Astronomy [MISSION COVERAGE] Spitzer

Discussion in 'Astronomy' started by Mizar, Nov 21, 2004.

  1. Mizar

    Mizar Premium Member

    Full article
    Astro Image in the News:Something Warm in a Very Dark Place - Sky & Telescope

    Im verry intrested in Spitzer. The images and information that it has already sent back and it hasent even been in orbit for a year. This program is going to enhance our knowldge of the universe alot i think. Which is why when ever i hear of a new discovery in this area i will be sure to post.

    Also NASA just launched SWIFT yesterday. In an attempt to catch the elusive Gama Ray BUrsts and if that prorgram is even as succesful as Swift im sure that we will have a great understanding of the univers by the end of the decade.
    the info on SWIFT can be found here at NASA's SWIFT site
    The Swift Gamma-Ray Burst Mission
  2. JcMinJapan

    JcMinJapan Premium Member

    updated title so we can cover events for this missionin one thread
  3. Mizar

    Mizar Premium Member

    Information on SPITZER

  4. Mizar

    Mizar Premium Member
  5. Mizar

    Mizar Premium Member

    Gay Yee Hill (818) 354-0344

    Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

    Dolores Beasley (202) 358-1753

    NASA Headquarters, Washington

    Release: 2005-007 Jan. 10, 2005

    Spitzer Sees Dusty Aftermath of Pluto-Sized Collision

    Astronomers say a dusty disc swirling around the nearby star Vega is bigger than earlier thought. It was probably caused by collisions of objects, perhaps as big as the planet Pluto, up to 2,000 kilometers (about 1,200 miles) in diameter.

    NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has seen the dusty aftermath of this "run-in." Astronomers think embryonic planets smashed together, shattered into pieces and repeatedly crashed into other fragments to create ever-finer debris. Vega's light heats the debris, and Spitzer's infrared telescope detects the radiation.

    Vega, located 25 light-years away in the constellation Lyra, is the fifth brightest star in the night sky. It is 60 times brighter than our Sun. Observations of Vega in 1984, with the Infrared Astronomical Satellite, provided the first evidence for dust particles around a typical star. Because of Vega's proximity and because its pole faces Earth, it provides a great opportunity for detailed study of the dust cloud around it.

    "Vega's debris disc is another piece of evidence demonstrating the evolution of planetary systems is a pretty chaotic process," said the lead author of the study, Dr. Kate Su of the University of Arizona, Tucson, Ariz. The findings were presented today at the 205th meeting of the American Astronomical Society in San Diego.

    Like a drop of ink spreading out in a glass of water, the particles in Vega's dust cloud don't stay close to the star long. "The dust we are seeing in the Spitzer images is being blown out by intense light from the star," Su said. "We are witnessing the aftermath of a relatively recent collision, probably within the last million years."

    Scientists say this disc event is short-lived. The majority of the detected material is only a few microns in size, 100 times smaller than a grain of Earth sand. These tiny dust grains leave the system and dissipate into interstellar space on a time scale less than 1,000 years. "But there are so many tiny grains," Su said. "They add up to a total mass equal to one third of the weight of our moon."

    The mass of these short-lived grains implies a high dust-production rate. The Vega disc would have to have an improbably massive reservoir of planet-building material and collisions to maintain this amount of dust production throughout the star's life (350 million years, 13 times younger than our Sun). "We think a transient disc phenomenon is more likely," Su said.

    Su and her colleagues were struck by other characteristics of Vega's debris disc, including its physical size. It has a radius of at least 815 astronomical units, roughly 20 times larger than our solar system. One astronomical unit is the distance from Earth to the Sun, which is 150 million kilometers (93 million miles). A study of the disc's surface brightness indicates the presence of an inner hole at a radius of 86 astronomical units (twice the distance between Pluto and the Sun). Large embryonic planets at the edge of this inner hole may have collided to make the rest of the debris around Vega.

    "Spitzer has obtained the first high spatial-resolution infrared images of Vega's disc," said Dr. Michael Werner, co-author and project scientist for Spitzer at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. "Its sensitive infrared detectors have allowed us to see that Vega is surrounded by an enormous disc of debris."
  6. Mizar

    Mizar Premium Member

    Gay Hill (818) 354-0344
    Whitney Clavin (818) 354-4673
    Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

    News Release: 2005-014 January 12, 2005

    Spitzer Finds Stellar "Incubators" With Massive Star Embryos

    NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has uncovered a hatchery for massive

    A new striking image from the infrared telescope shows a vibrant
    cloud called the Trifid Nebula dotted with glowing stellar
    "incubators." Tucked deep inside these incubators are rapidly
    growing embryonic stars, whose warmth Spitzer was able to see for
    the first time with its powerful heat-seeking eyes.

    The new view offers a rare glimpse at the earliest stages of massive
    star formation - a time when developing stars are about to burst
    into existence.

    "Massive stars develop in very dark regions so quickly that is hard
    to catch them forming," said Dr. Jeonghee Rho of the Spitzer Science
    Center, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, Calif.,
    principal investigator of the recent observations. "With Spitzer,
    it's like having an ultrasound for stars. We can see into dust
    cocoons and visualize how many embryos are in each of them."

    The new false-color image can be found at . It was presented today at the
    205th meeting of the American Astronomical Society in San Diego,

    The Trifid Nebula is a giant star-forming cloud of gas and dust
    located 5,400 light-years away in the constellation Sagittarius.
    Previous images taken by the Institute for Radioastronomy millimeter
    telescope in Spain show that the nebula contains four cold knots, or
    cores, of dust. Such cores are "incubators" where stars are born.
    Astronomers thought the ones in the Trifid Nebula were not yet ripe
    for stars. But, when Spitzer set its infrared eyes on all four
    cores, it found that they had already begun to develop warm stellar

    "Spitzer can see the material from the dark cores falling onto the
    surfaces of the embryonic stars, because the material gets hotter as
    gravity draws it in," said Dr. William T. Reach of the Spitzer
    Science Center, co-author of this new research. "By measuring the
    infrared brightness, we can not only see the individual embryos but
    determine their growth rate."

    The Trifid Nebula is unique in that it is dominated by one massive
    central star, 300,000 years old. Radiation and winds emanating from
    the star have sculpted the Trifid cloud into its current cavernous
    shape. These winds have also acted like shock waves to compress gas
    and dust into dark cores, whose gravity caused more material to fall
    inward until embryonic stars were formed. In time, the growing
    embryos will accumulate enough mass to ignite and explode out of
    their cores like baby birds busting out of their eggs.

    Because the Trifid Nebula is home to just one massive star, it
    provides astronomers a rare chance to study an isolated family unit.
    All of the newfound stellar embryos are descended from the nebula's
    main star. Said Rho, "Looking at the image, you know exactly where
    the embryos came from. We use their colors to determine how old they
    are. It's like studying the family tree for a generation of stars."

    Spitzer discovered 30 embryonic stars in the Trifid Nebula's four
    cores and dark clouds. Multiple embryos were found inside two
    massive cores, while a sole embryo was seen in each of the other
    two. This is one of the first times that clusters of embryos have
    been observed in single cores at this early stage of stellar

    "In the cores with multiple embryos, we are seeing that the most
    massive and brightest of the bunch is near the center. This implies
    that the developing stars are competing for materials, and that the
    embryo with the most material will grow to be the largest star,"
    said Dr. Bertrand Lefloch of Observatoire de Grenoble, France, co-
    author of the new research.

    Spitzer also uncovered about 120 small baby stars buried inside the
    outer clouds of the nebula. These newborns were probably formed
    around the same time as the main massive star and are its smaller

    Other authors of this work include Dr. Giovanni Fazio, Smithsonian
    Astrophysical Observatory, Cambridge, Mass.

    NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., manages the
    Spitzer Space Telescope mission for NASA's Science Mission
    Directorate, Washington, D.C. Science operations are conducted at
    Spitzer Science Center, Pasadena, Calif. JPL is a division of

    The new Spitzer image is a combination of data from the telescope's
    infrared array camera and multiband imaging photometer. The infrared
    array camera was built by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center,
    Greenbelt, Md.; its development was led by Fazio. The multiband
    imaging photometer was built by Ball Aerospace Corporation, Boulder,
    Colo., the University of Arizona, Tucson, and Boeing North American,
    Canoga Park, Calif. The instrument's development was led by
    Dr.George Rieke, University of Arizona.

    Additional information about the Spitzer Space Telescope is
    available at .
  7. JcMinJapan

    JcMinJapan Premium Member

    NASA and the Universe Send a Celestial Valentine
    For Release: February 11, 2005

    The candles are lit, the champagne is on ice. All you need now are flowers and a ring. This Valentine's Day, NASA's Spitzer and Cassini spacecraft provide you with both, in two engaging new images.

    NASA's Cassini-Huygens mission and Spitzer Space Telescope have captured images of Saturn's rings and the Ring Nebula, respectively, to bring home spectacular views of two of the most looked-at objects in the sky. The Cassini image shows a detailed color mosaic of Saturn's shimmering rings. Spitzer imaged the outer shell of the Ring Nebula, which looks surprisingly similar to the delicate petals of a camellia blossom.

    Located about 2,000 light years from Earth in the constellation Lyra, the Ring Nebula is a favorite target of amateur astronomers. Also known as Messier Object 57 and NGC 6720, it is one of the best examples of a planetary nebula, a shell of material ejected from a dying star. The "ring" is a thick cylinder of glowing gas and dust around the doomed star. As the star begins to run out of fuel, its core becomes smaller and hotter, boiling off its outer layers. The Spitzer Space Telescope's powerful infrared vision detected this material expelled from the withering star.

    Previous images of the Ring Nebula taken by visible-light telescopes usually showed just the inner glowing loop of gas around the star. The outer regions are especially prominent in this new image because Spitzer sees the infrared light from hydrogen molecules. The molecules emit infrared light because they have absorbed ultraviolet radiation from the star or have been heated by the wind from the star.

    Cassini's new view of Saturn's dazzling ring system, evident in a stunning natural-color mosaic, reveals the color and diversity present in this gem of the solar system. Gaps, gravitational resonances and wave patterns are all present, and the delicate color variations across the ring system are clearly visible. Named in order of discovery, the labels that scientists have assigned to the major rings do not indicate their relative positions. From the planet outward, they are known as the D, C, B, A, F, G and E rings.

    The Cassini image was acquired on Dec. 12, 2004, at a distance of approximately 1.8 million kilometers (1.1 million miles). The Spitzer image was obtained on April 20, 2004.

    NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., manages the Cassini-Huygens and Spitzer Space Telescope missions for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington.

    The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging team is based at the Space Science Institute, Boulder, Colo. Science operations for the Spitzer Space Telescope are conducted at the Spitzer Science Center at Caltech.