Two of NASA’s space telescopes have teamed up to identify, for the first time, the chemical fingerprint of a planet between the sizes of Earth and Neptune.The planet the two teamed up to analyze is Gliese 3470 b known as GJ 3470 b, and the planet is thought to be a cross between Neptune and Earth.The planet is believed to have a large, rocky core buried under a hydrogen-and-helium atmosphere.The planet weighs in at 12.6 Earth masses and it less massive than Neptune.Scientists have inventoried the content of GJ 3470 b’s atmosphere to uncover clues about its nature and origin.The planet orbits close to the star and has primordial hydrogen and helium atmosphere that is largely unpolluted by heavier elements.
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NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope is able to see parts of space that are literally invisible - to our puny human eyes, that is.The above quadriptych of images shows the same thing: the Whirlpool Galaxy, also known as Messier 51 or NGC 5194/5195, but at different wavelengths.Keep in mind that there are different kinds of light and what our eyes can see is referred to as visible light, but using a device like Spitzer that can also see infrared light can make invisible features visible.It's basically the same as night vision, but in this case it's space vision.The view on the far left above shows the Whirlpool Galaxy as your eyes would likely see it.In this case the image was taken by a telescope at the Kitt Peak National Observatory in Arizona.
NASA’s Spitzer telescope has captured a stunning images of a pair of nebulas containing the star clusters Cepheus B and Cepheus C.The majority of the image shows the main nebula, which is a cloud of dust and gas that appears in green and orange.The bright red region at the top right is the tip of the nebula, where bright stars give out radiation which heats the dust and creates a glow.These bright, massive stars are part of a star cluster which extends beyond the edges of the image.This region is the remains of a larger cloud which has been whittled down by radiation from the stars over time.The cluster of pink and white lights in the bottom right are a young nebula which includes a “runaway star.” The runaway is the blue star with a red arc around in the right-hand middle of the image.
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A stunning video from NASA lets you experience what it would be like to fly inside the Orion Nebula that's 1,344 light years-away from Earth in outer space.Astronomers and visualization specialists from the space agency's Universe of Learning program were able to combine the visible and infrared capabilities of the Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes to produce the spectacular, fly-through video.The dazzling imagery depicts a region in space bathed in pink and purple hues.The Space Telescope Science Institute describes the otherworldly video this way:"The glowing gaseous landscape has been illuminated and carved by the high-energy radiation and strong stellar winds from the massive hot stars in the central cluster.The infrared observations generally show cooler temperature gas at a deeper layer of the nebula that extends well beyond the visible image."
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By staring at the sky for over 200 hours, the Spitzer Space Telescope collected light that finally reached Earth after a 13-billion-year voyage through space.This light left its origin so long ago that researchers studying this imagery are essentially peering back — way back — in time, to the ancient cosmic past.Using Spitzer data, a research team observed 135 distant galaxies and found that these celestial bodies, which formed over 13 billion years ago and just 1 billion years after the Big Bang, were brighter than expected.Researchers coupled their Spitzer findings with archival data from the Hubble Space Telescope in a recent paper published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.Related: This 13.5-Billion-Year-Old Star Is a Tiny Relic from Just After the Big BangThese 135 galaxies were particularly bright in two wavelengths of infrared light, which was created by radiation mingling with galactic gases like hydrogen and oxygen, according to a statement released May 9 — showing that the galaxies were releasing a high level of so-called ionizing radiation.
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Observations from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope have shown the earliest galaxies in the universe were brighter than previously thought, shedding light onto the way that the universe evolved.The new study has revealed that the earliest galaxies formed in our universe were much brighter than galaxies are today.This enhanced brightness was specific to certain wavelengths of infrared light, but it applied to a large number of galaxies in this early period of less than 1 billion years after the Big Bang.“We did not expect that Spitzer, with a mirror no larger than a Hula-Hoop, would be capable of seeing galaxies so close to the dawn of time,” Michael Werner, Spitzer’s project scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, said in a statement.“But nature is full of surprises, and the unexpected brightness of these early galaxies, together with Spitzer’s superb performance, puts them within range of our small but powerful observatory.”The findings give more information about a period of transition in the early universe called the Epoch of Reionization.
NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope has revealed that some of the universe’s earliest galaxies are brighter than expected.The extra light is said to be a byproduct of the galaxies releasing incredibly high amounts of ionizing radiation.NASA says that the finding sheds light on the cause of the Epoch of Reionization described as a major cosmic event that turned the universe from mostly opaque to the bright and star-filled place we know today.The new NASA study is a report on the observations of some of the first galaxies to form in the universe less than a billion years after the big bang.That means a little over 13 billion years ago.Researchers found that in a few specific wavelengths of infrared light the galaxies are considerably brighter than the scientists anticipated.
The Hubble Space Telescope recently spied new evidence of a peculiar molecule: wiggly buckyballs, which have intrigued astrophysicists since they were discovered in space nearly a decade ago.Dubbed Buckminsterfullerene, these supersize molecules are made of 60 carbon atoms linked together in pentagons and hexagons to form a hollow sphere.The shape of these structures is much like a soccer ball, or like the geodesic domes designed by 20th-century architect Richard Buckminster Fuller (the inspiration for the molecule's name).And now, Hubble has spotted the first evidence of charged buckyballs hiding in the thin plumes of gas and dust that drift between stars, known as the interstellar medium, scientists reported in a new study.101 Astronomy Images That Will Blow Your Mind]Buckyballs — the largest known molecules in space — exist on Earth in forms that are created synthetically.
The eyes of the world turned to Messier 87 earlier this month when scientists released the first ever image of a black hole.And this image from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope shows more about the giant galaxy in which the now-famous black hole resides.The imaged black hole was truly gargantuan, with a mass equivalent to 6.5 billion times that of our Sun.And the galaxy surrounding it, Messier 87, is equally huge.Known as a supergiant elliptical galaxy, it is one of the most massive galaxies in the universe and hosts a large number of globular clusters.The image captured by Spitzer shows the galaxy in infrared, as opposed to the radio wavelengths used to capture the black hole image.
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NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope was launched in 2003 and was supposed to only be on its mission for two and a half years.But remarkably enough, 16 years later the little telescope that could is still going.Now astronomers working with the data the telescope recorded have shared this infrared image of a beautiful nebula that acts as a nursery for baby stars.The nebula is named Westerhout 40 (W40), and has been nicknamed the Butterfly Nebula because its shape looks like the wings of a butterfly.The giant cloud of dust and gas is a space in which new stars are formed, and the “wings” of the butterfly were created when the hottest stars in the middle of the nebula blow off warm interstellar gas, forming enormous bubbles.The picture is a composition of four images taken by Spitzer using its Infrared Array Camera (IRAC) during the prime phase of its mission.
NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has captured a stunning infrared image of a star nursery, which the space agency is calling a 'space butterfly'.The butterfly is a nebula – a cloud of gas and dust.Some nebulae are formed from the material thrown out by a dying star, but it's believed that this particular one is a region where material is being drawn together by gravity, and can eventually coalesce into new stars.The butterfly's 'wings' are bubbles of gas ejected from a dense cluster of stars (which can be seen between the wings in the image).Sometimes radiation and winds from stars cause materials to gather like this, but they can also break up clumps of dust and prevent new stars from forming.The butterfly picture is a composition of four images from the Spitzer Space Telescope's infrared array camera (IRAC) in different wavelengths of infrared light: 3.6, 4.5, 5.8 and 8.0 microns (shown as blue, green, orange and red).
Images collected from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope are shedding light on the dramatic conditions that arise when two galaxies collide.Due to the strong gravity resulting from the large mass of a galaxy, galaxies are drawn together and eventually collide.Sometimes this results in one of the galaxies being annihilated, as scientists believe will happen when the Large Magellanic Cloud collides with our Milky Way in two billion years’ time.But at other times, the two galaxies merge together to create one huge galaxy.Merging galaxies appear particularly bright to telescopes using infrared, like Spitzer, so it’s the ideal tool to collect data on this topic.During some mergers, galaxies continue to produce new stars, but more often the star formation process is halted which causes the destruction of one or both galaxies.
A building-size object called 'Oumuamua flew through the inner solar system in late 2017.A few astronomers wonder whether it could be alien, but 'Oumuamua is most likely a "slightly weird" asteroid, comet, or space rock.In 2016, something roughly the size of a skyscraper emerged from deep space and careened toward the inner solar system.But it wasn't until four days later that humanity finally spotted it in telescope data.The object was later dubbed 'Oumuamua, a Hawaiian name that's pronounced "oo moo-uh moo-uh" and means "a messenger from afar, arriving first."'Oumuamua remains one of the most significant, confounding, and at times contentious astronomical discoveries in recent memory.
Scientists have learned more about ‘Oumuamua, the hunk of matter that is the first known interstellar object to ever be detected by scientists within the boundary of the solar system.Specifically, observations performed by researchers using the Spitzer Space Telescope and published in The Astronomical Journal have determined that prior observations likely established too generous an upper boundary on how large it could be.While prior observations by the University of Hawaii’s Pan-STARRS 1 telescope, NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, and ground-based observation stations determined that ‘Oumuamua was no more than 2,600 feet (800 meters) long, NASA wrote in a statement, the Spitzer Space Telescope recently failed to see the object in the infrared spectrum over the course of a two-month survey.Based on various models of what, exactly, ‘Oumuamua is made out of and how reflective it is, that sets a new upper boundary of 1,440 feet (440 meters), and it might actually be as small as 320 feet (100 metres).Those numbers refer to the object’s “spherical dimensions,” or how large it would be if it was a sphere – though it is currently believed to be shaped like a cigar.However, since the non-detection can’t be used to infer shape, the size limits are presented as what ‘Oumuamua’s diameter would be if it were spherical.
We all "knead" more space photos in our lives, so here's a stunning one from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope of a region of the Milky Way that scientists call the Cat's Paw Nebula.Spitzer sees the world in infrared light, which lets it cut through the clouds of dust that clutter up the galaxy so it can offer a crisp view of places like this nebula.Cat's Paw is located from 4,200 to 5,500 light-years away from Earth in the constellation Scorpius.[Spectacular Nebula Photos from Deep Space!]Cat's Paw gets its name from the bubbles of hot gas it contains that — if you squint a bit — resemble feline paw pads.Those bubbles surround newly born stars, and Cat's Paw is still a star-forming neighborhood.
NASA has launched two new apps to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the launch of its Spitzer Space Telescope: a breathtaking VR tour of the TRAPPIST-1 planetary system, and a kid-friendly Snapchat-like affair that lets them see themselves as astronauts floating over a nebula.TRAPPIST-1 is the only known system with seven Earth-sized planets that could contain water.Spitzer (together with Hubble and Kepler) provided essential information to help scientists determine the planets' composition, but they're too distant to observe directly so Expolanet Excursions uses artists' impressions to plunge you into the system and show how its worlds compare with out own.The app is available for Oculus and HTC Vive, and NASA has produced a 360-degree video of the experience if you don't have a compatible headset.The NASA Selfies app (available to download free for Android and iOS) is much simpler, and aimed at younger users.Snap a selfie, and the app will paste you into a 'virtual spacesuit' in front of a stunning full-color image from Spitzer.
Hubble may get the attention, but NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has been unraveling the mysteries of the cosmos since its launch on Aug. 25, 2003.Now, it's celebrating 15 years in space, giving us the perfect reason to look back at some of the telescope's most spectacular infrared views of our wild universe.NASA released this new view of the crustacean-like Crab Nebula in 2017.The image required the combined efforts of five different telescopes, including Spitzer and Hubble.The combination of data and imagery gives us a stunning look at a fascinating nebula.
Somewhere between 80,000 and a million years ago, a titanic explosion ripped apart a star in a section of our Milky Way galaxy, some 6,400 light years from Earth.What it left behind were ghostly, red tendrils of energized gas, reaching out into the cosmos.Those tendrils belong to the supernova remnant HBH 3, which was first detected in 1966.Supernova remnants are what remain after a star has exploded -- and we know how stunning those celestial fireworks can turn out to be.Just take a look at the photo NASA snapped of the Crab Nebula back in May 2017.NASA snapped the image above via the Spitzer Space Telescope, one of the four Great Observatories orbiting the Earth, which "sees" in the infrared spectrum.
A newly published study relies on 10 years of observations from a slew of well-known telescopes to sort through that chaos and reveal what seems to have happened when a star met a black hole at the centre of two colliding galaxies.In January 2005, the William Herschel Telescope in the Canary Islands first spotted bright infrared light coming from a set of colliding galaxies 150 million light-years away.Scientists continued watching the scene for the next 10 years, using the 10 telescopes that make up the National Science Foundation’s Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA), the Spitzer Space Telescope, and others.At its brightest, the flare outshone its parent galaxy’s centre in the infrared and radio region, according to the paper in Science.Whatever it was, it didn’t emit significant visible light, probably because the surrounding dust absorbed the visible light and re-radiated it as infrared.A supermassive black hole devoured a star around twice the mass of the Sun, tearing it in half — a tidal disruption event, or TDE.
An image of the galaxy Messier 82 compiling data from NASA's Chandra X-Ray Observatory, Hubble Space Telescope and Spitzer Space Telescope.The intermediate-mass black hole M82 X-1 is the brightest object in the inset, at about 2 o'clock near the galaxy's center.The hearts of small galaxies may hide a mysterious kind of black hole that has long proved elusive: medium-size black holes with masses between the mass of a few suns and that of millions of suns, a new study finds.One theory involves intermediate-mass black holes — those with masses between 100 and 1 million solar masses — that previous research suggested might serve as the middle stages between stellar-mass and supermassive black holes.[The Strangest Black Holes in the Universe]Now, researchers say they may have detected 10 intermediate-mass black holes in the hearts of galaxies, including five that were previously unknown.
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