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News briefs: December 11
Posted: Wed, Dec 12, 2001, 8:21 AM ET (1321 GMT)
  • The Senate has confirmed Peter Teets to become undersecretary of the Air Force, the highest-ranking military space position. Teets, a former president of Lockheed Martin, will also serve as director of the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO).
  • Magnetic fields and sunspots may affect the rotation rates of rapidly-spinning stars, astronomers said this week. A long-term study of AB Doradus, a star that spins 50 times faster than the Sun, shows that the spin rate varies with time and is tied to the number of sunspots visible on the star. Astronomers believe that magnetic activity, which creates the sunspots, also alters the circulation of gas in the star, affecting the rotation rate.
  • A space memorabilia collector is offering for sale traces of moondust from the Apollo 11 mission, collectSPACE reported this week. Florian Noller purchased a small piece of tape coated with dust at an auction in California in October. Noller is selling small pieces of the tape, 3 to 9 mm across, for between $849 and $4,995.
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