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Latest Spitzer Space Telescope Stories

2010-07-22 13:00:00

WASHINGTON, July 22 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Astronomers using NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope have discovered carbon molecules, known as "buckyballs," in space for the first time. Buckyballs are soccer-ball-shaped molecules that were first observed in a laboratory 25 years ago. (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20081007/38461LOGO) (Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20081007/38461LOGO) They are named for their resemblance to architect Buckminster Fuller's geodesic...

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2010-07-22 14:15:00

Astronomers using NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope have discovered carbon molecules, known as "buckyballs," in space for the first time. Buckyballs are soccer-ball-shaped molecules that were first observed in a laboratory 25 years ago. They are named for their resemblance to architect Buckminster Fuller's geodesic domes, which have interlocking circles on the surface of a partial sphere. Buckyballs were thought to float around in space, but had escaped detection until now. "We found what are...

2010-07-16 12:00:00

WASHINGTON, July 16 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, will complete its first survey of the entire sky on July 17. The mission has generated more than one million images so far, of everything from asteroids to distant galaxies. (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20081007/38461LOGO ) (Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20081007/38461LOGO ) "Like a globe-trotting shutterbug, WISE has completed a world tour with 1.3 million slides...

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2010-07-16 08:03:38

Astronomy & Astrophysics is publishing a special feature devoted to the first science results obtained with Herschel, an ESA space observatory with science instruments provided by European-led Principal Investigator consortia and with important participation from NASA. Herschel was launched on May 14, 2009, and progress since launch with various webreleases can be followed on the Herschel Science Centre Latest News webpage at http://herschel.esac.esa.int/latest_news.shtml. Herschel has a...

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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...

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2010-07-07 13:45:00

A wave of massive star formation appears poised to begin within a mysterious, dark cloud in the Milky Way.  NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope  has revealed a secluded birthplace for stars within a wispy, dark cloud named M17 SWex. The dark cloud is part of the larger, parent nebula known as M17, a vast region of our galaxy with a bright, central star cluster. "We believe we've managed to observe this dark cloud in a very early phase of star formation before its most massive stars have...

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2010-06-24 15:35:00

Astronomers have uncovered what appear to be 14 of the coldest stars known in our universe. These failed stars, called brown dwarfs, are so cold and faint that they'd be impossible to see with current visible-light telescopes. Spitzer's infrared vision was able to pick out their feeble glow, much as a firefighter uses infrared goggles to find hot spots buried underneath a dark forest floor. The brown dwarfs join only a handful of similar objects previously discovered. The new objects are...

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2010-06-23 11:15:00

When you ask an astronomer about the James Webb Space Telescope's orbit, they'll tell you something that sounds like it came from a science-fiction novel. The Webb won't be orbiting the Earth "“ instead we will send it almost a million miles out into space to a place called "L2." L2 is short-hand for the second Lagrange Point, a wonderful accident of gravity and orbital mechanics, and the perfect place to park the Webb telescope in space. There are five so-called "Lagrange Points" -...

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2010-06-17 12:50:00

Astronomers have glimpsed what could be the youngest known star at the very moment it is being born. Not yet fully developed into a true star, the object is in the earliest stages of star formation and has just begun pulling in matter from a surrounding envelope of gas and dust, according to a new study that appears in the current issue of the Astrophysical Journal. The study's authors"”who include astronomers from Yale University, the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and the...

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2010-05-26 09:15:00

Astronomers studying the Milky Way have discovered a large number of previously-unknown regions where massive stars are being formed. Their discovery provides important new information about the structure of our home Galaxy and promises to yield new clues about the chemical composition of the Galaxy. "We can clearly relate the locations of these star-forming sites to the overall structure of the Galaxy. Further studies will allow us to better understand the process of star formation and to...