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Category Archives: Hubble Telescope

Cosmic Chameleon: Galaxy’s Stunning Transformation by Hubble Filters – SciTechDaily

Posted: November 15, 2023 at 3:02 am

Hubble Space Telescope image of the barred spiral galaxy NGC 1385, located about 30 million light-years away. Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, R. Chandar, J. Lee and the PHANGS-HST team

The barred spiral galaxy NGC 1385 appears in two strikingly different Hubble telescope images, attributed to the use of various specialized filters.

This luminous tangle of stars and dust is the barred spiral galaxy NGC 1385, which is located approximately 30 million light-years from Earth. The same galaxy was the subject of another Hubble Picture of the Week (see image below), but the two images are notably different. This more recent image has far more pinkish-red and umber shades, whereas the former image was dominated by cool blues. This chromatic variation is not just a creative choice, but also a technical one, made in order to represent the different number and type of filters used to collect the data that were used to make the respective images.

Hubble Space Telescope image of spiral galaxy NGC 1385, located 68 million light-years away from Earth, in the constellation Fornax. Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, J. Lee and the PHANGS-HST Team

It is understandable to be a bit confused as to how the same galaxy, imaged twice by the same telescope, could be represented so differently in two different images.

The reason is that like all powerful telescopes used by professional astronomers for scientific research Hubble is equipped with a range of filters. These highly specialized components have little similarity to filters used on social media: those software-powered filters are added after the image has been taken, and cause information to be lost from the image as certain colors are exaggerated or reduced for aesthetic effect.

In contrast, telescope filters are pieces of physical hardware that only allow very specific wavelengths of light to enter the telescope as the data are being collected. This does cause light to be lost, but means that astronomers can probe extremely specific parts of the electromagnetic spectrum. This is very useful for a number of reasons; for example, physical processes within certain elements emit light at very specific wavelengths, and filters can be optimized to these wavelengths.

Take a look at this weeks image and the earlier image of NGC 1385. What are the differences? Can you see the extra detail (due to extra filters being used) in this weeks image?

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Today’s Photo from Ted Grussing Photography: Tweaking … my … –

Posted: at 3:02 am

I sold many of the photos off the walls of my home and I have spent time pondering whether to replace them or go with new photos to replace them. So far, I have decided to replace them, but have done some minor tweaking of the images before placing the orders these are two of the ones that will be going back on my walls.

The upper photo is a shot that I took years ago while flying through a monsoon storm over Sycamore Canyon on the way back to Sedona it was an incredible day with some intense storm cells and openings that let sunshine pour through and light up the rocks the once in a lifetime shot.

Below is a composite that I did years ago too, but it remains one of my favorites the primary photograph is an aerial shot taken east of the SF Peaks and Sunset Crater poked up through a low cloud layer that extended all the way to the Grand Canyon add to that portions of a Hubble telescope shot blended with it to bring the mysteries of the universe to the fore.

The new Webb telescope has made recent discoveries that call into question the widely accepted theory of an ever-expanding universe wherein galaxies and stars within galaxies are all retreating from each other so that in the distant future night skies would be black and devoid of light. Now, perhaps there is a newer and brighter future to look forward to

A new day in another new week it sure is nice to be here. Have a beautiful day and choose joy, smiles and life.

With joy!


Let us forgive much, forget more; Let me close my eyes and fall half asleep, That the pictures may grow softer and stiller, And the life, O thou God! again grow gentle.

excerpt from I Ponder Oer Love by Max Ehrmann


The easiest way to reach Mr. Grussing is by

In addition tosales of photographsalready taken Ted does special shoots for patrons on request and also does air-to-air photography for those who want photographs of their airplanes in flight. All special photographic sessions are billed on an hourly basis.

Ted also does one-on-one workshops for those interested in learning the techniques he uses. By special arrangement Ted will do one-on-one aerial photography workshops which will include actual photo sessions in the air.

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The science of exploration through photography The Durango … – The Durango Herald

Posted: at 3:02 am

Greetings, stargazers.

In 1995 the Hubble science team released the image of the Pillars of Creation. This photograph fundamentally changed the way most of us think of astrophotography. Yes, the high resolution and image details were quite impressive, but it was the color palette that made this image unique. I have written individual columns about nebulae, astrophotography, astronomical filters, and a bit of spectroscopy, but these topics all come together to create these assigned color photographs.

The Pillars of Creation are part of the Eagle Nebula, which was discovered in the eighteenth century and is the 16th object on Charles Messiers list of fuzzy things that are not comets. It was first photographed in the late nineteenth century and had been a regular late twentieth century target for astronomers using film cameras. While the first images were black and white, color film can produce some really nice images that would match (at least somewhat) what we might be able to see with our naked eyes if they were sensitive enough.

Because the Hubble telescope was primarily a science mission, there was great interest in studying the composition of the universe by looking at specific wavelengths of light. Each element has its own unique spectral signature, or fingerprint, so looking for a certain wavelength of light associated with a specific element will reveal the distribution of that element. For example, excited hydrogen atoms emit a prominent red line at 656 nanometers, and taking a photograph through a filter that passes 656 nanometer light will show the distribution of hydrogen atoms.

Narrowband filters are made by building up multiple layers of dielectric coatings on a glass surface. These coatings are the same as the anti-reflective coatings you can get on your eyeglasses, but by using specific thicknesses and layers, selected wavelengths of light can be allowed to pass through, while others are reflected.

Instead of simply looking at one element at a time, it is possible to associate an element to one of the red, green, or blue portions of a 3-color photograph. In what is now called the Hubble Palette, a line of sulfur was assigned to be red, a line of hydrogen was assigned to be green, and a line of oxygen was assigned to be blue.

Narrowband filters are now readily available, although they are not cheap. As the quality of digital cameras has improved over the last couple of decades, so has the quality of Earth-based narrowband images. It is easy to recognize narrow band images because of the vivid colors, instead of the overall magenta tones from hydrogen gas seen in natural light.

As the use of the Fort Lewis observatories continue expanding, I hope that more of these narrowband images will be produced locally.

Hubble image updates

Astronomy picture of the day

An Astronomers forecast for Durango

Old Fort Lewis Observatory

This month

Charles Hakes teaches in the physics and engineering department at Fort Lewis College and is the director of the Fort Lewis Observatory.

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Hubble telescope captures jaw-dropping ‘glitzy’ galactic view – Study Finds

Posted: August 8, 2023 at 10:52 am

GREENBELT, Md. A new jaw-dropping image from space has astronomers quoting that famous line from 2001: A Space Odyssey My God, its full of stars!

NASA has unveiled a galactic cluster packed with vibrant points of light. While many images from space these days come from the state-of-the-art James Webb Space Telescope, this one actually come from the older Hubble Telescope.

The glittering, glitzy contents of the globular cluster NGC 6652 sparkle in this star-studded image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, NASA officials write in a media release.

The core of the cluster is suffused with the pale blue light of countless stars, and a handful of particularly bright foreground stars are adorned with crisscrossing diffraction spikes.

NGC 6652 lies in our own Milky Way galaxy in the constellation Sagittarius, just under 30,000 light-years from Earth and only 6,500 light-years from the galactic center.

Globular clusters are stable, densely-packed clusters that are tightly bound by gravity, containing anywhere from tens of thousands to millions of stars. Their spherical shape is the result of the intense gravitational attraction between closely packed stars within the clusters.

The image in question has been compiled using data from two of Hubbles most advanced cameras: the Advanced Camera for Surveys and the Wide Field Camera 3. Additionally, the data has been drawn from two distinct observing programs, each conducted by separate teams of astronomers.

The first team embarked on a survey of globular clusters within the Milky Way galaxy, aiming to shed light on various subjects, ranging from the ages of these clusters to the overall gravitational potential of the galaxy itself.

The second team of astronomers employed a set of three highly sensitive filters in Hubbles Wide Field Camera 3. Their goal was to discern the proportions of carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen within specific globular clusters, such as NGC 6652.

The Webb telescope is currently the largest telescope in space, being equipped with high-resolution and high-sensitivity instruments, allowing it to view objects which are usually too old, distant, or faint for Hubble.

South West News Service writer Dean Murray contributed to this report.

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Hubble Telescope Captures Star Blasting Planet’s Atmosphere – The Daily Progress

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Hubble Telescope Captures Star Blasting Planet's Atmosphere  The Daily Progress

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Planetary defense test deflected an asteroid but unleashed a … – UCLA Newsroom

Posted: at 10:52 am

Key takeaways

In September 2022, NASA deliberately slammed a spacecraft into the asteroid Dimorphos to knock it slightly off course. NASAs objective was to evaluate whether the strategy could be used to protect Earth in the event that an asteroid was headed toward our planet.

A new study led by UCLA astronomer David Jewitt found that the collision had an unintended consequence: It launched a cloud of boulders from its surface. And, as the paper notes, smaller rocks flying off into space could create their own problems.

The boulder swarm is like a cloud of shrapnel expanding from a hand grenade, said Jewitt, lead author of the study and a UCLA professor of earth and planetary sciences. Because those big boulders basically share the speed of the targeted asteroid, theyre capable of doing their own damage.

Jewitt said that given the high speed of a typical impact, a 15-foot boulder hitting Earth would deliver as much energy as the atomic bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima.

Fortunately, neither Dimorphos nor the boulder swarm have ever posed any danger to Earth. NASA chose Dimorphos because it was about 6 million miles from Earth and measured just 581 feet across close enough to be of interest and small enough, engineers reasoned, that the half-ton Double Asteroid Redirection Test, or DART, planetary defense spacecraft would be able to change the asteroids trajectory.

When it hurtled into Dimorphos at 13,000 miles per hour, DART slowed Dimorphos orbit around its twin asteroid, Didymos, by a few millimeters per second. But, according to images taken by NASAs Hubble Space Telescope, the collision also shook off 37 boulders, each measuring from 3 to 22 feet across. None of the boulders is on a course to hit Earth, but if rubble from a future asteroid deflection were to reach our planet, Jewitt said, theyd hit at the same speed the asteroid was traveling fast enough to cause tremendous damage.

The research, published in the Astrophysical Journal Letters, found that the rocks were likely knocked off the surface by the shock of the impact. A close-up photograph taken by DART just two seconds before the collision shows a similar number of boulders sitting on the asteroids surface and of similar sizes and shapes to the ones that were imaged by the Hubble telescope.

The boulders that the scientists studied, among the faintest objects ever seen within the solar system, are observable in detail thanks to the powerful Hubble telescope.

If we follow the boulders in future Hubble observations, we may have enough data to pin down the boulders precise trajectories, Jewitt said. And then well see in which directions they were launched from the surface and figure out exactly how they were ejected.

The European Space Agencys HERA spacecraft will have an opportunity to collect more data about the boulders when it returns to Dimorphos in 2026 to study DARTs results in more detail. Findings from that mission wil.l inform future planetary defense strategies and technologies, Jewitt said.

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This new tool ‘cleans’ annoying satellite trails from Hubble telescope photos –

Posted: June 14, 2023 at 12:43 pm

Despite the alarming regularity with which artificial satellites intrude on photos snapped by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, the science done with data from the telescope has not suffered, a new study reports.

"To date, not one Hubble science program has been affected by satellite trails," representatives of the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Maryland, which carries out science operations for Hubble and conducted the latest study, wrote in a statement published Monday (June 5).

Skywatchers, professional astronomers and the International Astronomical Union have long sounded alarm bells about the rising number of artificial satellites significantly brightening the night sky and photobombing telescope images. Those unwelcome guests glide in orbits higher than Hubble's decaying one, which is now at a sensitive spot some 334 miles (538 kilometers) above Earth, and appear in the telescope images as bright streaks, thanks to sunlight reflecting off their bodies. They outshine faint stars and galaxies in deep space and ultimately endanger precious data about the cosmos, astronomers have argued.

Related: The best Hubble Space Telescope images of all time!

Findings from the latest study disagree on the acuteness of those concerns, however, at least for images captured by Hubble. The study does not mention the impact on research due to satellite trails cropping up in observations by ground-based telescopes.

"The good news is, in the vast majority of cases, satellite trails do not appear to threaten our ability to do science with the Hubble Space Telescope," David Stark, a staff scientist at STScI and an author of the new study, said on Monday at the 242nd meeting of the American Astronomical Society being held in Albuquerque and online. "Cosmic rays are a much bigger issue when you look at individual exposures."

A typical satellite trail is "relatively thin," taking up some five to 10 pixels in a Hubble image about 0.5% of the photo's total pixel count, according to Stark. In comparison, ubiquitous cosmic rays, particles traveling at extremely high speeds that show up as satellite-like streaks in telescope images, affect three to six times more pixels and can render entire exposures useless.

The standard practice for Hubble observations is to snap multiple exposures of the same slice of the night sky where a celestial target resides. If a few images are contaminated, other similar exposures are usually combined to effectively erase the impacts of satellite trails or cosmic rays and recover a snapshot of the pristine night sky, Stark said during his presentation.

There are about 9,700 active and dormant satellites in orbit right now, with over 4,000 launched by SpaceX as part of its Starlink megaconstellation and a smaller contribution by OneWeb, which had flown a total of 582 satellites into orbit by early March. By the time 2030 rolls in, more than 100,000 satellites are expected to crowd low Earth orbit, according to a report by Astronomy Magazine's Nathaniel Scharping.

Despite the predicted spike, scientists behind the new research say it is possible to identify and erase satellites' pencil-like presence from telescope images without impacting the quality of research. One way to do so would be using a newly developed algorithm, whose image analysis technique sums up the light from every straight path across an image to flag contaminated pixels betraying satellite trails, scientists say.

"When we flag them, we should be able to recover the full field of view without a problem, after combining the data from all exposures," Stark said in the same statement.

To test out its efficiency, he and his colleagues applied the algorithm to the past 20 years of Hubble data, specifically images captured by the telescope's workhorse instrument called the Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS). The team then plotted the number of satellite trails per hour and the fraction of individual exposures by Hubble polluted by satellite trails.

While the brightness of the trails remained about the same across those two decades, the rate at which streaks showed up in images doubled: from once ever three to four hours in 2002 to every one to two hours in 2022, the team found.

The software which is five to 10 times more sensitive than its predecessor, also built by STScI is efficient at "digging into the weeds" of Hubble images and erasing effects of even weak trails that are hard to see with the naked eye, Stark told reporters on Monday.

The algorithm did miss satellite streaks and at times even found false trails in image corners, where the straight lines it was trained to trace are shorter than the rest of the image, making the tool less sensitive, according to the study.

Despite the drawbacks, even if satellite contamination in telescope images mushrooms as expected from the current rate of one bright streak in every 10 pictures to one in every image, "we are still pretty confident that we can remove their effect," he said.

Follow Sharmila Kuthunur on Twitter @skuthunur. Follow us @Spacedotcom, or on Facebook and Instagram.

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Hubble Telescope gazes into the heart of a monstrous galaxy cluster (photo) –

Posted: May 14, 2023 at 12:08 am

A new image from the Hubble Space Telescope gazes into the lair of a cosmic leviathan, a monstrous cluster of galaxies located nine billion light-years away in the constellation Draco.

Like a sea monster in ancient myth submerged and waiting to snatch unfortunate sailors to their doom, this celestial beast can be seen by the ripples around it. This leviathan is so titanic, however, that the ripples aren't traveling the surface of an ocean or lake but rather are distortions in the fabric of space-time itself.

This particular galaxy cluster, known as eMACS J1823.1+7822, is one of five selected for observation by Hubble astronomers to determine the strength of this "warping" effect, which was first predicted by Albert Einstein's theory of general relativity.

Related: The best Hubble Space Telescope images of all time!

The 1915 theory, which is occasionally called Einstein's geometric theory of gravity, predicts that, as bowling balls placed on a trampoline create a depression, objects with mass cause the very fabric of space-time to warp. This curvature gives rise to the force of gravity. And the greater the mass of a cosmic object, the more extreme the warping of space it causes.

Light travels across the universe in straight lines, but when it encounters a warp caused by a truly massive object, its path is curved. When the warping object is between Earth and a background object, it can curve light in such a way that the apparent position of the background object is shifted.

But when the intermediate or "lensing object" is truly massive like a monstrous cluster of galaxies, for example light from the background source takes a different amount of time to reach Earth depending on how close it passes to the natural cosmic lens.

This effect, called gravitational lensing, can make single objects appear at multiple points in the sky, often in stunning arrangements called Einstein rings and Einstein crosses. It can also cause background objects to appear amplified in the sky, a powerful effect that astronomers use to observe distant and early faint galaxies.

The distortion caused by massive clusters like eMACS J1823.1+7822 can also help astronomers study mysterious dark matter, which accounts for around 85% of the mass in the universe but is invisible because it does not interact with electromagnetic radiation. Because dark matter does interact gravitationally, however, the lensing of light by a galaxy or galactic cluster can help researchers map the distribution of dark matter.

In the new Hubble image, eMACS J1823.1+7822, made up of a collection of elliptical galaxies, acts as a gravitational lens. The cluster warps the shape of the galaxies around it, giving them a slightly elongated shape, turning some into arcs and others into bright streaks.

This particular image was created using Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys and its Wide Field Camera 3 instrument, both of which have the ability to view galaxies and stars in specific wavelengths of light. Observing objects at different wavelengths in this way allows for a more complete picture of the structure, researchers say.

In turn, such observations can reveal the composition and behavior of an object that would be hidden in visible light alone. When combined with the use of clusters like eMACS J1823.1+7822, gravitational lensing allows this to be done for some of the universe's earliest galaxies. So powerful observatories like Hubble and the James Webb Space Telescope can probe conditions found shortly after the Big Bang and the very birth of the universe.

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NASA’s Hubble telescope captures Jupiter’s Great Red Spot, reveals shocking details – DNA India

Posted: at 12:08 am

American space agency, NASA Hubble Telescope captured the Great Red Spot on the largest planet in the solar system, Jupiter. Interestingly, the spot is a vast storm, spinning like a cyclone. The Great Red Spot on Jupiter is the largest known storm in the solar system.



Informing about the same, Hubble Telescope tweeted, "Jupiter's Great Red Spot, seen in this #Hubble Classic image from 1999, has captivated astronomers for centuries. The spot is a vast storm, spinning like a cyclone. It's the largest known storm in our solar system and almost twice the size of Earth."

Reportedly, the Red Spot is present in Jupiter's atmosphere for over 300 years. "When 17th-century astronomers first turned their telescopes to Jupiter, they noted a conspicuous reddish spot on the giant planet. This Great Red Spot is still present in Jupiter's atmosphere, more than 300 years later. It is known that it is a vast storm, spinning like a cyclone. Unlike a low-pressure hurricane in the Caribbean Sea, however, the Red Spot rotates in a counterclockwise direction in the southern hemisphere, showing that it is a high-pressure system. Winds inside this Jovian storm reach speeds of about 270 mph," Hubble site informed.

Read: Archaeologists find 7000-year-old road inside sea; list of items found

Explaining the reason behind the long lifetime of the Red Spot, the Hubble site said, "The long lifetime of the Red Spot may be due to the fact that Jupiter is mainly a gaseous planet. It possibly has liquid layers, but lacks a solid surface, which would dissipate the storm's energy, much as happens when a hurricane makes landfall on the Earth. However, the Red Spot does change its shape, size, and colour, sometimes dramatically."

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NASA's Hubble telescope captures Jupiter's Great Red Spot, reveals shocking details - DNA India

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Hubble telescope spies ‘peek-a-boo’ exoplanets amid star’s tilted dust rings –

Posted: at 12:08 am

A young red dwarf star system has been engaged in a multiple-year-long game of "peek-a-boo" with the Hubble Space Telescope.

This may represent more than mere fun and games, however. The shadows astronomers are chasing around the vast disk of gas and dust surrounding the star TW Hydrae could represent planets being born.

The distant star system observed by the Hubble telescope is tilted toward Earth and provides a birds-eye view of its disk where dense clumps of gas and dust collapse to form planets. This means it could give astronomers a better picture of the early years of the solar system and how the planets began to form around the infant sun around 4.5 billion years ago.

Astronomers have been intently observing TW Hydrae, a red dwarf star estimated to be under 10 million years old and located 200 light-years away, since at least 2017 when it was first reported that a shadow is sweeping across the pancake-shaped disk that surrounds it. This shadow was attributed to the fact the inner disk around the star is tilted slightly in relation to the larger outer disk, with this "warp" likely caused by the gravity of an unseen planet pulling at gas and dust inclining the material's orbit.

Related: Carina Nebula twinkles in gorgeous new view from Hubble (photo)

Now, astronomers have spotted a second shadow moving over the disk in observations made by Hubble on June 6, 2021. This new shadow on the outer disk of TW Hydrae is distinct from its predecessor, however, as it was effectively "hiding" in earlier observations, according to the science team.

"We found out that the shadow had done something completely different. When I first looked at the data, I thought something had gone wrong with the observation because it wasn't what I was expecting," principal investigator and Space Telescope Science Institute researcher John Debes, said in a statement. (opens in new tab) "I was flummoxed at first, and all my collaborators were like: 'what is going on?' We really had to scratch our heads and it took us a while to actually figure out an explanation."

After examining the problem using sophisticated models that varied the number and orientation of disks around TW Hydrae to try to reproduce Hubble's observations, the team determined that there are two misaligned disks present around the red dwarf both casting shadows on its outer disk.

They attribute the fact that there are two warped disks to the presence of two planets "under construction" in the system with both exerting a gravitational pull on gas and dust around the young red dwarf. The proto-planets would have to have slightly different orbital planes to cause this double warping.

The astronomers also have an idea of why one of the planets was playing peek-a-boo in the earlier 2017 observations, theorizing that the shadow it causes was merged with the previously discovered shadow. Moving at a slightly different speed, the second shadow eventually emerged allowing it to be sighted by Hubble in 2021.

This indicates that the two forming planets could be lapping each other as they orbit their parent star like two analog clocks running at different speeds, one fast and one slow with their hands aligning briefly at a specific time.

"It does suggest that the two planets have to be fairly close to each other," Debes said. "If one was moving much faster than the other, this would have been noticed in earlier observations. It's like two racing cars that are close to each other, but one slowly overtakes and laps the other."

The shadows seem to complete an orbit every 15 years and this would imply the two proto-planets exist at a distance from TW Hydrae that is similar to the distance between Jupiter, the solar system's fifth planet, and the sun.

The similarities to the solar system don't end there, however. The scientists found that the inclination of the planets relative to the plane of the outer disk is 5 to 7 degrees, which is similar to the orbital inclinations in our planetary system.

"This is right in line with typical solar system-style architecture," said Debes.

The TW Hydrae disk also has a mysterious gap at a distance equivalent to twice the distance between Pluto and the sun which may be evidence of yet another planet in the young system. The outer disk across which the shadows play extends out for several times the radius of the Kuiper Belt at the edge of the solar system, however.

There could also be planets around TW Hydrea that are closer to the red dwarf star that may prove difficult to observe due to them being lost in the glare from the stellar body. This difficulty would also be compounded by dust in the system dimming light from the star reflected from these potential inner planets.

One potential way of observing planets closer to TW Hydrae would be to use the European Space Agency's Gaia spacecraft to observe the system. Gaia precisely measures the position of stars relative to Earth and can allow astronomers to see the "wobble" caused by the movement of these stars by orbiting planets exerting a tiny gravitational tug on them.

Future investigations of the TW Hydrea system could reveal even more similarities with the solar system meaning observing the evolution of this young star and its planets is like observing the birth and growth of our own corner of space.

The team's research was published in The Astrophysical Journal. (opens in new tab)

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