Press releases are a fun avenue in publicizing the research I am involved in. Often, these press releases are motivated by beautiful images taken with space-based telescopes, coupled with an interesting science result.

SAGE-SMC Spitzer color image

Galaxy Exposes its Dusty Inner Workings in New Spitzer Image

The Small Magellanic Cloud was imaged with Spitzer using the IRAC and MIPS cameras as part of the SAGE-SMC Legacy Program. The Small Magellanic Cloud is a satellite galaxy to our own Galaxy and can be seen with the naked eye from the southern hemisphere. This color image includes data from 3.6 to 160 microns giving the full infrared view of this galaxy in one image. The SAGE-SMC program is carried out by a large international team of astronomers that are concentrating on studying the interstellar medium, star formation, and evolved stars in this neat, nearby galaxy. This image and related work [for examples, see Gordon et al. (2011), Boyer et al. (2011), and Sweilo et al. (2012)] was the subject of Spitzer Press Release at the 215th AAS meeting.

NGC 7023 color image

Blushing Dusty Nebula

The Galactic reflection nebula NGC 7023 is a favorite object of dust researchers and deep sky enthusiasts. Hubble Space Telecope imaging with ACS and NICMOS was used to study the properties of Extended Red Emission (optical photoluminescence from dust) in Witt, Gordon, et al. (2006). The HST images were the subject of a Hubble/ESA Press Release.

M101 color image

Aromatics in the Pinwheel Galaxy

The Pinwheel Galaxy (also known as M101) was imaged by Spitzer using the IRAC and MIPS cameras. The 3 color image shows an greenish interior surrounded by a red rim. These colors are due to the suppression of the aromatic features (possibly due to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons or PAHs which are organic molecules) in the harsh radiation fields in the outer regions of this galaxy. This interpretation was the result of these images as well as IRS spectroscopy of selected regions in this galaxy. The full details can be found in this paper. This work generated a Spitzer Press Release and the IRrelevannt Astronomy Robot Astronomy Talk Show episode ( The Building Blocks of Life). The image release is serious, the RATS episode is just funny!

SINGS IR Tuning Fork

Lifestyles of the Galaxies Next Door

The SINGS Spitzer Legacy program imaged 75 galaxies with properties spanning the full observed range. The SINGS Tuning Fork poster was created showing all 75 galaxies as IRAC/MIPS 3 color images and arranged into the classic Hubble Tuning Fork. The Spitzer Science Center released both a feature article and a image release.

There are many other SINGS Spitzer Science Center press releases. Check them out at the Spitzer Press Website.


The Eternal Life of Stardust Portrayed in New NASA Image

The SAGE-LMC Spitzer Legacy imaged the entire (7x7 degrees!) Large Magellanic Cloud. The Spitzer Press Release shows off this stunning combined IRAC/MIPS image.

MIPS of M31

Lady in Red: Andromeda Galaxy Shines in Spitzer's Eyes

The nearest spiral galaxy to our own is M31 and the MIPS observations and resulting paper were featured in a Spitzer Science Center press release. A more detailed, simultaneous Univ. of Arizona press release was also done. There was even a podcast interview of George Rieke and myself by Robert Hurt on this work.

The IRAC observations of this galaxy followed (PI: Pauline Barmby) and resulted in another press release.

The M31 MIPS 24 micron image was also used in combined GALEX/Spitzer image release showing both unobscured (GALEX) and obscured (MIPS) star formation.

Spitzer M81

NASA Releases Dazzling Images from New Space Telescope

The grand design spiral galaxy M81 was featured as one of the first images released from the Spitzer Space Telescope. The original observations were taken with the IRAC and MIPS instruments as part of the Spitzer Early Release Observations (EROs). I lead the team which took the MIPS observations. M81 is a SINGS Legacy galaxy and the SINGS team graciously allowed these observations to be taken before and in addition to the scheduled SINGS observations to show off the capabilities of Spitzer. These observations resulted a multiple papers, including Gordon et al. (2004).

The combined IRAC/MIPS color image of M81 has shown up in interesting places, including the cover of an astronomy textbook and a video version of the Monte Python song!

The M81 images were also used in a combined GALEX/Spitzer press release highlighting the complementarity of ultraviolet and infrared observations.