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Latest IRAS Stories

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2006-05-22 07:40:00

AKARI, the new Japanese infrared sky surveyor mission in which ESA is participating, saw 'first light' on 13 April 2006 (UT) and delivered its first images of the cosmos. The images were taken towards the end of a successful checkout of the spacecraft in orbit. The mission, formerly known as ASTRO-F, was launched on February 21, 2006 (UT) from the Uchinoura Space Centre in Japan. Two weeks after launch the satellite reached its final destination in space "“ a polar orbit around Earth...

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2005-09-20 16:17:01

Cambridge, MA -- Newborn stars are difficult to photograph. They tend to hide in the nebulous stellar nurseries where they formed, enshrouded by thick layers of dust. Now, Smithsonian astronomer T.K. Sridharan (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics) and his colleagues have photographed a pair of stellar twins in infrared light, which penetrates the dust. And these babies are whoppers, weighing several times the mass of the Sun. Moreover, Sridharan's images reveal a circumstellar disk...

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2005-07-28 18:18:45

JPL -- NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has found the ingredients for life all the way back to a time when the universe was a mere youngster. Using Spitzer, scientists have detected organic molecules in galaxies when our universe was one-fourth of its current age of about 14 billion years. These large molecules, known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, are comprised of carbon and hydrogen. The molecules are considered to be among the building blocks of life. These complex molecules are very...

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2005-07-21 07:42:14

Gemini -- A relatively young star located about 300 light-years away is greatly improving our understanding of the formation of Earth-like planets. The star, going by the unassuming name of BD +20 307, is shrouded by the dustiest environment ever seen so close to a Sun-like star well after its formation. The warm dust is believed to be from recent collisions of rocky bodies at distances from the star comparable to that of the Earth from the Sun. The results were based on observations...

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2005-03-01 13:20:00

JPL -- How do you hide something as big and bright as a galaxy? You smother it in cosmic dust. NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope saw through such dust to uncover a hidden population of monstrously bright galaxies approximately 11 billion light-years away. These strange galaxies are among the most luminous in the universe, shining with the equivalent light of 10 trillion suns. But, they are so far away and so drenched in dust, it took Spitzer's highly sensitive infrared eyes to find them. "We...

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2005-01-10 15:20:00

JPL -- Astronomers say a dusty disc swirling around the nearby star Vega is bigger than earlier thought. It was probably caused by collisions of objects, perhaps as big as the planet Pluto, up to 2,000 kilometers (about 1,200 miles) in diameter. NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has seen the dusty aftermath of this "run-in." Astronomers think embryonic planets smashed together, shattered into pieces and repeatedly crashed into other fragments to create ever-finer debris. Vega's light heats the...

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2004-11-25 07:47:27

LOGAN, Utah (AP) -- Utah State University has secured a $40 million contract with NASA to build an orbiting telescope that will examine galaxies and try to find new stars. The WISE - or Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer - telescope is part of a $208 million NASA mission to update its comprehensive map of the universe. After its scheduled launch in 2008, the telescope will detect infrared light, such as heat radiation, coming from objects currently undetectable. The 1,000-pound device will...


Word of the Day
drawcansir
  • A blustering, bullying fellow; a pot-valiant braggart; a bully.
This word is named for Draw-Can-Sir, a character in George Villiers' 17th century play The Rehearsal.
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