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Topic: Infrared

NASA’s NuSTAR spacecraft captures image of Black Hole at the center of the Milky Way having a Thanksgiving Snack

 

Written by Dr. Tony Phillips
Science at NASA

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – Deep in the heart of the spiral Milky Way galaxy, a hot vortex of matter swirls around a black hole more than a million times as massive as the sun.

Many galaxies, perhaps all, contain such a “monster in the middle.” These supermassive black holes sustain themselves by swallowing stars, planets, asteroids, comets and clouds of gas that wander by the crowded galactic core.

NASA’s NuSTAR spacecraft recently caught the Milky Way’s central black hole in the act of having a snack.

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NASA Satellites monitor Hurricane Sandy

 

Written by Alan Buis
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Hurricane Sandy is expected to affect as many as 60 million Americans this week as it combines with other weather fronts to create an anticipated ‘superstorm.’ Satellites and instruments from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, are busy monitoring the storm. NASA’s Atmospheric Infrared Sounder Tracks Sandy’s Approach

NASA’s Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument on NASA’s Aqua spacecraft captured this infrared image of Hurricane Sandy at 2:17pm EDT on October 29th, 2012.

NASA's Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument on NASA's Aqua spacecraft captured this infrared image of Hurricane Sandy, another weather front to the west and cold air coming down from Canada at 2:17pm EDT Oct. 29th. The hurricane center is the darkest purple area in the Atlantic just to the east of the New Jersey coast, reflecting Sandy's areas of heaviest rainfall. (Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

NASA’s Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument on NASA’s Aqua spacecraft captured this infrared image of Hurricane Sandy, another weather front to the west and cold air coming down from Canada at 2:17pm EDT Oct. 29th. The hurricane center is the darkest purple area in the Atlantic just to the east of the New Jersey coast, reflecting Sandy’s areas of heaviest rainfall. (Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity for the first time uses it’s Laser to analyze a Rock on Mars

 

Written by Guy Webster and D.C. Agle
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity fired its laser for the first time on Mars, using the beam from a science instrument to interrogate a fist-size rock called “Coronation.”

The mission’s Chemistry and Camera instrument, or ChemCam, hit the fist-sized rock with 30 pulses of its laser during a 10-second period. Each pulse delivers more than a million watts of power for about five one-billionths of a second.

This composite image, with magnified insets, depicts the first laser test by the Chemistry and Camera, or ChemCam, instrument aboard NASA's Curiosity Mars rover. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/LANL/CNES/IRAP)

This composite image, with magnified insets, depicts the first laser test by the Chemistry and Camera, or ChemCam, instrument aboard NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/LANL/CNES/IRAP)

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NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer takes image of Flame Nebula in the Constellation Orion

 

Written by Whitney Clavin
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – A new image from NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, shows the candle-like Flame nebula lighting up a cavern of dust. The Flame nebula is part of the Orion complex, a turbulent star-forming area located near the constellation’s star-studded belt.

The image is being released along with a new batch of data from the mission. Last March, WISE released its all-sky catalog and atlas containing infrared images and data on more than a half billion objects, including everything from asteroids to stars and galaxies. Now, the mission is offering up additional data from its second scan of the sky.

The Flame Nebula sits on the eastern hip of Orion the Hunter, a constellation most easily visible in the northern hemisphere during winter evenings. (Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

The Flame Nebula sits on the eastern hip of Orion the Hunter, a constellation most easily visible in the northern hemisphere during winter evenings. (Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope finds Patterns of Light from First Objects in the Universe

 

Written by Whitney Clavin
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – The faint, lumpy glow given off by the very first objects in the universe may have been detected with the best precision yet, using NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope. These faint objects might be wildly massive stars or voracious black holes.

They are too far away to be seen individually, but Spitzer has captured new, convincing evidence of what appears to be the collective pattern of their infrared light.

The observations help confirm the first objects were numerous in quantity and furiously burned cosmic fuel.

Astronomers have uncovered patterns of light that appear to be from the first stars and galaxies that formed in the universe. The light patterns were hidden within a strip of sky observed by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/GSFC)

Astronomers have uncovered patterns of light that appear to be from the first stars and galaxies that formed in the universe. The light patterns were hidden within a strip of sky observed by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/GSFC)

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NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope spots Searchlight Beams from Preplanetary Nebula

 

NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has been at the cutting edge of research into what happens to stars like our sun at the ends of their lives.

One stage that stars pass through as they run out of nuclear fuel is called the preplanetary or protoplanetary nebula stage. This Hubble image of the Egg Nebula shows one of the best views to date of this brief but dramatic phase in a star’s life.

Hubble catches image of Searchlight Beams from a Preplanetary Nebula. (Credit: ESA/Hubble, NASA)

Hubble catches image of Searchlight Beams from a Preplanetary Nebula. (Credit: ESA/Hubble, NASA)

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NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope peeks inside the Large Magellanic Cloud

 

NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – These bright stars shining through what looks like a haze in the night sky are part of a young stellar grouping in one of the largest known star formation regions of the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), a dwarf satellite galaxy of the Milky Way. The image was captured by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope’s Wide Field Planetary Camera 2.

The stellar grouping is known to stargazers as NGC 2040 or LH 88. It is essentially a very loose star cluster whose stars have a common origin and are drifting together through space.

Large star formation in the Large Megellanic Cloud. (Credit: ESA/Hubble, NASA and D. A Gouliermis. Acknowledgement: Flickr user Eedresha Sturdivant)

Large star formation in the Large Megellanic Cloud. (Credit: ESA/Hubble, NASA and D. A Gouliermis. Acknowledgement: Flickr user Eedresha Sturdivant)

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Herschel Space Observatory looks into the Dark Heart of a Cosmic Collision

 

Written by Whitney Clavin
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Infrared and X-ray observations from two space telescopes have been combined to create a unique look at violent events within the giant galaxy Centaurus A. The observations strengthen the view that the galaxy may have been created by the cataclysmic collision of two older galaxies.

The infrared light was captured by the European Space Agency’s Herschel Space Observatory, a mission with important NASA contributions. The X-ray observations were made by the European Space Agency’s XMM-Newton space telescope.

The peculiar galaxy Centaurus A as seen in longer infrared wavelengths and X-rays. Inner structural features seen in this image are helping scientists to understand the mechanisms and interactions within the galaxy, as are the jets seen extending over thousands of light years from the black hole believed to be at its heart. (Credits: Far-infrared: ESA/Herschel/PACS/SPIRE/C.D. Wilson, MacMaster University, Canada; X-ray: ESA/XMM-Newton/EPIC)

The peculiar galaxy Centaurus A as seen in longer infrared wavelengths and X-rays. Inner structural features seen in this image are helping scientists to understand the mechanisms and interactions within the galaxy, as are the jets seen extending over thousands of light years from the black hole believed to be at its heart. (Credits: Far-infrared: ESA/Herschel/PACS/SPIRE/C.D. Wilson, MacMaster University, Canada; X-ray: ESA/XMM-Newton/EPIC)

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NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) Captures Image of Dying, Outflowing Star

 

Written by Whitney Clavin
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Researchers using NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) have captured an infrared image of the last exhalations of a dying sun-like star.

The object observed by SOFIA, planetary nebula Minkowski 2-9, or M2-9 for short, is seen in this three-color composite image.

NASA's SOFIA telescope and the FORCAST instrument captured this color-composite image of the planetary nebula Minkowski 2-9 (M2-9) showing a dying sun-like star. (NASA/DLR/USRA/DSI/FORCAST team)

NASA's SOFIA telescope and the FORCAST instrument captured this color-composite image of the planetary nebula Minkowski 2-9 (M2-9) showing a dying sun-like star. (NASA/DLR/USRA/DSI/FORCAST team)

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NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope Discovers Waterworld Planet

 

Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationCambridge, MA – An international team of astronomers led by Zachory Berta of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) made the observations of the planet GJ 1214b.

“GJ 1214b is like no planet we know of,” Berta said. “A huge fraction of its mass is made up of water.”

The ground-based MEarth Project, led by CfA’s David Charbonneau, discovered GJ 1214b in 2009. This super-Earth is about 2.7 times Earth’s diameter and weighs almost seven times as much. It orbits a red-dwarf star every 38 hours at a distance of 2 million kilometres, giving it an estimated temperature of 230 degrees Celsius.

GJ1214b, shown in this artist's view, is a super-Earth orbiting a red dwarf star 40 light-years from Earth. New observations from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope show that it is a waterworld enshrouded by a thick, steamy atmosphere. GJ1214b represents a new type of planet, like nothing seen in our solar system or any other planetary system currently known. It’s smaller than Uranus but larger than Earth. (Credit: NASA, ESA, and D. Aguilar (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics))

GJ1214b, shown in this artist's view, is a super-Earth orbiting a red dwarf star 40 light-years from Earth. New observations from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope show that it is a waterworld enshrouded by a thick, steamy atmosphere. GJ1214b represents a new type of planet, like nothing seen in our solar system or any other planetary system currently known. It’s smaller than Uranus but larger than Earth. (Credit: NASA, ESA, and D. Aguilar (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics))

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