Latest IRAS Stories

Planet-Forming Dust Abruptly Disappears Around Star
2012-07-05 05:10:33

Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online One star pinpointed as a prime location for a planet-forming disk decided enough was enough, and closed-up shop suddenly. While observing TYC 824126521, a young star located about 456 light years from Earth, researchers discovered that the planet-forming dust that once surrounded the star abruptly disappeared. Between 2008, when the star was being observed by a powerful infrared telescope in Chile, and 2010, when NASA's WISE...

WISE Catches Cosmic Dust Bunny
2012-04-27 03:13:54

Images from NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) reveal an old star in the throes of a fiery outburst, spraying the cosmos with dust. The findings offer a rare, real-time look at the process by which stars like our sun seed the universe with building blocks for other stars, planets and even life. The star, catalogued as WISE J180956.27-330500.2, was discovered in images taken during the WISE survey in 2010, the most detailed infrared survey to date of the entire celestial sky....

Image 1 - Geminid Meteor Shower Peaks Tonight
2011-12-13 09:18:14

[ Watch the Video ] The 2011 Geminid meteor shower peaks on the night of Dec. 13-14, and despite the glare of a nearly-full Moon, it might be a good show. "Observers with clear skies could see as many as 40 Geminids per hour," predicts Bill Cooke of the NASA Meteoroid Environment Office.  "Our all-sky network of meteor cameras has captured several early Geminid fireballs.  They were so bright, we could see them despite the moonlight." The best time to look is between 10 pm...

Image 1 - Astronomers Discover The Fried Egg Nebula
2011-09-28 09:41:23

[ Watch the Video ] University of Manchester astronomers used the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope (VLT) to discover the Fried Egg Nebula. The newly discovered star has a diameter of about a thousand times bigger than the Sun and is about 13,000 light-years away from Earth.  It is the closest hypergiant found so far and shines about 500,000 times brighter than the Sun "This object was known to glow brightly in the infrared but, surprisingly, nobody had...

2011-04-15 09:15:01

Astronomers across the globe can now sift through hundreds of millions of galaxies, stars and asteroids collected in the first bundle of data from NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) mission. "Starting today thousands of new eyes will be looking at WISE data, and I expect many surprises," said Edward (Ned) Wright of UCLA, the mission's principal investigator. WISE launched into space on Dec. 14, 2009 on a mission to map the entire sky in infrared light with greatly improved...

2010-12-12 16:00:00

The Geminid meteor shower, which peaks this year on Dec. 13th and 14th, is the most intense meteor shower of the year. It lasts for days, is rich in fireballs, and can be seen from almost any point on Earth. It's also NASA astronomer Bill Cooke's favorite meteor shower"”but not for any of the reasons listed above. "The Geminids are my favorite," he explains, "because they defy explanation." Most meteor showers come from comets, which spew ample meteoroids for a night of 'shooting...

2010-08-23 14:55:00

Tight double-star systems might not be the best places for life to spring up, according to a new study using data from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. The infrared observatory spotted a surprisingly large amount of dust around three mature, close-orbiting star pairs. Where did the dust come from? Astronomers say it might be the aftermath of tremendous planetary collisions. "This is real-life science fiction," said Jeremy Drake of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge,...

2010-07-14 12:30:00

Astronomers have obtained the first image of a dusty disc closely encircling a massive baby star, providing direct evidence that massive stars form in the same way as their smaller brethren. This discovery, made thanks to a combination of ESO's telescopes, is described in an article in this week's issue of Nature. "Our observations show a disc surrounding an embryonic young, massive star, which is now fully formed," says Stefan Kraus, who led the study. "One can say that the baby is about to...

2010-05-03 12:55:00

This week, Astronomy & Astrophysics is publishing a special feature devoted to the new results obtained with the infrared satellite AKARI, a JAXA project with the participation of ESA. It includes 17 articles dealing with various subjects. Some papers are based on the AKARI all-sky survey, which has just been released. Others are dedicated to pointed observations of many astronomical targets from solar system bodies to distant galaxies. Astronomy & Astrophysics is publishing a special...

Word of the Day
  • A cloth or covering, more or less ornamented, laid over the saddle or furniture of a horse, especially of a sumpter-horse or horse of state.
  • Clothing, especially sumptuous clothing; equipment; outfit.
  • To cover with a caparison, as a horse.
  • To dress sumptuously; adorn with rich dress.
This word ultimately comes from the Medieval Latin 'cappa,' cloak.