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Topic: Cosmos

NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope to look for Galaxies in the far reaches of the Cosmos

 

Written by Whitney Clavin
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – A new survey of galaxies by NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope is taking a plunge into the deep and uncharted waters of our cosmos.

In one of the longest surveys the telescope will have ever performed, astronomers have begun a three-month expedition trawling for faint galaxies billions of light-years away.

The results are already yielding surprises.

Scientists "fish" for galaxies in this playful, digitally altered photo. The researchers are part of a program called SPLASH, which is using NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope to dive deep into the cosmic sea and find some of the most remote galaxies known. Early results are turning up surprisingly big "fish" -- massive galaxies -- in the darkest reaches of the universe, dating back to a time when our universe was less than one billion years old. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Scientists “fish” for galaxies in this playful, digitally altered photo. The researchers are part of a program called SPLASH, which is using NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope to dive deep into the cosmic sea and find some of the most remote galaxies known. Early results are turning up surprisingly big “fish” — massive galaxies — in the darkest reaches of the universe, dating back to a time when our universe was less than one billion years old. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA Scientists look for ways to measure Dark Matter and Dark Energy

 

Written by Whitney Clavin
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – How do you measure something that is invisible? It’s a challenging task, but astronomers have made progress on one front: the study of dark matter and dark energy, two of the most mysterious substances in our cosmos.

Dark matter is intermixed with normal matter, but it gives off no light, making it impossible to see. Dark energy is even more slippery, yet scientists think it works against gravity to pull our universe apart at the seams.

Galaxy warping occurs naturally in nature in a phenomenon called strong gravitational lensing. The gravity of matter in front of a more distant galaxy, either dark or normal matter, bends and twists the galaxy's light, resulting in wacky shapes and sometimes multiple versions of the same galaxy. It's like seeing a galaxy in a funhouse mirror. Scientists use these natural lenses to make maps of dark matter, an invisible substance permeating our cosmos.

Galaxy warping occurs naturally in nature in a phenomenon called strong gravitational lensing. The gravity of matter in front of a more distant galaxy, either dark or normal matter, bends and twists the galaxy’s light, resulting in wacky shapes and sometimes multiple versions of the same galaxy. It’s like seeing a galaxy in a funhouse mirror. Scientists use these natural lenses to make maps of dark matter, an invisible substance permeating our cosmos.

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NASA satellites capture Unique Details of Gamma Ray Blast from dying Star

 

Written by Francis Reddy
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – On April 27th, a blast of light from a dying star in a distant galaxy became the focus of astronomers around the world. The explosion, known as a gamma-ray burst and designated GRB 130427A, tops the charts as one of the brightest ever seen.

A trio of NASA satellites, working in concert with ground-based robotic telescopes, captured never-before-seen details that challenge current theoretical understandings of how gamma-ray bursts work.

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NASA to study Neutron stars for groundbreaking Space Navigation Technology

 

Written by Lori Keesey
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – Neutron stars have been called the zombies of the cosmos. They shine even though they’re technically dead, occasionally feeding on neighboring stars if they venture too close.

Interestingly, these unusual objects, born when a massive star extinguishes its fuel and collapses under its own gravity, also may help future space travelers navigate to Mars and other distant destinations.

This artist’s rendition shows the NICER/SEXTANT payload that NASA recently selected as its next Explorer Mission of Opportunity. The 56-telescope payload will fly on the International Space Station. (Credit: NASA)

This artist’s rendition shows the NICER/SEXTANT payload that NASA recently selected as its next Explorer Mission of Opportunity. The 56-telescope payload will fly on the International Space Station. (Credit: NASA)

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NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) catches Aging Star Erupting with Dust

 

Written by Whitney Clavin
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Images from NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) reveal an old star in the throes of a fiery outburst, spraying the cosmos with dust. The findings offer a rare, real-time look at the process by which stars like our sun seed the universe with building blocks for other stars, planets and even life.

The star, catalogued as WISE J180956.27-330500.2, was discovered in images taken during the WISE survey in 2010, the most detailed infrared survey to date of the entire celestial sky. It stood out from other objects because it glowed brightly with infrared light. When compared to images taken more than 20 years ago, astronomers found the star was 100 times brighter.

It's a dust bunny of cosmic proportions. Astronomers used images from NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, to locate an aging star shedding loads of dust (orange dot at upper left). Only one other star, called Sakurai's object, has been caught erupting with such large amounts of dust. The process is a natural part of aging for stars like our sun. As they puff up into red giants, they shed dust that is later recycled back into other stars, planets, and in the case of our solar system, living creatures. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

It's a dust bunny of cosmic proportions. Astronomers used images from NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, to locate an aging star shedding loads of dust (orange dot at upper left). Only one other star, called Sakurai's object, has been caught erupting with such large amounts of dust. The process is a natural part of aging for stars like our sun. As they puff up into red giants, they shed dust that is later recycled back into other stars, planets, and in the case of our solar system, living creatures. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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