The Spitzer Space Telescope website will be down on Tuesday July 29th from 9am PDT to 10am PDT for server maintenance. Thank you for your patience.

Download Video

Video Information

Subscribe to Series

04.20.05

Band of Rubble

This artist's animation illustrates a massive asteroid belt in orbit around a star the same age and size as our Sun. Evidence for this possible belt was discovered by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope when it spotted warm dust around the star, presumably from asteroids smashing together.

The view starts from outside the belt, where planets like the one shown here might possibly reside, then moves into to the dusty belt itself. A collision between two asteroids is depicted near the end of the movie. Collisions like this replenish the dust in the asteroid belt, making it detectable to Spitzer.

The alien belt circles a faint, nearby star called HD 69830 located 41 light-years away in the constellation Puppis. Compared to our own solar system's asteroid belt, this one is larger and closer to its star -- it is 25 times as massive, and lies just inside an orbit equivalent to that of Venus. Our asteroid belt circles between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.

Because Jupiter acts as an outer wall to our asteroid belt, shepherding its debris into a series of bands, it is possible that an unseen planet is likewise marshalling this belt's rubble. Previous observations using the radial velocity technique did not locate any large gas giant planets, indicating that any planets present in this system would have to be the size of Saturn or smaller.

Asteroids are chunks of rock from "failed" planets, which never managed to coalesce into full-sized planets. Asteroid belts can be thought of as construction sites that accompany the building of rocky planets.

Browse Videos in Science Animations

2040100 per page

Details or Icons

Page-nav-left Page 2 of 4 Page-nav-right

Go to page

04.18.07

Infrared Rose

This movie begins by showing an optical image of the Rosette nebula, a turbulent star-forming region located 5,000 li...

Watch now

03.29.07

Two Suns Raise Family of Planetary Bodies

This artist's animation depicts a faraway solar system like our own -- except for one big difference. Planets and ast...

Watch now

02.21.07

Hot, Dry, and Cloudy (Artist Concept)

This artist's concept animation shows a cloudy Jupiter-like planet that orbits very close to its fiery hot star. NASA...

Watch now

12.18.06

Stars Spring Up Out of the Darkness

This artist's animation illustrates the universe's early years, from its explosive formation to its dark ages to its ...

Watch now

11.07.06

Hubble-Spitzer Orion

This video cycles between the Hubble view, the Spitzer view, and the combined Hubble-Spitzer view of the Orion Nebula.

Watch now

11.07.06

Making a Great Observatories Composite

This video shows how a Hubble image and a Spitzer image of the Orion Nebula were combined to create a new, multi-wave...

Watch now

10.30.06

Who Ya Gonna Call?

NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope is a galactic ghost buster, spotting hidden massive stars and other monsters lurking i...

Watch now

10.26.06

Order Amidst Chaos of Star's Explosion

This artist's animation shows the explosion of a massive star, the remains of which are named Cassiopeia A. NASA's Sp...

Watch now

10.12.06

Fire and Ice Planet (without data plot)

This artist's animation shows a blistering world revolving around its nearby "sun." NASA's infrared Spitzer Space Tel...

Watch now

10.12.06

Fire and Ice Planet

This artist's animation shows a blistering world revolving around its nearby "sun." NASA's infrared Spitzer Space Tel...

Watch now

08.14.06

Journey to Orion

This movie begins with a visible view of the famous Orion constellation. Superimposed on the area near Orion's sword ...

Watch now

07.24.06

Stars Can't Spin Out of Control

This artist's animation demonstrates how a dusty planet-forming disk can slow down a whirling young star, essentially...

Watch now

06.05.06

Fade to Red

This animation shows the Andromeda galaxy, first as seen in visible light by the National Optical Astronomy Observato...

Watch now

04.05.06

Birth of 'Phoenix' Planets?

This artist's animation depicts the explosive death of a massive star, followed by the creation of a disk made up of ...

Watch now

03.16.06

Cigar Galaxy up in Smoke

This movie compares a visible-light view of the "Cigar galaxy" to an infrared view from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescop...

Watch now

06.09.05

The Cry of Cassiopeia A

This animation begins with a stunning false-color picture of the supernova remnant Cassiopeia A. It is made up of ima...

Watch now

06.02.05

Space Eyes See Comet Tempel 1

This artist's concept of Tempel 1 illustrates the comet's shape, reflectivity, rotation rate and surface temperature,...

Watch now

05.30.05

Carina in Context

This animation starts with an image of a larger but lower resolution image of the Carina Nebula from the Midcourse Sp...

Watch now

05.30.05

Pillars Behind the Dust

The movie begins with a visible-light picture of the southern region of our Milky Way galaxy then slowly zooms into t...

Watch now

05.04.05

A More Spectacular Sombrero

This movie shifts from the well-known visible-light picture of Messier 104 taken by the Hubble Space Telescope to inf...

Watch now