JPL: Colony of Young Stars Shines in New Spitzer Image

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JPL: Colony of Young Stars Shines in New Spitzer Image

Post by bystander » Fri Apr 02, 2010 4:17 pm

Colony of Young Stars Shines in New Spitzer Image
NASA JPL Spitzer 2010-108 - 2010 Apr 01
Image
Orion's Dreamy Stars

Astronomers have their eyes on a hot group of young stars, watching their every move like the paparazzi. A new infrared image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope shows the bustling star-making colony of the Orion nebula, situated in the hunter's sword of the famous constellation. Like Hollywood starlets, the cosmic orbs don't always shine their brightest, but vary over time. Spitzer is watching the stellar show, helping scientists learn more about why the stars change, and to what degree planet formation might play a role.
...
By gathering more and more data on these varying disks, Stauffer and his team hope to learn more about how planets develop -- not exactly tabloid fodder, but an ongoing drama of one large, stellar family.
Warm Mission Dreamy Stars of Orion

A colony of hot, young stars is stirring up the cosmic scene in this new picture from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. The image shows the Orion nebula, a happening place where stars are born. The young stars dip and peak in brightness due to a variety of reasons. Shifting cold and hot spots on the stars' surfaces cause brightness levels to change, in addition to surrounding disks of lumpy planet-forming material, which can obstruct starlight. Spitzer is keeping tabs on the young stars, providing data on their changing ways.

The hottest stars in the region, called the Trapezium cluster, are bright spots at center right. Radiation and winds from those stars has sculpted and blown away surrounding dust. The densest parts of the cloud appear dark at center left.

This image was taken after Spitzer's liquid coolant ran dry in May 2009, marking the beginning of its "warm" mission. Light from the telescope's remaining infrared channels has been color-coded: 3.6-micron light is blue and 4.5-micron light is orange.
Orion's Dreamy Stars

This image is a combination of data from Spitzer and the Two Micron All Sky Survey (2MASS). The Spitzer data was taken after Spitzer's liquid coolant ran dry in May 2009, marking the beginning of its "warm" mission. Light from Spitzer's remaining infrared channels has been color-coded: 3.6-micron light is green and 4.5-micron light is red. 2MASS 2.5 micron light is blue.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Spitzer

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Re: JPL: Colony of Young Stars Shines in New Spitzer Image

Post by owlice » Fri Apr 02, 2010 4:50 pm

Wow; these are gorgeous, especially the last one!
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BA: The unfamiliar face of beauty

Post by bystander » Mon Apr 05, 2010 2:49 pm

The unfamiliar face of beauty
Bad Astronomy - 2010 Apr 05
The folks at Spitzer Space Telescope recently released a new image, and it’s a stunner:

Wow, what beauty! This picture shows the famous Orion nebula, one of the galaxy’s largest and most active star forming gas clouds. Spitzer is an infrared telescope, so blue here depicts light at 3.6 microns, roughly 5 times the wavelength your eye can see, and red/orange is 4.5 microns.

I could go on and on about the ethereal beauty of this image, about how we can actually see stars forming here, about why there are streamers and shock waves that sculpt this vast light-years long structure. But you can find me expositing at length on all those topics in other posts about other nebulae. That’s not the point I want to make here.

When I first saw the image, the email from JPL had the subject line "Colony of Young Stars Shines in New Spitzer Image", so I didn’t know what nebula it was showing. I simply clicked the link, and the image above popped up. I smiled when I saw it because of its beauty, at least at first. But after a moment I was puzzled. The nebula looked familiar, but for a brief moment I couldn’t place it. Then I focused my attention on the big cloud on the left, and my mind snapped into clarity.
Image
STScI-2006-01: Hubble Panoramic View of Orion Nebula: M42
(NASA/ESA/M. Robberto (STSci)/HST Orion Nebula Team)

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Re: JPL: Colony of Young Stars Shines in New Spitzer Image

Post by owlice » Mon Apr 05, 2010 3:16 pm

it’s a stunner
WOW! Indeed!!!
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Re: JPL: Colony of Young Stars Shines in New Spitzer Image

Post by biddie67 » Sat Apr 10, 2010 10:10 pm

Simply magnificent!!

I've seen several references to the wave lengths of the 2 remaining infrared channels but I don't think that I have come across a picture taken before the "warm" phase started and a reference to the liquid helium cooled channel's wave length (I apologize if I'm not saying that correctly.) Is one of the above pictures from that first phase?

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Re: JPL: Colony of Young Stars Shines in New Spitzer Image

Post by bystander » Sat Apr 10, 2010 10:34 pm

No, in addition to the 3.6 micron and 4.5 micron wavelengths in the images above, before May, 2009, Spitzer also imaged in the 8.0 micron range.

see Spitzer’s Cold Look at Space, American Scientist, Volume 97, Number 6, November-December 2009

and Spitzer Image Gallery and About Spitzer

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Re: JPL: Colony of Young Stars Shines in New Spitzer Image

Post by biddie67 » Sun Apr 11, 2010 5:35 pm

Thanks so much for the above links - I'm embarrased to admit that I didn't know that they existed. I was wondering why there needed to be such critical cooling of the satellite and its equipment - these links were really helpful with all their info. They were also written in such a way that I generally could understand what they were describing.