Author Archives: David Shiga

Spitzer Reveals Greedy Stellar Babies in Trifid

Stars in the process of forming compete with one another for resources as they grow. That's just one of the results that has emerged from new Spitzer Space Telescope infrared images that penetrate dust in the Trifid Nebula (M20), which lies 5,400 light-years away in the constellation Sagittarius. Spitzer uncovered 120 young stars and...

Disk Demolition Derby

Two teams of astronomers have reported signs of recent collisions between planetesimals orbiting Sunlike stars in circumstellar disks. One team, led by Kate Y. L. Su (University of Arizona), used the Spitzer Space Telescope to image the disk around Vega in the mid-infrared with unprecedented sensitivity. Su and her colleagues found signs that much...

Solar Spicule Mystery Solved

They look like little whiskers on the Sun's face when seen through a telescope, but the jets of solar gas known as spicules are thousands of kilometers long and shoot material up from the Sun's surface at 20 kilometers per second. They are transient — each one lives just a few minutes before disappearing...

Lensing Star Weighed

Astronomers have a new set of scales for measuring the masses of stars — by watching the way a star's gravity bends the light of a distant background star.