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Latest Spitzer Stories

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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...

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2010-10-19 13:45:00

Observations from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope reveal a distant planet with a warm spot in the wrong place. The gas-giant planet, named upsilon Andromedae b, orbits tightly around its star, with one face perpetually boiling under the star's heat. It belongs to a class of planets termed hot Jupiters, so called for their scorching temperatures and large, gaseous constitutions. One might think the hottest part of these planets would be directly under the sun-facing side, but previous...

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2010-09-24 06:30:00

Astronomers have discovered a new, cosmic phenomenon, termed "coreshine," which is revealing new information about how stars and planets come to be. The scientists used data from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope to measure infrared light deflecting off cores -- cold, dark cocoons where young stars and planetary systems are blossoming. This coreshine effect, which occurs when starlight from nearby stars bounces off the cores, reveals information about their age and consistency. In a new paper,...

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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...

2010-06-23 11:12:00

NEW YORK, June 23 /PRNewswire/ -- Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Kathleen Parker and former New York governor Eliot Spitzer will co-host a spirited, nightly roundtable discussion program on CNN/U.S., it was announced today by Jon Klein, president of CNN/U.S. The new program, set to debut this fall, will air weeknights at 8pm Eastern time. (Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20100623/CL25523 ) (Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20100623/CL25523 ) Spitzer, a legendary...

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2010-05-21 06:40:00

Our sun may be an only child, but most of the stars in the galaxy are actually twins. The sibling stars circle around each other at varying distances, bound by the hands of gravity. How twin stars form is an ongoing question in astronomy. Do they start out like fraternal twins developing from two separate clouds, or "eggs"? Or do they begin life in one cloud that splits into two, like identical twins born from one egg? Astronomers generally believe that widely spaced twin, or binary, stars...

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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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2010-02-12 07:25:00

Artwork inspired by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope is making an appearance at this year's Winter Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia. No, it's not battling other telescopes for the "gold," but its observations are now on display as part of the Vancouver 2010 Cultural Olympiad Festival. The Spitzer art project, called "We are Stardust," was created by George Legrady, a professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara. The two-screen installation maps the sequence of 36,034...

2009-10-07 06:58:00

PASADENA, Calif., Oct. 7 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has discovered an enormous ring around Saturn -- by far the largest of the giant planet's many rings. (Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20081007/38461LOGO) The new belt lies at the far reaches of the Saturnian system, with an orbit tilted 27 degrees from the main ring plane. The bulk of its material starts about six million kilometers (3.7 million miles) away from the planet and extends...

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2009-10-07 05:40:00

NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has discovered an enormous ring around Saturn -- by far the largest of the giant planet's many rings. The new belt lies at the far reaches of the Saturnian system, with an orbit tilted 27 degrees from the main ring plane. The bulk of its material starts about six million kilometers (3.7 million miles) away from the planet and extends outward roughly another 12 million kilometers (7.4 million miles). One of Saturn's farthest moons, Phoebe, circles within the...