My love affair with the infrared Spitzer Space Telescope is no secret. I seek shapes in glowing nebula, and never pass up a multispectral composite image with an infrared layer. But what benefit does it actually serve to stare into space in these longer wavelengths?
What happens when you take observations of a gas cloud, a protostar, and a pre-star dense core of gas, and model them with turbulence? A downright hypnotizing model at how multiple star systems may form.
Every day we find more exoplanets. With bigger and better telescopes on the horizon, we'll have far more observations of these planets than ever before — and NASA scientists are optimistic we'll discover alien life within decades.
The Spitzer Space Telescope explores the skies in a wavelength we're blind to, sensing the heat of infrared. After 3,925 days of service, it's had plenty of time to built up an impressive gallery. Now continued funding is in jeopardy, it's a good time to look back on the gorgeous images of science.
When we look out over the universe, it's the bright spots that tend to stand out. But the darkness out there is also incredible, particularly in on spot 16,000 light years away, where scientists have recorded the deepest darkness ever seen.
When supernova explode, they fling gas out into space, creating beautiful, gauzy remnant for us to drool over. Supernova remnant G352 is pretty, but weird. It's collecting extra material, misplaced its neutron star, and looks dramatically different depending on the wavelength.
NASA researchers have detected the faint glow of what they believe to be the first stars and galaxies to form in the aftermath of the Big Bang — and it's positively stunning. If the team's findings are correct, they could offer valuable insight into the nature of the Universe's very first objects.
This gorgeous infrared image offers a colorful spin on this famous Hubble image of the Sombrero Galaxy. It's actually a spiral galaxy much like the Milky Way...even if it looks more like a giant floating ring than anything else.
They might be microscopic, but as far as molecules go, buckyballs are absolutely gigantic. These soccer ball shaped molecules are made of 60 carbon molecules each, and new data from the Spitzer Telescope suggest they are everywhere in the universe.
This gorgeous image is the work of the Spitzer Space Telescope, which snapped this infrared photo of the Cygnus-X star forming region in 2009. Every bright blue dot represents a star hotter and more massive than anything we can imagine.
When you combine a compound like water with intense heat, said water evaporates. No mystery there. But when you throw extreme pressure into the mix, something funny happens. The compound can actually achieve what is called a "supercritical" fluid state, taking on properties of liquid and gas alike.
This doesn't look much like a galaxy, but it is in fact the Large Magellanic Cloud, one of the biggest satellite galaxies of our Milky Way. This awesome infrared image reveals the real look of this galaxy like never before.
Four newly discovered galaxies are so dim, so dusty, so impossibly distant that even the Hubble telescope couldn't spot them. But that's not all: these galaxies are so insanely red that astronomers are declaring them a new "species" of galaxy.
In 185 CE, Chinese astronomers reported the presence of an incredibly bright "guest star" that appeared suddenly in the sky and stayed there for months. This was the first recorded supernova...and astronomers are only now understanding what it really is.
Imagine a hot summer day in the middle of the desert. That temperature might be dangerously hot here on Earth, but it's almost impossibly cold for any star. But that's the rather pathetic situation for a newly discovered brown dwarf.
This amazing image of the center of our galaxy is the work of three different space telescopes - Hubble, which photographs objects in the visual wavelengths, Chandra, which looks at X-rays, and Spitzer, which investigates the infrared.
This spring, the Spitzer Space Telescope exhausted its supply of coolant, causing its infrared camera to warm. But the Spitzer Mission goes on, capturing dying and newly forming stars with less chilly eyes.