Then Spitzer Imaged Baby Stars in the Orion Nebula…

The Orion Nebula's star-forming region (NASA)
The Orion Nebula's star-forming region (NASA).

Firstly, apologies that it’s been over a month since last posting to Astroengine.com. Call it slacking off, call it a sabbatical, either way, it’s not good. I’ve actually prepared several half-finished articles, but I just never got around to completing them. However, I have been on writing overdrive over at Discovery News, so if I go quiet over here, you know where to find me.

Speaking of Discovery News, I’ve just posted an incredible image of the heart of the Orion Nebula as seen by the Spitzer Space Telescope, so I can’t think of a better way to kick-start Astroengine with an image filled with awesomeness.

Although Spitzer has entered a new phase of operations since it depleted the liquid helium coolant used to maintain its instrumentation, that doesn’t mean its stopped producing some awe-inspiring imagery. In a new vista released on Thursday, a bustling star formation region in Orion is detailed, showing some 1,500 young stars the observatory watched for 40 days. This is an unprecedented study, allowing rapid variations in these baby stars to be tracked by Spitzer.

Young stars are generally highly variable in their brightness, a characteristic that is of huge interest to astrophysicists. If we can understand the mechanisms causing this variation, we can gain an insight to stellar evolution, possibly even understanding the history of our own Solar System.

As Spitzer observes in infrared wavelengths, it’s very sensitive to clouds of dust being heated by these young stars. Therefore, the proto-planetary disks surrounding these million year old stars glow brightly. Not only does this give an indication to the conditions surrounding the star, it also provides astronomers with an idea to how these disks of dust clump together, slowly evolving into exoplanets. And now Spitzer has data sets spanning weeks, dynamic changes in the emissions from the stars and their evolving planetary systems can be studied.

But science aside, the Spitzer imagery is a thing of beauty, reminding us how complex our cosmos really is. Don’t believe me? Take a look for yourself (click the pic to dive right in):

The star forming region in Orion as studied by Spitzer, rotated 90 degrees (NASA/JPL/Caltech)
The star forming region in Orion as studied by Spitzer, rotated 90 degrees (NASA/JPL/Caltech)
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4 thoughts on “Then Spitzer Imaged Baby Stars in the Orion Nebula…”

  1. This is really amazing. The light and the brightness of the star as they come together is a perfect creation. The beauty and complexity of our cosmos is very incredibly awesome.-Contributor: Pregnancy Miracle Thoughts

  2. It’s not a baby star…it’s just a small star, ok. No new enrgy is being created in our closed loop system.

    Stars are like snow flakes, ok…Each is unique, although built on the fractal #6. The only stars that are identical are Twin Stars.

    God named every one of them…named, not numbered.

    The energy of stars is being reduced acdg to the 2nd law of thermodynamics, and the Law of Entrophy.

    The gravitational forces between the Earth and the Moon are very, gradually weakening and measureable today. The speed of light is slowing down, very minisule, but measureable.

    Back to Stars….”The Stars were Singing at the Birth of Christ”…(N.T)

    This is now a scientfic fact, that Stars and Planets are “tuned” and have a harmonic frequency….(The Pendulum Effct)

    The Earth is tuned to a 440 C.P.S. frequency, or multiples thereof, ok. That means our Planet, it is ours….is tuned to the “A” Note on our 7 Note Music Scale. The Planet is ours, the Heavens are God’s (O.T.)

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