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NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance.

This report has been reviewed by a group other than the authors according to procedures approved by a Report Review Committee consisting of members of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine.

This project was supported by the Department of Energy under Grant No. DE-FG05-89ER40421, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the National Science Foundation under Grant No. AST-8901685, the Naval Research Laboratory under Contract No. N00173-90-M-9744, and the Smithsonian Institution under Purchase Order No. SF0022430000. Additional support was provided by the Maurice Ewing Earth and Planetary Sciences Fund of the National Academy of Sciences created through a gift from the Palisades Geophysical Institute, Inc., and an anonymous donor.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

National Research Council (U.S.). Astronomy and Astrophysics Survey Committee.

The decade of discovery in astronomy and astrophysics / Astronomy and Astrophysics Survey Committee, Board on Physics and Astronomy, Commission on Physical Sciences, Mathematics, and Applications, National Research Council.

p. cm.

Includes bibliographical references and index.

ISBN 0-309-04381-6

1. Astronomy—Research. 2. Astrophysics—Research. I. Title.

QB61.N38 1991

520′.72—dc20

90-21659

CIP

Cover: A view of the Milky Way Galaxy obtained by NASA's Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE). The central parts of the Milky Way, the galaxy in which our sun and solar system are located, are normally obscured by intervening gas and dust. Observations in the near-infrared reveal a thin disk and a central bulge of stars at the center of the galaxy, located some 28,000 light-years away. Courtesy of the COBE Science Working Group and NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.

Copyright © 1991 by the National Academy of Sciences

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Printed in the United States of America



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