Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

NASA Creates Portrait Of Life And Death In The Universe

Date:
March 10, 2004
Source:
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Summary:
In a small galaxy lies a luminous cloud of gas and dust, called a nebula, which houses a family of newborn stars. If not for the death of a massive star millions of years ago, this stellar nursery never would have formed.

In a small nearby galaxy lies a luminous cloud of gas and dust, called a nebula, which houses a family of newborn stars. If not for the death of a massive star millions of years ago, this stellar nursery never would have formed. The nebula, Henize 206, and the remnants of the exploding star that created it, are pictured in superb detail in a new image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope.
Credit: Image NASA/JPL-Caltech

In a small galaxy lies a luminous cloud of gas and dust, called a nebula, which houses a family of newborn stars. If not for the death of a massive star millions of years ago, this stellar nursery never would have formed.

The nebula, Henize 206, and the remnants of the exploding star that created it, are pictured in superb detail in a new image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. Henize 206 sits just outside our own galaxy, the Milky Way, in a satellite galaxy 163,000 light-years away called the Large Magellanic Cloud. It is home to hundreds and possibly thousands of stars, ranging in age from two to 10 million years old.

"The image is a wonderful example of the cycle of birth and death that gives rise to stars throughout the universe," said Dr. Varoujan Gorjian, a scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Pasadena, Calif., and principal investigator for the latest observation.

As in other stellar nurseries, the stars were created when a dying star, or supernova, exploded, shooting shock waves through clouds of cosmic gas and dust. The gas and dust were subsequently compressed, gravity kicked in, and stars were born. Eventually, some of the stars will die in a fiery blast, triggering another cycle of birth and death. This recycling of stellar dust and gas occurs across the universe. Earth's own sun descended from multiple generations of stars.

The new Spitzer picture provides a detailed snapshot of this universal phenomenon. By imaging Henize 206 in the infrared, Spitzer was able to see through blankets of dust that dominate visible light views. The resulting false-color image shows embedded young stars as bright white spots, and surrounding gas and dust in blue, green and red. Also revealed is a ring of green gas, which is the wake of the ancient supernova's explosion.

"Before Spitzer, we were only seeing tantalizing hints of the newborn stars peeking through shrouds of dust," Gorjian said.

These observations provide astronomers with a laboratory for understanding the early universe, stellar birth and death cycles. Unlike large galaxies, the Large Magellanic Cloud has a quirk. The gas permeating it contains roughly 20 to 50 percent of the heavier elements, such as iron, possessed by the sun and gas clouds in the Milky Way. This low-metallicity state approximates the early universe, allowing astronomers to catch a glimpse of what stellar life was like billions of years ago, when heavy metals were scarce.

Henize 206 was first catalogued in the early 1950s by Dr. Karl Henize (pronounced Hen-eyes), an astronomer who became a NASA astronaut. He flew aboard the Challenger Space Shuttle in 1985. He died in 1993 at age 66 while climbing Mount Everest.

Launched on August 25, 2003, from Cape Canaveral, Fla., the Spitzer Space Telescope is the fourth of NASA's Great Observatories. The program includes the Hubble Space Telescope, Chandra X-ray Observatory and Compton Gamma Ray Observatory. JPL manages the Spitzer Space Telescope mission for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington. Science operations are conducted at the Spitzer Science Center at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

For information about NASA and agency exploration programs on the Internet, visit: http://www.nasa.gov

More information about the Spitzer Space Telescope and this picture are available on the Internet at: http://www.spitzer.caltech.edu

and

http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "NASA Creates Portrait Of Life And Death In The Universe." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 March 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/03/040309074750.htm>.
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. (2004, March 10). NASA Creates Portrait Of Life And Death In The Universe. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/03/040309074750.htm
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "NASA Creates Portrait Of Life And Death In The Universe." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/03/040309074750.htm (accessed July 25, 2014).

Share This




More Space & Time News

Friday, July 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

This Week @ NASA, July 25, 2014

This Week @ NASA, July 25, 2014

NASA (July 25, 2014) Apollo 11 celebration, Next Giant Leap anticipation, ISS astronauts appear in the House and more... Video provided by NASA
Powered by NewsLook.com
Space to Ground: Coming and Going

Space to Ground: Coming and Going

NASA (July 25, 2014) One station cargo ship leaves, another arrives, aquatic research and commercial spinoffs. Questions or comments? Use #spacetoground to talk to us. Video provided by NASA
Powered by NewsLook.com
How A Solar Flare Could Have Wrecked Earth's Electronics

How A Solar Flare Could Have Wrecked Earth's Electronics

Newsy (July 25, 2014) Researchers say if Earth had been a week earlier in its orbit around the sun, it would have taken a direct hit from a 2012 coronal mass ejection. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: ISS Cargo Ship Launches in Kazakhstan

Raw: ISS Cargo Ship Launches in Kazakhstan

AP (July 23, 2014) The Progress 56 cargo ship launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan Wednesday. NASA says it will deliver cargo and crew supplies to the International Space Station. (July 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

    Health News

      Environment News

        Technology News



          Save/Print:
          Share:

          Free Subscriptions


          Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

          Get Social & Mobile


          Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

          Have Feedback?


          Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
          Mobile: iPhone Android Web
          Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
          Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
          Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins