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Topic: Milky Way

NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope reveals triggering events behind some Supernova Explosions

 

Written by Whitney Clavin
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Supernovas are often thought of as the tremendous explosions that mark the ends of massive stars’ lives. While this is true, not all supernovas occur in this fashion. A common supernova class, called Type Ia, involves the detonation of white dwarfs — small, dense stars that are already dead.

New results from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope have revealed a rare example of Type Ia explosion, in which a dead star “fed” off an aging star like a cosmic zombie, triggering a blast. The results help researchers piece together how these powerful and diverse events occur.

This infrared image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope shows N103B -- all that remains from a supernova that exploded a millennium ago in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy 160,000 light-years away from our own Milky Way. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/Goddard)

This infrared image from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope shows N103B — all that remains from a supernova that exploded a millennium ago in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy 160,000 light-years away from our own Milky Way. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/Goddard)

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NASA says Herschel Space Observatory has found Young Galaxy acting mature for it’s age

 

Written by Whitney Clavin
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Scientists have discovered a young galaxy acting in unexpectedly mature ways. The galaxy, called S0901, is rotating in a calm manner typical of more developed galaxies like our own spiral Milky Way.

“Usually, when astronomers examine galaxies in an early era, they find that turbulence plays a much greater role than it does in modern galaxies. But S0901 is a clear exception to that pattern,” said James Rhoads of Arizona State University, Tempe.

The young galaxy SDSS090122.37+181432.3, also known as S0901, is seen here as the bright arc to the left of the central bright galaxy. (NASA/STScI; S. Allam and team; and the Master Lens Database, L. A. Moustakas, K. Stewart, et al (2014))

The young galaxy SDSS090122.37+181432.3, also known as S0901, is seen here as the bright arc to the left of the central bright galaxy. (NASA/STScI; S. Allam and team; and the Master Lens Database, L. A. Moustakas, K. Stewart, et al (2014))

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Astronomers look to make bigger Telescopes like NASA’s Hubble and Spitzer Space Telescopes

 

Written by Tony Phillips
Science at NASA

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – More than 400 years ago, Galileo turned a primitive spyglass toward the sky, and in just a few nights learned more about the unseen heavens than all of the scientists and philosophers before him, combined.

Since then astronomers have been guided by a simple imperative: Make Bigger Telescopes. As the 21st century unfolds, the power of optics has grown a million-fold.

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NASA astronomers to use Hubble, Spitzer, Herschel space telescopes to examine Burned Out Elliptical Galaxies

 

Written by Whitney Clavin
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Astronomers using NASA’s Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes, and Europe’s Herschel Space Observatory, have pieced together the evolutionary sequence of compact elliptical galaxies that erupted and burned out early in the history of the universe.

Enabled by Hubble’s infrared imaging capabilities, astronomers have assembled for the first time a representative spectroscopic sampling of ultra-compact, burned-out elliptical galaxies — galaxies whose star formation was finished when the universe was only 3 billion years old, less than a quarter of its current estimated age of 13.8 billion years.

This graphic shows the evolutionary sequence in the growth of massive elliptical galaxies over 13 billion years, as gleaned from space-based and ground-based telescopic observations. The growth of this class of galaxies is quickly driven by rapid star formation and mergers with other galaxies. Image Credit: NASA, ESA, S. Toft (Niels Bohr Institute), and A. Feild (STScI)

This graphic shows the evolutionary sequence in the growth of massive elliptical galaxies over 13 billion years, as gleaned from space-based and ground-based telescopic observations. The growth of this class of galaxies is quickly driven by rapid star formation and mergers with other galaxies. Image Credit: NASA, ESA, S. Toft (Niels Bohr Institute), and A. Feild (STScI)

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NASA’s Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes along with ALMA telescope find trio of Young Galaxies Merging

 

Written by Whitney Clavin
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Astronomers using the combined power of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) telescope in Chile and NASA’s Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes have discovered a far-flung trio of primitive galaxies nestled inside an enormous blob of primordial gas nearly 13 billion light-years from Earth.

It’s possible the trio will eventually merge into a single galaxy similar to our own Milky Way.

The big blob-like structure shown here, named Himiko after the legendary ancient queen of Japan, turns out to be three galaxies thought to be in the process of merging into one. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/STScI/NAOJ/Subaru)

The big blob-like structure shown here, named Himiko after the legendary ancient queen of Japan, turns out to be three galaxies thought to be in the process of merging into one. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/STScI/NAOJ/Subaru)

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NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope Celebrates 10 Years of Operation

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Ten years after a Delta II rocket launched NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope, lighting up the night sky over Cape Canaveral, FL, the fourth of the agency’s four Great Observatories continues to illuminate the dark side of the cosmos with its infrared eyes.

The telescope studied comets and asteroids, counted stars, scrutinized planets and galaxies, and discovered soccer-ball-shaped carbon spheres in space called buckyballs. Moving into its second decade of scientific scouting from an Earth-trailing orbit, Spitzer continues to explore the cosmos near and far.

A montage of images taken by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope over the years. (Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

A montage of images taken by NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope over the years. (Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Spitzer and WISE telescopes reveal Gargantuan Galaxies slow their growth as they age

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Our universe is filled with gobs of galaxies, bound together by gravity into larger families called clusters. Lying at the heart of most clusters is a monster galaxy thought to grow in size by merging with neighboring galaxies, a process astronomers call galactic cannibalism.

New research from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope and Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) is showing that, contrary to previous theories, these gargantuan galaxies appear to slow their growth over time, feeding less and less off neighboring galaxies.

This image shows two of the galaxy clusters observed by NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) and Spitzer Space Telescope missions. Galaxy clusters are among the most massive structures in the universe. The central and largest galaxy in each grouping, called the brightest cluster galaxy or BCG, is seen at the center of each image. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SDSS/NOAO)

This image shows two of the galaxy clusters observed by NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) and Spitzer Space Telescope missions. Galaxy clusters are among the most massive structures in the universe. The central and largest galaxy in each grouping, called the brightest cluster galaxy or BCG, is seen at the center of each image. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SDSS/NOAO)

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NASA’s Voyager 1 Spacecraft nears edge of our Solar System and will soon enter Interstellar Space

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Data from NASA’s Voyager 1, now more than 11 billion miles (18 billion kilometers) from the sun, suggest the spacecraft is closer to becoming the first human-made object to reach interstellar space.

Research using Voyager 1 data and published in the journal Science today provides new detail on the last region the spacecraft will cross before it leaves the heliosphere, or the bubble around our sun, and enters interstellar space.

This artist's concept shows NASA's two Voyager spacecraft exploring a turbulent region of space known as the heliosheath, the outer shell of the bubble of charged particles around our sun. (Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

This artist’s concept shows NASA’s two Voyager spacecraft exploring a turbulent region of space known as the heliosheath, the outer shell of the bubble of charged particles around our sun. (Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Ames Research Center simulation reveals Galaxies maybe Fed by Funnels of Fuel

 

Written by Whitney Clavin
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Computer simulations of galaxies growing over billions of years have revealed a likely scenario for how they feed: a cosmic version of swirly straws.

The results show that cold gas — fuel for stars — spirals into the cores of galaxies along filaments, rapidly making its way to their “guts.” Once there, the gas is converted into new stars, and the galaxies bulk up in mass.

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NASA’s Herschel Space Observatory sees Two Galaxies Merge

 

Written by Whitney Clavin
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – A massive and rare merging of two galaxies has been spotted in images taken by the Herschel space observatory, a European Space Agency mission with important NASA participation.

Follow-up studies by several telescopes on the ground and in space, including NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope and Spitzer Space Telescope, tell a tale of two faraway galaxies intertwined and furiously making stars. Eventually, the duo will settle down to form one super-giant elliptical galaxy.

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