'Enterprise' Nebulae Seen by Spitzer

Spitzer_sig16-17_500

spitzer_sig16-17 September 8th, 2016

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Just in time for the 50th anniversary of the TV series "Star Trek," which first aired September 8th,1966, a new infrared image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope may remind fans of the historic show.

Since ancient times, people have imagined familiar objects when gazing at the heavens. There are many examples of this phenomenon, known as pareidolia, including the constellations and the well-known nebulae named Ant, Stingray and Hourglass.

On the right of the image, with a little scrutiny, you may see hints of the saucer and hull of the original USS Enterprise, captained by James T. Kirk, as if it were emerging from a dark nebula. To the left, its "Next Generation" successor, Jean-Luc Picard's Enterprise-D, flies off in the opposite direction.

Astronomically speaking, the region pictured in the image falls within the disk of our Milky Way galaxy and displays two regions of star formation hidden behind a haze of dust when viewed in visible light. Spitzer's ability to peer deeper into dust clouds has revealed a myriad of stellar birthplaces like these, which are officially known only by their catalog numbers, IRAS 19340+2016 and IRAS 19343+2026.

Trekkies, however, may prefer using the more familiar designations NCC-1701 and NCC-1701-D. Fifty years after its inception, Star Trek still inspires fans and astronomers alike to boldly explore where no one has gone before.

This image was assembled using data from Spitzer's biggest surveys of the Milky Way, called GLIMPSE and MIPSGAL. Light with a wavelength of 3.5 microns is shown in blue, 8.0 microns in green, and 24 microns in red. The green colors highlight organic molecules in the dust clouds, illuminated by starlight. Red colors are related to thermal radiation emitted from the very hottest areas of dust.

Image Source: http://www.spitzer.caltech.edu/images/6245-sig16-17--Enterprise-Nebulae-Seen-by-Spitzer

Curator: Spitzer Space Telescope, Pasadena, CA, USA

Image Details

Image Type
Observation
Object Name
IRAS 19340+2016 IRAS 19343+2026
Subject - Milky Way
Nebula » Type » Star Formation
Spitzer_sig16-17_128
 

Position Details

Position (ICRS)
RA = 19h 36m 7.2s
DEC = 20° 29’ 3.9”
Orientation
North is 79.5° CCW
Field of View
42.6 x 23.9 arcminutes
Constellation
Vulpecula

Color Mapping

  Telescope Spectral Band Wavelength
Arrow_left_blue Spitzer (IRAC) Infrared (Near-IR) 3.6 µm
Arrow_left_green Spitzer (IRAC) Infrared (Mid-IR) 8.0 µm
Arrow_left_red Spitzer (MIPS) Infrared (Mid-IR) 24.0 µm
Spectrum_ir1
Arrow_top_blue
Arrow_top_green
Arrow_top_red
Spitzer_sig16-17_1280
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ID
sig16-17
Subject Category
B.4.1.2  
Subject Name
IRAS 19340+2016 , IRAS 19343+2026
Credits
NASA/JPL-Caltech
Type
Observation
Image Quality
Good
Distance Notes
Facility
Spitzer, Spitzer, Spitzer
Instrument
IRAC, IRAC, MIPS
Color Assignment
Blue, Green, Red
Band
Infrared, Infrared, Infrared
Bandpass
Near-IR, Mid-IR, Mid-IR
Central Wavelength
3600, 8000, 24000
Start Time
Integration Time
Dataset ID
Notes
Coordinate Frame
ICRS
Equinox
J2000
Reference Value
294.0298490, 20.4844046
Reference Dimension
2125.0, 1195.0
Reference Pixel
1063.5, 598.5
Scale
-0.000333732, 0.00033373239
Rotation
79.54
Coordinate System Projection:
TAN
Quality
Full
FITS Header
Notes
Creator (Curator)
Spitzer Space Telescope
URL
http://www.spitzer.caltech.edu
Name
Email
Telephone
Address
1200 E. California Blvd.
City
Pasadena
State/Province
CA
Postal Code
91125
Country
USA
Rights
Publisher
Spitzer Science Center
Publisher ID
spitzer
Resource ID
sig16-17.tif
Metadata Date
2016-09-08
Metadata Version
1.2
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Detailed color mapping information coming soon...

 

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There is no distance meta data in this image.