Hungry for a comet? Perhaps not, but astronomers using data from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope and the Deep Impact mission are putting together a recipe for comet "soup" -- the primordial stuff of planets, comets, and other bodies in our solar system.
September 7th, 2005
Astronomers have probed the deep sky with NASA's three Great Observatories for hidden black holes and come to the conclusion that most black holes cannot be seen in visible images. This data suggests that the X-ray sources are black holes hidden behind a screen of dust.
June 1st, 2004
Using the unique orbit of NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope and a depth-perceiving trick called parallax, astronomers have determined the distance to an invisible Milky Way object called OGLE-2005-SMC-001. This artist's concept illustrates how this trick works: different views from both Spitzer and telescopes on Earth are combined to give depth perception.
May 30th, 2007
This image shows two young brown dwarfs, objects that fall somewhere between planets and stars in terms of their temperature and mass. Brown dwarfs are cooler and less massive than stars, never igniting the nuclear fires that power their larger cousins, yet they are more massive (and normally warmer) than planets.
November 23rd, 2009
This is an illustration of one of the most massive star clusters within our Milky Way Galaxy, containing 14 rare red supergiant stars and an estimated an estimated 20,000 stars. In the background at the 12:00 position is a distant region of stars called W 42.
January 9th, 2006
The magnificent spiral arms of the nearby galaxy Messier 81 are highlighted in this image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. Located in the northern constellation of Ursa Major (which also includes the Big Dipper), this galaxy is easily visible through binoculars or a small telescope.
December 18th, 2003
Our Milky Way is a dusty place. So dusty, in fact, that we cannot see the center of the galaxy in visible light. But when NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope set its infrared eyes on the galactic center, it captured this spectacular view. But when NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope set its infrared eyes on the galactic center, it captured this spectacular view.
January 10th, 2006
This infrared image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope reveals hidden populations of newborn stars at the heart of the colliding "Antennae" galaxies. These two galaxies, known individually as NGC 4038 and 4039, are located around 68 million light-years away and have been merging together for about the last 800 million years.
September 7th, 2004
Astronomers have made the first clear detection of a variety of ices -- water, ammonium, and carbon dioxide -- in the inner planet-forming region near a young star about 120 light years away. Such an observation is only possible by combining the unique sensitivity of NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope with the fortunate alignment of this particular system.
November 9th, 2004
These images represent views of Kepler's supernova remnant taken in X-rays, visible light, and infrared radiation. The images indicate that the bubble of gas that makes up the supernova remnant appears different in various types of light.
October 6th, 2004
NASA's Spitzer Space Telescopes created this striking infrared image of one of the most popular sights in the universe. Messier 104 is commonly known as the Sombrero galaxy because in visible light, it resembles the broad-brimmed Mexican hat. However, in Spitzer's striking infrared view, the galaxy looks more like a "bull's eye."
May 4th, 2005
This spectacular infrared image, taken by the Spitzer Wide-area Infrared Extragalactic (SWIRE) Legacy project, encapsulates one of the primary objectives of the Spitzer mission: to connect the evolution of galaxies from the distant, or early, universe to the nearby, or present day, universe.
October 27th, 2005
The top graph consists of infrared data from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. It tells astronomers that a distant planet, called Upsilon Andromedae b, always has a giant hot spot on the side that faces the star, while the other side is cold and dark. The artist's concepts above the graph illustrate how the planet might look throughout its orbit if viewed up close with infrared eyes.
October 12th, 2006
This graph of data from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope shows the spectra (middle four lines) of dusty disks around four brown dwarfs, or "failed stars," located 520 light-years away in the Chamaeleon constellation. The data suggest that the dust in these disks is crystallizing and clumping together in what may be the birth of planets.
October 20th, 2005
In visible light, the bulk of our Milky Way galaxy's stars are eclipsed behind thick clouds of galactic dust and gas. But to the infrared eyes of NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, distant stars and dust clouds shine with unparalleled clarity and color.
December 12th, 2005
Hidden behind a shroud of dust in the constellation Cygnus is a stellar nursery called DR21, which is giving birth to some of the most massive stars in our galaxy. This colorful image is a large-scale composite mosaic of this region assembled from data collected at infrared and visible wavelengths.
April 13th, 2004
Astronomers have new evidence that the Andromeda spiral galaxy was involved in a violent head-on collision with the neighboring dwarf galaxy Messier 32 (M32) more than 200 million years ago. Infrared photographs taken with NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope revealed a never-before-seen dust ring deep within the Andromeda galaxy.
October 18th, 2006
A new image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope shows a baby star 1,140 light-years away from Earth blowing two massive "bubbles." But instead of bubble gum, this youngster, called HH 46/47, is using powerful jets of gas to make bubbles in outer space.
November 8th, 2007
The supernova remnant 1E0102.2-7219 sits next to the nebula N76 in a bright, star-forming region of the Small Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy to our Milky Way galaxy located about 200,000 light-years from Earth.
June 6th, 2006
This artist's concept illustrates how planetary systems arise out of massive collisions between rocky bodies. New findings from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope show that these catastrophes continue to occur around stars even after they have developed full-sized planets, when they are as old as one hundred million years.
October 18th, 2004
This is an artist's rendition of the one-million-year-old star system called UX Tau A, located approximately 450 light-years away. Observations from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope showed a gap in the dusty planet-forming disk swirling around the system's central Sun-like star, most likely carved out by one or more forming planets.
November 28th, 2007
The basic chemistry for life has been detected in a second hot gas planet, HD 209458b, depicted in this artist's concept. Two of NASA's Great Observatories - the Hubble Space Telescope and Spitzer Space Telescope, yielded spectral observations that revealed molecules of carbon dioxide, methane and water vapor in the planet's atmosphere. HD 209458b, bigger than Jupiter, occupies a tight, 3.5-day orbit around a sun-like star about 150 light years away in the constellation Pegasus. Planets like this one, which circle stars beyond our sun, are called exoplanets.
October 20th, 2009
This spectacular infrared image of the "Tadpole" galaxy, taken by the Spitzer Wide-area Infrared Extragalactic (SWIRE) Legacy project, encapsulates one of the primary objectives of the Spitzer mission: to connect the evolution of galaxies from the distant, or early, universe to the nearby, or present day, universe.
October 27th, 2005
This is an artist's impression of the view from the vicinity of a hypothetical terrestrial planet and moon orbiting the red dwarf star AU Microscopii. The relatively newborn 12 million year-old star is surrounded by a very dusty disk of debris from the comets, asteroids, and planetissimals swirling around the young star.
December 9th, 2004
A Luminous Blue Variable star, HD168625, is surrounded by a bipolar nebula that is similar to the one around SN1987A. This may explain how the structure around SN1987A formed pre-supernova, and it may signal that HD168625 is nearing the end.
January 9th, 2007
This image shows what astronomers think is one of the coldest brown dwarfs discovered so far (red dot in middle of frame). The object, called SDWFS J143524.44+335334.6, is one of 14 such brown dwarfs found by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope using infrared light.
June 24th, 2010
This false-color image taken by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope 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 tucked inside finger-like pillars of thick dust.
May 30th, 2005
A "monster" lurking behind a blanket of cosmic dust is unveiled in this 2004 Halloween image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. Resembling a ghoul with two hollow eyes and a screaming mouth, this cloud of newborn stars was uncovered by Spitzer's heat-seeking infrared eyes.
October 28th, 2004