caption: ALMA observed star formation initiated when two galaxies collided.
Credit: NRAO/AUI/NSF; ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO); HST (NASA, ESA, and B. Whitmore [STScI])
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This dome-shaped glass lens is the largest and heaviest of five components used to correct light reflecting off the Blanco telescope’s 13-foot-wide mirror. The camera optics will allow the Dark Energy Survey to scan an area of the sky about 20 times larger than the moon, detecting red-shifted light from more than 300 million galaxies. Credit: Fermilab and the Dark Energy Survey Consortium

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The 1.6-meter aperture New Solar Telescope at Big Bear Solar Observatory has captured the highest resolution image of the surface of the sun ever obtained in visible light. Crisp close-ups of the sun give researchers a better idea of how the sun’s features develop and evolve. Because features such as sunspots impact the earth, imagery will help researchers model and predict how the sun’s activity could affect the planet. This sunspot is slightly larger than Earth. Credit: Wenda Cao, New Jersey Institute of Technology

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A pristine coat of protected silver on the Gemini South telescope’s primary mirror is one of the highest performing astronomical mirrors in the world. Pictured: The mirror coating and support teams pose behind the Gemini South primary mirror after a successful coating process. Credit: Gemini Observatory/AURA