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

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 the area imaged by NASA's Spitzer Space telescope. The dust pillars are fewer and appear dark in the visible-light view because the dust is soaking up visible light. Spitzer's infrared detectors cut through this dust, allowing it to see the heat from warm, embedded star embryos, as well as deeper, more buried pillars.

The false-color image taken by Spitzer shows the "South Pillar" region of the star-forming region called the Carina Nebula. Like cracking open a watermelon and finding its seeds, the infrared telescope "busted open" this murky cloud to reveal star embryos (yellow or white) tucked inside finger-like pillars of thick dust (pink). Hot gases are green and foreground stars are blue. Not all of the newfound star embryos can be easily spotted.

Eta Carinae is a behemoth of a star, with more than 100 times the mass of our Sun. It is so massive that it can barely hold itself together. Over the years, it has brightened and faded as material has shot away from its surface. Some astronomers think Eta Carinae might die in a supernova blast within our lifetime.

Eta Carinae's home, the Carina Nebula, is located in the southern portion of our Milky Way galaxy, 10,000 light-years from Earth. This colossal cloud of gas and dust stretches across 200 light-years of space. Though it is dominated by Eta Carinae, it also houses the star's slightly less massive siblings, in addition to the younger generations of stars.

The Spitzer image was taken by the infrared array camera on the telescope. It is a three-color composite of invisible light, showing emissions from wavelengths of 3.6 microns (blue), 4.5 microns (green), 5.8 microns (orange), and 8.0 microns (red).

The visible-light picture is from the National Optical Astronomy Observatory.

Browse Videos in Science Animations

2040100 per page

Details or Icons

Page-nav-left-disabled Page 1 of 4 Page-nav-right

Go to page

03.20.14

Panning Through the Milky Way

This video shows a continually looping view of the Spitzer Space Telescope's new infrared view of our Milky Way Galaxy.

Watch now

07.18.12

Flying Out to GJ 436 and its Planets

Starting from Earth, we quickly zoom out of the solar system into our sun's local neighborhood, populated by the clos...

Watch now

05.08.12

Super Earth Reveals Itself to Spitzer (Narrated)

NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has, for the first time, captured the light emanating from a distant super Earth, a pl...

Watch now

05.08.12

Super Earth Reveals Itself to Spitzer

NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has, for the first time, captured the light emanating from a distant super Earth, a pl...

Watch now

10.19.10

Weird Warm Spot on Exoplanet

This animation illustrates an unexpected warm spot on the surface of a gaseous exoplanet. NASA's Spitzer Space Telesc...

Watch now

10.19.10

Weird Warm Spot on Exoplanet (Narrated)

This animation illustrates an unexpected warm spot on the surface of a gaseous exoplanet. NASA's Spitzer Space Telesc...

Watch now

10.06.09

Saturn Family Tour

This video showcases the Saturnian system, beginning with the planet itself and panning out to its newest addition --...

Watch now

08.10.09

Planetary Demolition Derby

This artist's animation shows a celestial body about the size of our moon slamming at great speed into a body the siz...

Watch now

06.04.09

Tour of Planet with Extreme Temperature Swings

This animation shows a computer simulation of the planet HD 80606b from an observer located at a point in space lying...

Watch now

06.04.09

Silicate Crystal Formation in the Disk of an Erupting Star

This artist's animation illustrates how silicate crystals like those found in comets can be created by an outburst fr...

Watch now

07.15.08

Zooming in on Second-Brightest Star in Milky Way

This movie zooms in to reveal the "Peony nebula" star -- the new second-brightest star in the Milky Way, discovered i...

Watch now

05.05.08

Dissecting a Light Echo

This animation illustrates how a light echo works, and how an optical illusion of material moving outward is created....

Watch now

05.05.08

Cauldron of Light

In this animation, a seething cauldron of light appears to bubble and ooze around the remains of a giant star that as...

Watch now

11.29.07

Pulling Back the Curtain of Dust

This artist's animation begins by showing a dark and dusty corner of space where little visible light can escape. The...

Watch now

05.09.07

Blacker than Black

This artist's animation illustrates the hottest planet yet observed in the universe. The scorching ball of gas, a "ho...

Watch now

05.09.07

Mapping Exotic Worlds

This animation shows the first-ever map of the surface of an exoplanet, or a planet beyond our solar system. The map,...

Watch now

05.09.07

How to Map a Very Faraway Planet

Scientists using NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope were able to create the first-ever map of the surface of a planet bey...

Watch now

04.18.07

Highway to the Danger Zone

"The further on the edge, the hotter the intensity," sings Kenny Loggins in "Danger Zone," a song made famous by the ...

Watch now