Going once, going twice, sold! to the space enthusiast in the second row
By Jennie WaltersPosted 06.28.2011 at 3:05 pm 3 Comments
In April, NASA announced plans to "donate" four space shuttles to American museums for about $30 million apiece. That's a bit steep for armchair astronauts, but a surprising amount of semi-affordable space stuff goes to auction each year.
See that little dot in the upper left corner? It is a planet orbiting a sun-like star. We know of a few hundred planets like this, but this one is special -- we now know it's the first one to have its picture properly taken from Earth.
The adaptive optics system at the Gemini Observatory in Hawaii snapped this photo in the infrared part of the light spectrum. It shows a hot, large Jupiter-like planet near a smallish sun-like star. It was actually found two years ago, but astronomers couldn't be sure they were really looking at a planetary system and not some lucky alignment of objects. Now they're sure.
Suzaku detected X-rays produced when heavily ionized iron atoms recapture an electron. This view combines infrared images from the ground (red, green) with X-ray data from NASA's Chandra X-Ray Observatory (blue).
JAXA/NASA/Suzaku, Tom Bash, John Fox/Adam Block/NOAO/AURA/NSF
A new type of supernova remnant still holds the embers of the fireball that first blossomed thousands of years ago. The remnant gas retains ions with the imprint of temperatures 10,000 times hotter than the sun's surface, according to scientists who made the observations with the Japan-U.S. Suzaku space observatory.