Just like clouds on Earth, clouds of gas and dust in space can sometimes resemble familiar objects, or even popular movie creatures.
Exploding stars generate dramatic light shows. Infrared telescopes like Spitzer can see through the haze and to give a better idea of how often these explosions occur.
Among the first, and strangest, planets to be detected around other stars is a variety known as “hot Jupiters” – star-hugging, superheated giants once thought so unlikely that many scientists doubted their existence.
Brown dwarfs, sometimes known as “failed stars,” can spin at upwards of 200,000 mph, but there may be a limit to how fast they can go.
Precise measurements reveal that the exoplanets have remarkably similar densities, which provides clues about their composition.
Is our solar system located in a typical Milky Way neighborhood? Scientists have gotten closer to answering this question, thanks to the NASA-funded Backyard Worlds: Planet 9 project, a “citizen science” collaboration between professional scientists and members of the public.
NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope was officially decommissioned on January 30, 2020, but Spitzer’s discoveries will continue for years to come. A great way to learn about these science tidbits is to continue to follow Spitzer’s social media feeds under their new branding of “ExploreAstro at Caltech IPAC.”
The Blue Ring Nebula, which perplexed scientists for over a decade, appears to be the youngest known example of two stars merged into one.
Telescopes give us a chance to see what the Galactic Center looks like in different types of light. By translating the inherently digital data (in the form of ones and zeroes) captured by telescopes in space into images, astronomers create visual representations that would otherwise be invisible to us.
The violent events leading up to the death of a star would likely drive away any planets. The newly discovered Jupiter-size object may have arrived long after the star died.
The most massive stars in the universe are born inside cosmic clouds of gas and dust, where they leave behind clues about their lives for astronomers to decode.
The newly discovered planet is orbiting a star still encircled by the disk of material from which both objects formed, giving scientists a glimpse at early planet evolution.
Jupiter-size planets orbiting close to their stars have upended ideas about how giant planets form. Finding young members of this planet class could help answer key questions.
Black holes aren't stationary in space; in fact, they can be quite active in their movements. But because they are completely dark and can't be observed directly, they're not easy to study. Scientists have finally figured out the precise timing of a complicated dance between two enormous black holes, revealing hidden details about the physical characteristics of these mysterious cosmic objects.
Five days before NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope ended its mission on Jan. 30, 2020, scientists used the spacecraft's infrared camera to take multiple images of a region known as the California Nebula — a fitting target considering the mission's management and science operations were both based in Southern California at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Caltech.
For the first time, scientists have directly measured wind speed on a brown dwarf, an object larger than Jupiter (the largest planet in our solar system) but not quite massive enough to become a star. To achieve the finding, they used a new method that could also be applied to learn about the atmospheres of gas-dominated planets outside our solar system.
After more than 16 years studying the universe in infrared light, revealing new wonders in our solar system, our galaxy and beyond, NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope's mission has come to an end.
The Tarantula Nebula, seen in this image by the Spitzer Space Telescope, was one of the first targets studied by the infrared observatory after its launch in 2003, and the telescope has revisited it many times since. Now that Spitzer is set to be retired on Jan. 30, 2020, scientists have generated a new view of the nebula from Spitzer data.
A new virtual reality experience lets users get a taste of what it's like to explore the cosmos with the Spitzer Space Telescope, one of NASA's four Great Observatories.
NASA is celebrating the legacy of one of its Great Observatories, the Spitzer Space Telescope, which has studied the universe in infrared light for more than 16 years. The Spitzer mission will come to a close on Jan. 30.
NASA will host a live program at 1 p.m. EST Wednesday, Jan. 22, to celebrate the far-reaching legacy of the agency’s Spitzer Space Telescope – a mission that, after 16 years of amazing discoveries, soon will come to an end.
NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite has discovered its first Earth-size planet in its star's habitable zone, the range of distances where conditions may be just right to allow the presence of liquid water on the surface. Scientists confirmed the find, called TOI 700 d, using NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope and have modeled the planet's potential environments to help inform future observations.
This image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope shows the Perseus Molecular Cloud, a massive collection of gas and dust that stretches over 500 light-years across. Home to an abundance of young stars, it has drawn the attention of astronomers for decades. Spitzer's Multiband Imaging Photometer instrument took this image during Spitzer's "cold mission," which ran from the spacecraft's launch in 2003 until 2009, when the space telescope exhausted its supply of liquid helium coolant.
This infrared image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope shows a cloud of gas and dust full of bubbles, which are inflated by wind and radiation from young, massive stars. Each bubble is filled with hundreds to thousands of stars, which form from dense clouds of gas and dust.
NASA launched its Spitzer Space Telescope into orbit around the Sun on Aug. 25, 2003. Since then, the observatory has been lifting the veil on the wonders of the cosmos, from our own solar system to faraway galaxies, using infrared light.
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