A stellar display (some never-before-seen pictures of space)

Reply Fri 19 Dec, 2003 07:45 am

(Some never-seen wonders of space made their debut Thursday thanks to the infrared detectors in NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, formerly known as the Space Infrared Telescope Facility. Clockwise from lower left, images taken from the telescope show a comet, a swirling, dusty galaxy, a hidden newborn star, and a glowing stellar nursery.)

NASA showed off never-before-seen infrared images of the spectacular birth of stars and the formation of planets and galaxies on Thursday, the first pictures from its newest space telescope.

The images from the $670 million Space Infrared Telescope, which was launched in August and began sending home data in October, show objects the human eye couldn't see on its own: a glowing stellar nursery, a swirling, dusty galaxy, a disc of planet-forming debris and organic material in the distant universe.

Project scientist Michael Werner, an astrophysicist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., said the telescope will "answer questions we couldn't even ask before."

John Bahcall, an astrophysicist at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J., agreed. "For me, and I think for all astronomers, today seems very much like a dream come true," he said. "NASA really got this one right."

The telescope, whose mission is expected to keep hundreds of scientists busy for at least the next five years, also got a new name, the Spitzer Space Telescope, in honor of the late Dr. Lyman Spitzer Jr.

Spitzer, a Princeton University astronomer whose work is considered among the most significant of the 20th century, was the first to suggest that scientists place telescopes in space. That suggestion, in 1946, was an attempt to better see through the distorting and blurring effects of Earth's atmosphere.

NASA's new SpitzerTelescope puts on dazzling show
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Laeknir Scrat
Reply Fri 19 Dec, 2003 06:07 pm
Grat pics, PDiddie. Thanks.

(I voted yes. More money for scientific research. Less money for war),
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Reply Fri 19 Dec, 2003 07:51 pm
Thanks for posting, L. Scrat.

(Are you related....nah, can't be.)

Slightly off-topic (but still in outer space):

The Brits' Mars lander is scheduled to drop itself on the Red Planet on Christmas morning...


A British spacecraft the size of an open umbrella began the final leg of its mission to find life on Mars as it successfully broke free on Friday from the mother ship that has carried it 62 million miles from earth.

Beagle 2 parted from the Mars Express rocket and set off alone to cover the remaining distance to the Red Planet, where it should parachute down on Christmas morning and start broadcasting a tune by Britpop band Blur.

In the intervening days, it will be out of touch with earth because the radio it carries is too small to cover the distance.

"We can confirm that we have Beagle 2 separation," said Mike McKay, flight director of the mission, talking to a gathering of scientists in London by video link from the headquarters of the European Space Agency in Darmstadt, Germany.

The first sign scientists will have of the success or failure of their project will be when either Mars Express or the U.S. Mars mission rocket Mars Odyssey -- both carrying powerful radios -- enters Mars orbit, antennae straining for the Blur tune.

Should be some interesting pictures from that.
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Reply Fri 19 Dec, 2003 07:53 pm
AH! I was just about to start a thread on this thread;s topic and I did start a thread on the mars lander!
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Reply Fri 19 Dec, 2003 08:00 pm
Then I'll go post on it, littlek...

I'm tired of reading about your political campaign and your boobs and all of that anyway... :wink:
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Reply Fri 19 Dec, 2003 08:03 pm
(I am too)
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