Latest Spitzer Space Telescope Stories

2011-04-05 08:20:00

Astronomers have discovered that two symmetrical jets shooting away from opposite sides of a blossoming star are experiencing a time delay: knots of gas and dust from one jet blast off four-and-a-half years later than identical knots from the other jet. The finding, which required the infrared vision of NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, is helping astronomers understand how jets are produced around forming stars, including those resembling our sun when it was young. "More studies are needed to...

2011-03-21 08:25:00

The region around the center of our Milky Way galaxy glows colorfully in this new version of an image taken by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. The data were previously released as part of a long, 120-degree view of the plane our galaxy (see this page). Now, data from the very center of that picture are being presented at a different contrast to better highlight this jam-packed region. In visible-light pictures, it is all but impossible to see the heart of our galaxy, but infrared light...

2011-03-09 07:05:00

Young, but surprisingly grown-up Astronomers have used an armada of telescopes on the ground and in space, including the Very Large Telescope at ESO's Paranal Observatory in Chile to discover and measure the distance to the most remote mature cluster of galaxies yet found. Although this cluster is seen when the Universe was less than one quarter of its current age it looks surprisingly similar to galaxy clusters in the current Universe. "We have measured the distance to the most distant...

2011-02-10 14:15:00

Stars at all stages of development, from dusty little tots to young adults, are on display in a new image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. This cosmic community is called the North American nebula. In visible light, the region resembles the North American continent, with the most striking resemblance being the Gulf of Mexico. But in Spitzer's infrared view, the continent disappears. Instead, a swirling landscape of dust and young stars comes into view. "One of the things that makes me so...

2011-01-13 10:34:54

Astronomers have turned up the first direct proof that "standard candles" used to illuminate the size of the universe, termed Cepheids, shrink in mass, making them not quite as standard as once thought. The findings, made with NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, will help astronomers make even more precise measurements of the size, age and expansion rate of our universe. Standard candles are astronomical objects that make up the rungs of the so-called cosmic distance ladder, a tool for measuring...

2011-01-12 13:37:10

Astronomers have uncovered a burgeoning galactic metropolis, the most distant known in the early universe. This ancient collection of galaxies presumably grew into a modern galaxy cluster similar to the massive ones seen today. The developing cluster, named COSMOS-AzTEC3, was discovered and characterized by multi-wavelength telescopes, including NASA's Spitzer, Chandra and Hubble space telescopes, and the ground-based W.M. Keck Observatory and Japan's Subaru Telescope. "This exciting...

2010-12-07 08:52:54

Written by: Josh Rodgriguez, NASA/JPL The Large Binocular Telescope Interferometer has taken its first images of the star Beta Peg in the constellation Pictor -- an encouraging start for an instrument designed to probe the cosmic neighborhoods where Earth-like planets could exist. Eight years in development, the NASA-funded instrument combines beams of light from twin 8.4-meter (28-foot) mirrors mounted atop the Large Binocular Telescope on Mount Graham, Ariz. "By combining the light of the...

2010-11-24 14:24:23

Astronomers have caught sight of an unusual galaxy that has illuminated new details about a celestial "sandbar" connecting two massive islands of galaxies. The research was conducted in part with NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. These "sandbars," or filaments, are known to span vast distances between galaxy clusters and form a lattice-like structure known as the cosmic web. Though immense, these filaments are difficult to see and study in detail. Two years ago, Spitzer's infrared eyes revealed...

2010-11-13 07:55:00

By Dauna Coulter - Science @ NASA Did you know that the Earth has a dust tail? The Spitzer Space Telescope sailed right through it a few months ago, giving researchers a clear idea of what it looks like. That could be a big help to planet hunters trying to track down alien worlds. "Planets in distant solar systems probably have similar dust tails," says Spitzer project scientist Mike Werner. "And in some circumstances these dust features may be easier to see than the planets themselves. So...

2010-10-27 14:25:00

Astronomers have discovered bucket loads of buckyballs in space. They used NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope to find the little carbon spheres throughout our Milky Way galaxy -- in the space between stars and around three dying stars. What's more, Spitzer detected buckyballs around a fourth dying star in a nearby galaxy in staggering quantities -- the equivalent in mass to about 15 of our moons. Buckyballs, also known as fullerenes, are soccer-ball-shaped molecules consisting of 60 linked carbon...

Word of the Day
  • A gigantic fictional humanoid alien god being described with a head resembling an octopus and dragon wings and claws, around whom an insane cult developed.
  • Pertaining to the mythos of Cthulhu and additional otherworldly beings created by H. P. Lovecraft or inspired by his writings and imitators.
This word was invented in 1926 by H.P. Lovecraft for his short story, 'The Call of Cthulhu.' 'Cthulhu' may be based on the word 'chthonic,' which in Greek mythology refers to the underworld.