Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Space telescope’s new survey of outer galaxy helps Iowa State astronomers study stars

30.08.2010
The Spitzer Space Telescope is now taking aim at the outer reaches of the Milky Way and helping two Iowa State University astronomers advance their star studies.

Massimo Marengo, an assistant professor of physics and astronomy, is using data from Spitzer's infrared telescope to study big, cool-temperature stars and the dusty disks that forms around these and other stars as their planetary systems evolve. He is a co-author of a new paper that describes how tight double-star systems could be efficient "destroyers of worlds" because planet collisions may be common within the systems. The paper was published in the Aug. 19 issue of The Astrophysical Journal Letters.

Charles Kerton, as associate professor of physics and astronomy, is using Spitzer data to study star-forming regions of our Milky Way galaxy. He is co-author of a new paper that uses Spitzer images to identify regions within the inner Milky Way that are forming intermediate-mass stars. The paper was published in the August issue of The Astronomical Journal.

NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope launched Aug. 25, 2003, into an orbit of the sun. Its 33.5-inch diameter telescope and three scientific instruments are designed to detect infrared or heat radiation. To do that, the telescope assembly had to be cooled to within a few degrees of absolute zero (or -459 degrees Fahrenheit). The telescope ran out of liquid helium coolant last summer but is still able to collect data with its two shortest-wavelength detectors.

One of the telescope's initial tasks was to survey the Milky Way's dusty, star-filled center. The telescope, as part of an astronomy survey called GLIMPSE360, is now pointed toward outer regions of the galaxy and is beginning to send images of those remote areas. The survey is led by Barbara Whitney, a senior scientist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a senior research scientist at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo.

Iowa State's Kerton and Marengo say the space telescope is an important part of their science.

"It lets me see objects that are obscured," said Kerton, who helped plan the GLIMPSE360 survey. "It allows me to detect young, newly formed stars that wouldn't be seen any other way. And it shows them at a resolution that helps us understand what we're seeing."

Where old surveys showed a single blob, Kerton said, the Spitzer images show a cluster of stars.

Marengo started working with the Spitzer experiment before it launched. When he was on the staff of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass., he was part of the instrument group that built and calibrated Spitzer's hardware.

"Spitzer is really, really sensitive," Marengo said. "The first time it was turned on - before it was even calibrated - a 10-second exposure provided the equivalent depth of an exposure that used to take 10 hours with the 10-meter Keck telescope, the largest on Earth."

That, he said, is a big advantage when astronomers are trying to observe very cool, faint stars. And for his work, he said there are no ground telescopes that can match Spitzer's capabilities.

And now that the Spitzer Space Telescope is pointed away from the better-known inner galaxy, Kerton and Marengo said it will help astronomers understand unexplored parts of our galaxy through the end of the GLIMPSE360 survey early next year.

"Spitzer is getting farther and farther away," Marengo said. "And it's revealing more year by year."

Charles Kerton | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.iastate.edu
http://www.news.iastate.edu/news/2010/aug/spitzer

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht From rocks in Colorado, evidence of a 'chaotic solar system'
23.02.2017 | University of Wisconsin-Madison

nachricht Prediction: More gas-giants will be found orbiting Sun-like stars
22.02.2017 | Carnegie Institution for Science

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

New risk factors for anxiety disorders

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

MWC 2017: 5G Capital Berlin

24.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>