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  Space telescope to probe history of universe
Updated 25 August 2003, 15.02

The US space agency Nasa has launched the largest, most sensitive telescope ever to be sent into space.

The Space Infrared Telescope Facility (SIRTF) will study the early history of the universe.

Astronomers hope they will be able to use $2bn telescope to look at objects hidden by gas and dust that can't be seen normally.

Unlike the Hubble telescope which is in Earth orbit, this telescope will travel through deep space and send images back home.

Look back in time

The launch went smoothly
Because the distances in space are so enormous, looking at stars million of light years away is like looking back in time.

Astronomers will be able to look back to a time when the Universe was a very violent place and many new stars were being born.

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