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News briefs: October 11
Posted: Fri, Oct 12, 2001, 12:53 AM ET (0453 GMT)
The Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan has tightened security in recent days, the Interfax news agency reported Thursday. The number of journalists and guests admitted to the site for ceremonies before and during the October 21 launch of a Soyuz taxi flight to ISS will be limited, according to spaceport officials. The decision is a response to the military action underway in Afghanistan... ESA's Ulysses spacecraft will pass over the north polar regions of the Sun for the second time this weekend. Launched by the space shuttle in 1990 on a mission to study the Sun's polar regions, Ulysses is in an elliptical polar orbit that takes it to within 10 degrees of latitude of the north pole of the Sun. It passed over the north pole for the first time in 1995. Ulysses is scheduled to remain operating through at least mid-2003... A poisonous gas may be a key tracer compound for studying the birth of stars, according to studies by European astronomers. Observations of protostars by the Infrared Space Telescope reveal that hydrogen cyanide forms when a protostar begins to warm up, generating energy that allows more complex compounds like hydrogen cyanide to form. Hydrogen cyanide is of particular interest because of its strong spectral signature, making it easier for astronomers to detect.
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