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The Universe (929)
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The tightly packed system, named Kepler-444, is home to five small planets in very compact orbits. The planets were detected from the dimming that occurs when they transit the disk of their parent star, as shown in this artist's conception.
The tightly packed system, named Kepler-444, is home to five small planets in very compact orbits. The planets were detected from the dimming that occurs when they transit the disk of their parent star, as shown in this artist's conception.

Kepler-444 Planetary System (Artist Concept)

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.
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.

Stray Stars Scattered in Space (Artist Concept)

This artist's concept shows Kepler-11 -- the most tightly packed planetary system yet discovered.
This artist's concept shows Kepler-11 -- the most tightly packed planetary system yet discovered.

Kepler-11 Planetary System (Artist Concept)

This image shows the K2-33 system, and its planet K2-33b, compared to our own solar system, as discovered by NASA's Kepler Space Telescope.
This image shows the K2-33 system, and its planet K2-33b, compared to our own solar system, as discovered by NASA's Kepler Space Telescope.

Comparing K2-33 to our Solar System

The locations of brown dwarfs discovered by NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, and mapped by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, are shown in this diagram as red circles.
The locations of brown dwarfs discovered by NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, and mapped by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, are shown in this diagram as red circles.

Brown Dwarf Backyardigans

NASA's Galaxy Evolution Explorer found a tail behind a galaxy called IC 3418. This star-studded tail was created as the galaxy plunged into gas in a family of galaxies known as the Virgo cluster.
NASA's Galaxy Evolution Explorer found a tail behind a galaxy called IC 3418. This star-studded tail was created as the galaxy plunged into gas in a family of galaxies known as the Virgo cluster.

Now You See a Tail, Now You Don't

Infrared images from instruments at Kitt Peak National Observatory (left) and NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope document the outburst of HOPS 383, a young protostar in the Orion star-formation complex.
Infrared images from instruments at Kitt Peak National Observatory (left) and NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope document the outburst of HOPS 383, a young protostar in the Orion star-formation complex.

Embryonic Star's Outburst

This chart compares the first Earth-size planets found around a sun-like star to planets in our own solar system, Earth and Venus. NASA's Kepler mission discovered the newfound planets, called Kepler-20e and Kepler-20f.
This chart compares the first Earth-size planets found around a sun-like star to planets in our own solar system, Earth and Venus. NASA's Kepler mission discovered the newfound planets, called Kepler-20e and Kepler-20f.

Earth-class Planets Line Up

This map of the entire sky was captured by the European Space Agency's Planck mission - The band running through the middle corresponds to dust in our Milky Way galaxy.
This map of the entire sky was captured by the European Space Agency's Planck mission - The band running through the middle corresponds to dust in our Milky Way galaxy.

Astronomers Dig Up Treasure Trove of Galaxy Clusters

This illustration shows three possible scenarios for the evolution of asteroid belts. At the top, a Jupiter-size planet migrates through the asteroid belt, scattering material and inhibiting the formation of life on planets.
This illustration shows three possible scenarios for the evolution of asteroid belts. At the top, a Jupiter-size planet migrates through the asteroid belt, scattering material and inhibiting the formation of life on planets.

Scenarios for the Evolution of Asteroid Belts

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.
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.

Transmission Spectrum of HAT-P-11b

This image from NASA's Kepler mission shows the telescope's full field of view an expansive star-rich patch of sky in the constellations Cygnus and Lyra stretching across 100 square degrees, or the equivalent of two side-by-side dips of the Big Dipper.
This image from NASA's Kepler mission shows the telescope's full field of view an expansive star-rich patch of sky in the constellations Cygnus and Lyra stretching across 100 square degrees, or the equivalent of two side-by-side dips of the Big Dipper.

Kepler's Diamond Mine of Stars

These computer-generated images from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope chart the development of severe weather patterns on the highly eccentric exoplanet HD 80606b during the days after its closest approach to its parent star.
These computer-generated images from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope chart the development of severe weather patterns on the highly eccentric exoplanet HD 80606b during the days after its closest approach to its parent star.

Severe Exoplanetary Storm

This artist's image depicts a faraway solar system like our own except for one big difference. Planets and asteroids circle around not one, but two suns. NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope found evidence that such solar systems may be common in the universe.
This artist's image depicts a faraway solar system like our own except for one big difference. Planets and asteroids circle around not one, but two suns. NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope found evidence that such solar systems may be common in the universe.

Two Suns Raise Family of Planetary Bodies (Artist Animation)

This plot shows that a pulsar, the remnant of a stellar explosion, is surrounded by a disk of its own ashes. The disk, revealed by the two data points at the far right from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, is the first ever found around a pulsar.
This plot shows that a pulsar, the remnant of a stellar explosion, is surrounded by a disk of its own ashes. The disk, revealed by the two data points at the far right from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, is the first ever found around a pulsar.

Circle of Ashes

The Tadpole galaxy is the result of a recent galactic interaction in the local universe. These spectacular images were taken by NASA's Spitzer Wide-area Infrared Extragalactic (SWIRE) Legacy project.
The Tadpole galaxy is the result of a recent galactic interaction in the local universe. These spectacular images were taken by NASA's Spitzer Wide-area Infrared Extragalactic (SWIRE) Legacy project.

A SWIRE Picture is Worth Billions of Years

Evidence for this possible belt was discovered by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope when it spotted warm dust around the star, presumably from asteroids smashing together. This is an artist's concept.
Evidence for this possible belt was discovered by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope when it spotted warm dust around the star, presumably from asteroids smashing together. This is an artist's concept.

Band of Rubble (Artist Concept)

This artist's concept shows a celestial body about the size of our moon slamming at great speed into a body the size of Mercury. NASA's Spitzer found evidence that a high-speed collision of this sort occurred a few thousand years ago around a young star.
This artist's concept shows a celestial body about the size of our moon slamming at great speed into a body the size of Mercury. NASA's Spitzer found evidence that a high-speed collision of this sort occurred a few thousand years ago around a young star.

Planetary Demolition Derby

This artist's concept shows a Super Venus planet on the left, and a Super Earth on the right. Researchers use a concept known as the habitable zone to distinguish between these two types of planets, which exist beyond our solar system.
This artist's concept shows a Super Venus planet on the left, and a Super Earth on the right. Researchers use a concept known as the habitable zone to distinguish between these two types of planets, which exist beyond our solar system.

Toxic Wasteland or Lush Paradise? (Artist Concept)

This illustration shows the unusual orbit of planet Kepler-413b around a close pair of orange and red dwarf stars. The planet's 66-day orbit is tilted 2.5 degrees with respect to the plane of the binary stars' orbit.
This illustration shows the unusual orbit of planet Kepler-413b around a close pair of orange and red dwarf stars. The planet's 66-day orbit is tilted 2.5 degrees with respect to the plane of the binary stars' orbit.

Star System Bonanza (Illustration)

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.
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.

Seeing Starlight Through a Planet's Rim (Artist's Concept)

Black holes are tremendous objects whose immense gravity can distort and twist space-time, the fabric that shapes our universe as this chart from NASA's NuSTAR and ESA's XMM-Newton telescope illustrates.
Black holes are tremendous objects whose immense gravity can distort and twist space-time, the fabric that shapes our universe as this chart from NASA's NuSTAR and ESA's XMM-Newton telescope illustrates.

How to Measure the Spin of a Black Hole (Artist's Concept)

This artist's concept shows a hypothetical 'rejuvenated' planet,a gas giant that has reclaimed its youthful infrared glow. NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope found tentative evidence for one such planet around a dead star, or white dwarf, called PG 0010+280.
This artist's concept shows a hypothetical 'rejuvenated' planet,a gas giant that has reclaimed its youthful infrared glow. NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope found tentative evidence for one such planet around a dead star, or white dwarf, called PG 0010+280.

Hypothetical 'Rejuvenated' Planets (Artist's Concept)

This artist's concept illustrates the fate of two different planets: the one on the left is similar to Earth, made up largely of silicate-based rocks with oceans coating its surface.
This artist's concept illustrates the fate of two different planets: the one on the left is similar to Earth, made up largely of silicate-based rocks with oceans coating its surface.

A Tale of Two Worlds: Silicate Versus Carbon Planets (Artist Concept)

One of Planck's first images is shown as a strip superimposed over a two dimensional projection of the whole sky as seen in visible light.
One of Planck's first images is shown as a strip superimposed over a two dimensional projection of the whole sky as seen in visible light.

Planck's First Glimpse at the Universe

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