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©2004 by Richard Nolle

WOW!NOV 22, 2004 - NASA's Swift Mission was launched from Cape Canaveral on Saturday, November 20 (at 12:16:00.611 PM EST, to be precise). From its perch in earth orbit, the Swift satellite is designed to spend the next two years observing gamma-ray bursts with its multi-wavelength instruments. The idea is to catch these erratic and transient bursts in the act; study them, and determine what's causing them. Prevailing astronomical theory at present conceptualizes these monster energy blasts as the birth pangs of black holes; although other candidates include neutron star collisions and binary black hole effects. Swift may be able to shed some light on what's happening out there, and that's always of interest to us cosmically-oriented types down here.

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