Wallops Island rocket launch to study galaxies

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WALLOPS ISLAND, Va. (AP) - A rocket set to launch from Virginia's Wallops Island Flight Facility will study how the first galaxy was formed.

This image made available by NASA on Nov. 21, 2012 shows a bridge of hot gas that connects galaxy clusters Abell 399, lower center, and Abell 401, top left, discovered by the European Space Agency's Planck space probe. AP File Photo.

NASA says the Black Brant XII suborbital rocket carrying the Cosmic Infrared Background ExpeRiment is scheduled to be launched Tuesday night.

It will study when the first stars and galaxies formed in the universe and how brightly they burned their nuclear fuel.

The launch will be on a larger and more powerful rocket than previous flights. That should allow it to reach a higher altitude so it can provide for longer observation time for the instruments.

The rocket may be visible to residents in the mid-Atlantic region.

The experiment will splash down in the Atlantic Ocean more than 400 miles off the Virginia coast. It won't be recovered.

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