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Latest Spitzer Space Telescope Stories

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2009-04-23 09:36:19

A team of astronomers from the Instituto Astrofisica Canarias (IAC) have found an interesting shadow cast by a forming star system. Team member Dr Basmah Riaz, an ER fellow for the Marie Curie CONSTELLATION network, will present the results of their work on Thursday 23rd April in a poster at the European Week of Astronomy and Space Science conference at the University of Hertfordshire. In March 2008 the scientists observed the young star (protostar) system 2M171123 in the B59 molecular cloud,...

2009-04-20 13:34:32

Astronomers using the U.S. space agency's Spitzer Space Telescope say they have discovered at least one in 100 white dwarf stars has orbiting asteroids. The international team of astronomers say their finding suggests the orbiting asteroids and rocky planets once hosted solar systems similar to our own. White dwarf stars are the compact, hot remnants of stars such as the sun. The new observations suggest such Earth-sized stars are often polluted by a gradual rain of closely orbiting dust that...

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2009-04-20 09:40:00

Astronomers have completed the most comprehensive census of the star formation surrounding the Orion Nebula. Using the United Kingdom Infrared Telescope (UKIRT) in Hawaii, the IRAM Millimeter-wave Telescope in Spain, and the orbiting Spitzer Space Telescope, astronomers have uncovered a much busier scene than previously considered in and around Orion, some 1300 light years away from Earth. They found that a stellar nursery exists behind the constellation, and can be vaguely seen through the...

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2009-04-20 08:45:00

Using NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, an international team of astronomers have found that at least 1 in 100 white dwarf stars show evidence of orbiting asteroids and rocky planets, suggesting these objects once hosted Solar Systems similar to our own. Team member Dr Jay Farihi of the University of Leicester will present this discovery on Monday 20th April at the European Week of Astronomy and Space Science conference at the University of Hertfordshire. White dwarf stars are the compact, hot...

2009-04-11 13:45:31

Planets near stars cooler than Earth's sun may lack the material to produce life, say scientists at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. The scientists used the infrared Spitzer Space Telescope to search for hydrogen cyanide around 61 young stars, hydrogen cyanide being a component of a compound in DNA found in every living thing on Earth, the Los Angeles Times reported Saturday. The researchers found hydrogen cyanide in 30 percent of the yellow, sun-like stars, but none around cooler,...

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2009-04-08 15:45:00

Scientists from the University of Toronto and the University of British Columbia have helped unveil the birthplaces of ancient stars using a two-ton telescope carried by a balloon the size of a 33-storey building. After two years spent analyzing data from the Balloon-borne Large-Aperture Sub-millimeter Telescope (BLAST) project, an international group of astronomers and astrophysicists from Canada, the U.S. and the U.K. reveals today in the journal Nature that half of the starlight of the...

2009-04-08 09:22:00

COLUMBIA, Md., April 8 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Universities Space Research Association (USRA) is proud to announce the appointment of Dr. Erick Young as the Science Mission Operations Director for the Stratospheric Observatory For Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA - a highly modified Boeing 747SP aircraft fitted with a 2.5-meter/98-inch diameter infrared telescope). Dr. Young's selection marks a major milestone in the program's progress. As SOFIA Science Mission Operations Director, Dr. Young...

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2009-04-07 12:40:15

U.S.-led astronomers say new data hint that planets around stars cooler than the sun might have a differing mix of life-forming prebiotic chemicals. The astronomers used the Spitzer space telescope to look for a prebiotic chemical called hydrogen cyanide in the planet-forming material swirling around different types of stars. Hydrogen cyanide is a component of adenine that is a basic element of DNA, which is found in every living organism on Earth. The researchers said they detected hydrogen...

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2009-04-07 15:30:00

Cool Stars Have Different Mix of Life-Forming Chemicals Life on Earth is thought to have arisen from a hot soup of chemicals. Does this same soup exist on planets around other stars? A new study from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope hints that planets around stars cooler than our sun might possess a different mix of potentially life-forming, or "prebiotic," chemicals. Astronomers used Spitzer to look for a prebiotic chemical, called hydrogen cyanide, in the planet-forming material swirling...

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2009-04-03 18:35:00

One of our closest galactic neighbors shows its awesome beauty in this new image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. M33, also known as the Triangulum Galaxy, is a member of what's known as our Local Group of galaxies. Along with our own Milky Way, this group travels together in the universe, as they are gravitationally bound. In fact, M33 is one of the few galaxies that is moving toward the Milky Way despite the fact that space itself is expanding, causing most galaxies in the universe to...