Telescopio WISE

Un’Antica Supernova

About 3,700 years ago, people on Earth would have seen a brand-new bright star in the sky. As it slowly dimmed out of sight, it was eventually forgotten, until modern astronomers found its remains -- called Puppis A . Seen as a red dusty cloud in this image from NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, Puppis A is the remnant of a supernova explosion. Puppis A (pronounced PUP-pis) was formed when a massive star ended its life in an extremely bright and powerful explosion. The expanding shock waves from that explosion are heating up the dust and gas clouds surrounding the supernova, causing them to glow and creating the beautiful red cloud we see here. Much of the material from that original star was violently thrown out into space. However, some of the material remained in an incredibly dense object called a neutron star. This particular neutron star (too faint to be seen in this image) is moving inexplicably fast: over 3 million miles per hour! Astronomers are perplexed over its absurd speed, and have nicknamed the object, the “Cosmic Cannonball." Some of the green-colored gas and dust in the image is from yet another ancient supernova -- the Vela supernova remnant. That explosion happened around 12,000 years ago and was four times closer to us than Puppis A. If you had X-ray vision like the comic book hero Superman, both of these remnants would be among the largest and brightest objects you would see in the sky. This image was made from observations by all four infrared detectors aboard WISE. Blue and cyan (blue-green) represent infrared light at wavelengths of 3.4 and 4.6 microns, which is primarily from stars, the hottest objects pictured. Green and red represent light at 12 and 22 microns, which is primarily from warm dust.

Circa 3700 anni fa gli abitanti della Terra potrebbero avere visto una nuova stella brillare in cielo. Quando si è affievolita ed è scomparsa dalla vista, probabilmente è stata dimenticata, finché i moderni astronomi non hanno trovato i suoi resti, chiamati Puppis A. Continua a leggere

La Spettacolare Laguna di WISE


Una straordinaria immagine ricca di colore ripresa dal telescopio WISE mette in risalto la Nebulosa Laguna in tutto il suo splendore. La laguna è formata da nubi di gas e polveri in cui stanno nascendo nuove stelle. Continua a leggere

Un Oceano di Stelle

20170126_132822In quella che potrebbe sembrare una ripresa subacquea di un mare tropicale con coralli e alghe, un’immagine strepitosa del telescopio spaziale Spitzer della NASA mostra invece la nascita e la morte delle stelle. Qui i dati a infrarossi di Spitzer sono in verde e in blu, mentre i dati del telescopio WISE (Wide-field Infrared Survey) sono in colore rosso. Continua a leggere

Riflessioni nella Croce del Sud


La nebulosa a riflessione IRAS 12116-6001 risplende di vivaci colori in questa immagine pittorica ripresa dal telescopio WISE. La polvere è riscaldata dalla luce stellare e brilla nell’infrarosso. Le nebulose a riflessione sono di grande interesse per gli astronomi, perché spesso sono luoghi in cui si formano nuove stelle. Continua a leggere

Una Ghirlanda in Cielo

In keeping with the spirit of the holidays, NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) mission presents the “Wreath Nebula”. Though this isn’t the nebula’s official name (it’s actually called Barnard 3 or IRAS Ring G159.6-18.5), it’s easy to picture a wreath in these bright green and red dust clouds -- a ring of evergreens donned with a festive red bow, a jaunty sprig of holly, and silver bells throughout. Interstellar clouds like these are stellar nurseries, places where baby stars are being born. The green ring (evergreen) is made of tiny particles of warm dust whose composition is very similar to smog found here on Earth. The red cloud (bow) in the middle is probably made of dust that is more metallic and cooler than the surrounding regions. The bright star in the middle of the red cloud, called HD 278942, is so luminous that it is likely what is causing most of the surrounding ring to glow. In fact its powerful stellar winds are what cleared out the surrounding warm dust and created the ring-shaped feature in the first place. The bright greenish-yellow region left of center (holly) is similar to the ring, though more dense. The bluish-white stars (silver bells) scattered throughout are stars located both in front of, and behind, the nebula. Regions similar to the "Wreath nebula" are found near the band of the Milky Way in the night sky. The wreath is slightly off of this band, near the boundary between the constellations of Perseus and Taurus, but at a relatively close distance of only about 1,000 light-years, the cloud is a still part of our Milky Way galaxy. The colors used in this image represent specific wavelengths of infrared light. Blue and cyan (blue-green) represent light emitted at wavelengths of 3.4 and 4.6 microns, which is predominantly from stars. Green and red represent light from 12 and 22 microns, respectively, which is mostly emitted by dust.

In perfetto spirito natalizio questa spettacolare nebulosa ripresa dal telescopio WISE della NASA ha l’aspetto allegro ed elegante di una festosa ghirlanda, ornata di un bel nastro rosso, sempreverde e lucine d’argento. Il nome ufficiale è Barnard 3 o IRAS G159.6-18.5, ma è stata soprannominata in modo appropriato, Nebulosa Ghirlanda. Nubi come questa sono nursery stellari, regioni in cui nascono nuove stelle. Continua a leggere