First Stars or Stray Stars? A Cosmic Infrared Mystery
Our sky is filled with a diffuse background glow, known as the cosmic infrared background. Much of the light is from galaxies we know about, but previous Spitzer measurements have shown an extra component of unknown origin.
This image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope shows where the action is taking place in galaxy NGC 1291. The outer ring, colored red, is filled with new stars that are igniting and heating up dust that glows with infrared light.
A plot of the transmission spectrum for exoplanet HAT-P-11b, with data from NASA's Kepler, Hubble and Spitzer observatories combined. The results show a robust detection of water absorption in the Hubble data.
Seeing Starlight Through a Planet's Rim (Artist's Concept)
A Neptune-size planet with a clear atmosphere is shown crossing in front of its star in this artist's depiction. Such crossings, or transits, are observed by telescopes like NASA's Hubble and Spitzer to glean information about planets' atmospheres.
Millions of galaxies populate the patch of sky known as the COSMOS field, short for Cosmic Evolution Survey, a portion of which is shown here. Even the smallest dots in this image are galaxies, some up to 12 billion light-years away.
Using data from NASA's Kepler and Spitzer Space Telescopes, scientists have made the most precise measurement ever of the size of a world outside our solar system, as illustrated in this artist's conception.
A composite image of the spiral galaxy NGC 4258 showing X-ray emission observed with NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory (blue) and infrared emission observed with NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope (red and green).
This infrared image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope shows N103B -- all that remains from a supernova that exploded a millennium ago in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy 160,000 light-years away from our own Milky Way.
Studied by astronomers, Serpens Cloud Core is one of the youngest collections of stars ever seen in our galaxy. This infrared image combines data from NASA's Spitzer with shorter-wavelength observations from the Two Micron All Sky Survey.
Astronomers have found cosmic clumps so dark, dense and dusty that they throw the deepest shadows ever recorded. A large cloud looms in the center of this image of the galactic plane from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope.
This composite image shows one of the clusters, NGC 2024, which is found in the center of the so-called Flame Nebula about 1,400 light years from Earth. Astronomers have studied two star clusters using NASA's Chandra and infrared telescopes.
This frame from an animation shows the coldest brown dwarf yet seen, and the fourth closest system to our sun. Called WISE J085510.83-071442.5, this dim object was discovered through its rapid motion across the sky.
The galaxy NGC 4395 is shown here in infrared light, captured by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. This dwarf galaxy is relatively small in comparison with our Milky Way galaxy, which is nearly 1,000 times more massive.