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UVEX NASA mission advances with Cornell astronomers on team

Cornell astronomers Anna Y. Q. Ho, assistant professor of astronomy in the College of Arts and Sciences, and Shrinivas R. Kulkarni, visiting professor of astronomy, are part of the mission team for the UltraViolet Explorer (UVEX) mission, which has advanced toward a 2028 launch with NASA.

This image from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope features the spiral galaxy Mrk (Markarian) 1337, which is roughly 120 million light-years away from Earth in the constellation Virgo.

Four astrophysics mission proposals to study stars, galaxies and some of the most violent explosions in the universe have been selected for further study by NASA, the agency announced Aug. 18.

UVEX, a plan to survey the whole sky in ultraviolet light to provide new insights into galaxy evolution and the lifecycle of stars, would close a gap in current observational capabilities, said Ho, who led the development of the science case for the “relativistic explosions” section of the mission’s proposal.

“Ultraviolet radiation contains astrophysical information that cannot be accessed in any other band of the electromagnetic spectrum,” Ho said. “UVEX will make by far the most sensitive UV image of the sky, reveal how the sky is changing at these wavelengths, and enable us to do large-scale spectroscopy in these bands for the first time.”

Read the full story on the College of Arts and Sciences website.

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