Astronomy News

5000 Days in the Life of an Astronomy Robot

Spitzer Space Telescope -

May 3rd, 2017 marks the 5,000th day of NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope mission. This video gives us a detailed look at six of these days, showing how an automated observatory like Spitzer, which is effectively an astronomy robot, spends its time. It’s overall mission design allows for an unprecedented degree of efficiency, allowing it to study the full range of astronomical phenomena including nearby objects in the solar system, stars in our galaxy, and galaxies out to the edge of the observable universe.

'Iceball' Planet Discovered Through Microlensing

Spitzer Space Telescope -

Scientists have discovered a new planet with the mass of Earth, orbiting its star at the same distance that we orbit our sun. The planet is likely far too cold to be habitable for life as we know it, however, because its star is so faint. But the discovery adds to scientists' understanding of the types of planetary systems that exist beyond our own.

Ancient Stardust Sheds Light on the First Stars

Spitzer Space Telescope -

Astronomers have detected a huge mass of glowing stardust in a galaxy seen when the universe was only 4 percent of its present age. This galaxy was observed shortly after its formation and is the most distant galaxy in which dust has been detected. This observation is also the most distant detection of oxygen in the universe.

Spitzer Hears Stellar 'Heartbeat' from Planetary Companion

Spitzer Space Telescope -

A planet and a star are having a tumultuous romance that can be detected from 370 light-years away. NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has detected unusual pulsations in the outer shell of a star called HAT-P-2. Scientists' best guess is that a closely orbiting planet, called HAT-P-2b, causes these vibrations each time it gets close to the star in its orbit.

Spitzer Hears Stellar 'Heartbeat' from Planetary Companion

Spitzer Space Telescope -

A planet and a star are having a tumultuous romance that can be detected from 370 light-years away. NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has detected unusual pulsations in the outer shell of a star called HAT-P-2. Scientists' best guess is that a closely orbiting planet, called HAT-P-2b, causes these vibrations each time it gets close to the star in its orbit.
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