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Astronomy, space exploration brought country together in tumultuous year

Looking back » Utahns got front-row seats to some of astronomy’s biggest events in 2012.

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Despite the saddening moments, space exploration continues to astound.

A recent image of Saturn taken by Cassini, a spacecraft orbiting the ringed planet, showed backlit rings and a gorgeous green glow from the planet. Cassini, which NASA’s Barber continues to work on after 15 years of spaceflight, also sent back a high-resolution image of a Nile-like river system of methane and ethane on Saturn’s moon Titan.

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Voyager I, launched decades ago, is now on the edge of the solar system and is about to enter interstellar space. It’s still sending back data, and is the farthest manmade object from the sun. NASA scientists have discovered water in places such as the poles of the moon and even the poles of Mercury.

"I share the same anxieties as everyone else, but we all should be happy and proud and very excited about this year in astronomy," Jarvis said. "If you’re not astonished, you’re not paying attention to all the cool stuff going on in space."


Twitter: @sheena5427

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