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Latest Spitzer Space Telescope Stories

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2010-04-14 12:38:35

Astronomers have snapped a picture of three planets orbiting a star beyond our own using a modest-sized telescope on the ground. The surprising feat was accomplished by a team at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., using a small portion of the Palomar Observatory's Hale Telescope, north of San Diego. The planets had been imaged previously by two of the world's biggest ground-based telescopes -- one of the two 10-meter (33-foot) telescopes of W.M. Keck Observatory and the...

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2010-04-08 13:50:00

A leggy cosmic creature comes out of hiding in this new infrared view from NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE. The spiral beauty, called IC 342 and sometimes the "hidden galaxy," is shrouded behind our own galaxy, the Milky Way. Stargazers and professional astronomers have a hard time seeing the galaxy through the Milky Way's bright band of stars, dust and gas. WISE's infrared vision cuts through this veil, offering a crisp view. In a spiral galaxy like IC 342, dust and gas...

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2010-04-07 13:35:00

For the first time, astronomers have directly observed the mysterious dark companion in a binary star system that has puzzled skywatchers since the 19th century. Using an instrument developed at the University of Michigan, scientists have taken close-up pictures of Epsilon Aurigae during its eclipse, which happens every 27 years. "Close up" in this case is a relative term, but the images zoom in enough to show the shape of the dark object's shadow. "Seeing is believing," said John Monnier, an...

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2010-04-02 07:45:00

Astronomers have their eyes on a hot group of young stars, watching their every move like the paparazzi. A new infrared image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope shows the bustling star-making colony of the Orion nebula, situated in the hunter's sword of the famous constellation. Like Hollywood starlets, the cosmic orbs don't always shine their brightest, but vary over time. Spitzer is watching the stellar show, helping scientists learn more about why the stars change, and to what degree...

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2010-03-29 13:00:00

A new image from NASA's Chandra and Spitzer space telescopes shows the dusty remains of a collapsed star. The dust is flying past and engulfing a nearby family of stars. "Scientists think the stars in the image are part of a stellar cluster in which a supernova exploded," said Tea Temim of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, Mass., who led the study. "The material ejected in the explosion is now blowing past these stars at high velocities." The composite image of...

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2010-03-25 06:55:00

Up to now, primitive black holes, which occupy the cores of active galaxies and were around as far back as the early days of the universe, only existed in astronomer's models. Researchers have now found two such gravitational monsters, however, which revealed themselves as brightly glowing quasars. Their light originates from a time when the universe was barely one billion years old - and we can see them now exactly as they appeared 12.7 billion years ago (Nature, March 18, 2010). A quasar is...

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2010-03-17 13:55:00

Astronomers have come across what appear to be two of the earliest and most primitive supermassive black holes known. The discovery, based largely on observations from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, will provide a better understanding of the roots of our universe, and how the very first black holes, galaxies and stars came to be. "We have found what are likely first-generation quasars, born in a dust-free medium and at the earliest stages of evolution," said Linhua Jiang of the University of...

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2010-01-29 11:00:00

An international team, led by astronomers at the University of Hertfordshire have discovered what may be the coolest sub-stellar body ever found outside our own solar system. Using the United Kingdom Infrared Telescope (UKIRT) in Hawaii, a discovery has been made of an object which is technically known as a brown dwarf. The team's findings have been accepted for publication in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. What has excited astronomers are its very peculiar...

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2010-01-25 16:15:00

NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, has spotted its first never-before-seen near-Earth asteroid, the first of hundreds it is expected to find during its mission to map the whole sky in infrared light. There is no danger of the newly discovered asteroid hitting Earth. The near-Earth object, designated 2010 AB78, was discovered by WISE Jan. 12. The mission's sophisticated software picked out the moving object against a background of stationary stars. As WISE circled Earth,...

2010-01-06 13:30:00

Infrared all-sky surveying telescope sends back first images from space WASHINGTON, Jan. 6 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, has captured its first look at the starry sky that it will soon begin surveying in infrared light. (Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20081007/38461LOGO) Launched on Dec. 14, WISE will scan the entire sky for millions of hidden objects, including asteroids, "failed" stars and powerful galaxies. WISE data will...


Word of the Day
baudekin
  • A rich embroidered or brocaded silk fabric woven originally with a warp of gold thread.
'Baudekin' seems to be an alternative form of 'baldachin,' from the Italian 'Baldacco,' Baghdad, the city where the material was made.
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