Among the tasks for astronauts aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery this past week were taking a head-to-tail look at Comet Hale-Bopp. The comet may be out-of-sight and out-of-mind for astronomers in the Northern Hemisphere, but it is still shining at about 4th magnitude in the morning sky for observers in the Southern Hemisphere. High above the atmosphere, shuttle astronauts mounted a 7-inch ultraviolet telescope to a window in the side hatch of the shuttle. This is the only window on the spacecraft that does not have ultraviolet filtering. To assist the observations, the shuttle's robotic arm was positioned to shade the window from the Sun.
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