A dusty planetary system (left) is compared to another system with little dust in this artist's concept. Dust can make it difficult for telescopes to image planets because light from the dust can outshine that of the planets.
This plot shows data from the Cosmic Infrared Background Experiment, or CIBER, rockets launched in 2010 and 2012. The experiment measures a diffuse glow of infrared light in the sky, known as the cosmic infrared background.
This graphic illustrates how the Cosmic Infrared Background Experiment, or CIBER, team measures a diffuse glow of infrared light filling the spaces between galaxies. The glow does not come from any known stars and galaxies.
This artist's concept shows a view of a number of galaxies sitting in huge halos of stars. The stars are too distant to be seen individually and instead are seen as a diffuse glow, colored yellow in this illustration.
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.
These images from the Cosmic Infrared Background Experiment, or CIBER, show large patches of the sky at two different infrared wavelengths (1.1 microns and 1.6 microns) after all known galaxies have been subtracted out and the images smoothed.
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 small galaxy, called Sextans A, is shown here in a multi-wavelength mosaic captured by the ESA's Herschel mission. In this image, the purple shows gas; blue shows young stars and the orange and yellow dots are newly formed stars heating up dust.
This image shows a neutron star -- the core of a star that exploded in a massive supernova. This particular neutron star is known as a pulsar because it sends out rotating beams of X-rays that sweep past Earth like lighthouse beacons.
NuSTAR Captures the Beat of a Dead Star (Animation)
The brightest pulsar detected to date is shown in this frame from an animation that flips back and forth between images captured by NASA's NuSTAR. A pulsar is a type of neutron star, the leftover core of a star that exploded in a supernova.
This chart illustrates relative masses of super-dense cosmic objects, ranging from white dwarfs to supermassive black holes encased in the cores of most galaxies. The first three 'dead' stars (left) all form when stars more massive than our sun explode.
The comparison from NASA's Hubble telescope and Chandra X-ray Observatory highlights how different the universe can look when viewed in other wavelengths of light. M82 is located 12 million light-years away in the Ursa Major constellation.
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.