Within the Realm of a Dying Sun  

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Uploaded: 04/05/09 9:55 AM GMT
Within the Realm of a Dying Sun
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Spitzer Space Telescope set its infrared eyes upon the dusty remains of shredded asteroids around several dead stars. This artist's concept illustrates one such white dwarf, surrounded by the debris of a disintegrating asteroid. These observations help astronomers better understand what rocky planets are made of around other stars.

Asteroids are leftover scraps of planetary material. They form early in a star's history when planets are forming out of collisions between rocky bodies. When a star like our sun dies, shrinking down to a white dwarf, its asteroids get jostled about. If one of these asteroids gets too close to the white dwarf, the stars gravity will chew up the asteroid, leaving a cloud of dust.

Spitzer's infrared detectors can see these dusty clouds and their various constituents. So far, the telescope has identified silicate minerals in the clouds polluting eight white dwarfs. Because silicates are common in our Earth's crust, the results suggest that planets similar to ours might be common around other stars.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech


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04/05/09 11:23 AM GMT
WHOA!! Hellacool image!!
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Why do the pictures come out square when the lens is round??
04/05/09 4:14 PM GMT
This is way cool!!!!!!!! Good job.
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04/05/09 7:25 PM GMT
Fantastic and very Cool..
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04/05/09 8:16 PM GMT
My first impression when I saw the thumbnail that this was an underwater scene with light filtering through. Whoa ... I was really off in the opposite direction. :-)

The lighting along with the scattered debris & textures are fascinating. This image has such an amazing & natural 3D quality to it. Thanks for the info also, Phil ... and for sharing this one.
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We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give ~ Winston Churchill
04/09/09 1:57 AM GMT
excellent work:)
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05/16/09 8:45 PM GMT
Cool Pic. This could be a shot for a Science Fiction Movie. Great job! Keep it up!

P.S. if you get a chance, take a look at my gallery. I'm more photography, but any comments, criticisms, or advice would be more than welcome. Have an awesome day!
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Creativity is a gift from God. Use it wisely. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~Christian Of Caedes~~

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