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January 13, 1994 - Image 7

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The Michigan Daily, 1994-01-13

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The Michigan Daily - Thursday. January 13, 1994 - 7

.Repaired Hubble Space Telescope will peer
in black holes, explore mysteries of cosmos

EYES ON THE DIAG

ARLINGTON, Va. (AP) - The
repaired Hubble Space Telescope has
vision keen enough to finally prove
the existence of black holes by mea-
uring the velocity of stars being
ucked into the center of galaxies,
experts say.
Astronomers at a national meet-
ing of the American Astronomical
Society said the December space
shuttle mission to correct the blurred
vision of the $1.6 billion Hubble has
been successful and the orbiting tele-
scope will soon be able to conduct an
unprecedented search for black holes.
S "The search for black holes is a
top priority for the Hubble space tele-
scope and our efforts have been frus-
trated by the (blurred image)," said
Gary Bower of the Space Telescope
Institute.
Asked if the repair effort corrected
Hubble's view sufficiently to now
prove the existence of black holes,
Bower replied, "Yes, it will."
. The Hubble has been undergoing

a checkout since its repair in Decem-
ber, and the National Aeronautics and
Space Administration is to formally
announce today whether the fix-itjob
was successful.
Astronomers who have gotten re-
ports on the work indicated Wednes-
day at a national meeting of the Ameri-
can Astronomical Society that the
Hubble now has 20-20 eyesight.
"The checkout has gone far better
than anyone had hoped," said an as-
tronomer with the astronomy pro-
gram. He asked not to be identified,
but said that "everything has been
done right on time in the tests."
At a news conference yesterday,
Bower said the Hubble will be able to
provide final proof about the exist-
ence of black holes by measuring
how fast stars are being pulled into
the center of galaxies by immense
gravitational force.
A black hole is thought to be an
ancient star, at least three times the
size of the sun, that has collapsed into

a single point only a few miles across.
Matter is so dense that it creates a
powerful gravitational force that
draws everything nearby, including
stars, into its center. Gravity becomes
so intense in a black hole that nothing
escapes, including light. Hence, the
object is dark and cannot be viewed
directly.
Instead, astronomers measure the
movement of objects and gas nearby
and determine from their velocity the
power of the gravitational point.
Bower said that based on mea-
surements made by the Hubble before
its repair and by ground-based tele-
scopes, astsronomers have found
about 20 galaxies that may have black
holes at their center. But no final
proof has been found.
"We seem to be getting closer and
closer," Bower said.
The problem, he said, is that in-
struments have not been able to mea-
sure velocities of stars as they ap-
proach the cusp of a black hole. As

matter moves faster and faster, it heats
up and releases bursts of light and
radiation that blot out the view. As a
result, earlier instruments could not
observe stars in their final dash to
oblivion.
Bower said the repaired Hubble
will provide that capability.
Proof of a black hole will come if
stars near the galactic center are found
to be moving at about 250,000 miles
an hour. If stars move more slowly in
that region, Bower said, it would be
evidence of no black hole.
Earlier Hubble studies have de-
tected stars clustered about the center
of galaxie M8g1, suggesting strongly
that this galaxy 12 million light years
away contains a black hole, he said.
"We are convinced that this sug-
gests that M81 contains ... a black
hole," Bower said. He estimated that
the black hole has 10 million times
more mass than the sun.
Final proof will await observa-
tions by the repaired Hubble.

---

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U.S. State Dept. renews
criticism of China's
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WASHINGTON (AP) - Back-
ing away from an upbeat assessment
by the U.S. ambassador to Beijing,
the State Department says China's
human rights performance falls far
short of U.S. conditions for an exten-
sion of trade benefits.
U.S. policy on China was thrown
into confusion last week when Am-
bassador J. Stapleton Roy told an in-
terviewer that "dramatic" progress had
been made in the protection of human
rights in China.
Yesterday, acting spokesperson
Christine Shelly said the department
stands by recent comments by Secre-
tary of State Warren Christopher that
"much more needs to be done."
At issue is whether goods imported
from China will continue to incur the
lowest possible tariffs permitted by
the United States. Last spring, Presi-
dent Clinton issued an executive or-
der approving a one-year extension of
these trade benefits but said signifi-
cant improvements in China's rights
record would be required for an addi-
tional extension in 1994.
Given the volume of China's trade
with the United States, an increase in
tariffs could have a substantial im-
pact on imports from that country.
Total 1993 U.S. imports from China
were about $31 billion.
U.S. officials, asking not to be
identified, said the rights issue will be
taken up in the coming weeks during
a yet-to-be-announced meeting be-
tween Christopher and China's For-
eign Minister Qian Qichen. Themeet-
ing is expected to be held in either
Europe or New York.

Clinton made China's rights record
an issue in the 1992 election cam-
paign, and the subject has been dis-
cussed repeatedly at high levels over
the past year.
"We are using our dialogue with
the Chinese ... to underscore the seri-
ousness of our concerns about the
human rights issue and the need for
progress," Shelly said.
She declined to mention specific
concerns, but her general assessment
was seconded by Mike Jedrzejczyk,
the China specialist at Asia Watch, a
private human rights group.
"There's been no substantial letup
in the level of repression since the
executive order was issued," he said
in a telephone interview. "In some
cases conditions have deteriorated.
"Strictly interpreting the execu-
tive order, I don't see any way Clinton
could renew (the trade benefits) right
now without undermining his cred-
ibility both on Capitol Hill and
Beijing."
Jedrzejczyk said thousands of po-
litical and religious dissidents remain
in jails, prisons and labor reform
camps; arrests and trials are continu-
ing in China and Tibet.
Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) said
Tuesday following a visit to China
that many in Congress will oppose
renewal of trade preferences for China
even if, as he suspects, Clinton de-
cides to "whitewash" the Chinese
human rights record,
Without major changes in the com-
ing months, "Mr. Clinton will have a
problem saying substantial progress
is being made," he added.

A- ~A L y
AC D~ O C--

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Read the
Daily

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