Follow this link to skip to                                      the main content

Mission News

Text Size

Spitzer Media Telecon: April 5, 2006
This page provides images and information for the Spitzer media telecon on April 5, 2006.

+ Audio clips from briefing

USA Toll Free Number: 1 800-857-1081
Passcode: spitzer
Confirmation Number: 7641102

An audio recording of this media teleconference will be available for one week through April 12 by calling 888-568-0349 (toll free) or 203-369-3465 (for international callers).

+ Press Release
+ Media Advisory

Dr. Deepto Chakrabarty (chock-rah-BAR-tee)
Associate Professor of Physics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Cambridge, Mass.
+ Bio

Dr. Aleksander Wolszczan (VOLE-shtonn)
Evan Pugh Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics
Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pa.
+ Bio

Dr. Charles Beichman
Executive Director, Michelson Science Center, Pasadena, Calif.
Staff Scientist, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
+ Bio

Image 1
Cassiopeia A in false color
Image above: This false-color image from three of NASA's Great Observatories provides one example of a star that died in a fiery supernova blast. Called Cassiopeia A, this supernova remnant is located 10,000 light-years away in the constellation Cassiopeia. At the center of this orb, visible only as a tiny turquoise dot, is the leftover corpse of the now-dead star, called a neutron star. The multi-hued shell outside the neutron star is the rest of the original star's scattered remains.
+ High resolution image and full caption
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Steward Observatory

Image 2
4 panels of artist concept showing explosion of massive star followed by creation of disk made up of star's ashes
Image above: This artist's animation depicts the explosive death of a massive star, followed by the creation of a disk made up of the star's ashes. NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope was able to see the warm glow of such a dusty disk using its heat-seeking infrared vision. Astronomers believe planets might form in this dead star's disk, like the mythical Phoenix rising up out of the ashes.
+ Animation (6.5Mb)
+ High resolution animation and full caption
+ High resolution animation available in additional formats
Animation credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Image 3
plot shows that remnants of stellar explosion is disk of its own
Image above: This plot tells astronomers that a pulsar, the remnant of a stellar explosion, is surrounded by a disk of its own ashes. The disk, revealed by the two data points at the far right from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, is the first ever found around a pulsar. Astronomers believe planets might rise up out of these stellar ashes.
+ High resolution image and full caption
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MIT

Image 4
artist's concept
Image above: This artist's concept depicts the pulsar planet system discovered by Aleksander Wolszczan in 1992. Wolszczan used the Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico to find three planets - the first of any kind ever found outside our solar system - circling a pulsar called PSR B1257+12. Pulsars are rapidly rotating neutron stars, which are the collapsed cores of exploded massive stars. They spin and pulse with radiation, much like a lighthouse beacon. Here, the pulsar's twisted magnetic fields are highlighted by the blue glow.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
+ High resolution image and full caption

For more information about Spitzer visit the mission home page at