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Infrared Astronomy

The study of infrared energy produced by astronomical objects. Infrared is a form of energy with a longer wavelength and lower frequency than visible light. It is produced by relatively cool objects, such as planetary systems and clouds of interstellar dust. Earth’s atmosphere absorbs most infrared energy, so it is best studied with telescopes in space or aboard high-altitude balloons or aircraft.

Featured Images

Cassini infrared view of Titan

Through the Smog July 15, 2016

Infrared view of the Orion Nebula

Brilliant Nursery July 12, 2016

Cloud Stripes June 26, 2016

Infrared image of a bow shock in front of a fast star

Shocking Star January 7, 2016

Infrared view of the interstellar medium

Filling the Void April 9, 2015

Infrared view of Serpens South star cluster and nebula

Unmasking Hidden Stars June 24, 2014

WISE view of the Vela Nebula in Cygnus

Glowing Civilizations? April 1, 2014

Space-based infrared view of the Rosette Nebula

Ruffled Rose February 28, 2014

Close-up view of the California Nebula in infrared light.

California Nebula January 25, 2014

Artist's concept of Spitzer Space Telescope

Heat Seeker August 23, 2013

Saturnian Heat Rays August 21, 2013

Starbirth region on the edge of the Milky Way galaxy

Starbirth June 6, 2013

Visible- and infrared-light views of Orion

Double Vision January 25, 2013

Infrared image of the star Fomalhaut (center) and surround debris ring

Messy Building Zone September 18, 2012

Space-based infrared view of the Large Magellanic Cloud

Busy Neighbor March 20, 2012

Newborn stars in the Orion Nebula

Bright Babies March 1, 2012

Infrared view of the spiral galaxy IC 342

Tangled Galaxy January 22, 2012

Infrared view of starbirth in the vast nebula complex Cygnus X

Busy Nursery January 13, 2012

Six Spiral Galaxies from European Southern Observatory

Galaxies Galore October 29, 2010

Infrared view of Comet Hartley 2 from WISE

Heading for a Rendezvous October 6, 2010

A hot, massive star 'exhales' a breath of oxygen in this recent image from WISE.

Breath of Life June 22, 2010

Rings and Moons

Rings and Moons June 4, 2010

Big Blue Planet

Big Blue Planet June 1, 2010

Starbirth Factories

Starbirth Factories May 24, 2010

A "family" of young stars shows off in this combined infrared and X-ray view of

Big Family May 14, 2010

Cold Fingers March 19, 2010

Starry Neighbor February 26, 2010

First Snapshot January 7, 2010

Radio Programs

Evaporating Galaxy A galaxy that’s ripping itself apart March 23, 2016

WFIRST Unwrapping a Christmas present March 17, 2016

James Webb Telescope Looking for the first galaxies March 16, 2016

Moon and Saturn Scoping out a giant ring February 2, 2016

Tau Ceti Visiting a dusty star system — after this. January 4, 2016

Energy Hogs Looking for signs of a super-civilization August 1, 2015

Moon and Companions A giant star hides in plain sight May 4, 2015

Moon and Aldebaran The cool glow of a bright star February 24, 2015

Jupiter at Opposition A big showing for a big planet February 5, 2015

Filling the Void Filling the intergalactic void January 18, 2015

Distant Neighbors Looking for distant neighbors May 20, 2014

Glowing Aliens Warming up to alien civilizations March 31, 2014

Earth Impacts IV Going to work for planetary defense January 8, 2014

Moon and Jupiter Heating up a giant planet December 17, 2013

Spitzer Space Telescope Taking a good look at an exoplanet August 22, 2013

Infrared Astronomy Casting eyes on the cold sky August 21, 2013

Unseen Saturn Unseen visions of a bright planet August 20, 2013

Dusty Vega Stirring up dust around a bright star June 13, 2013

IRAS Opening fresh eyes on the universe January 24, 2013

Hot Planet The glow of a small but hot planet January 23, 2013

Shrinking Iceball A distant iceball gets smaller October 18, 2012

More Moon and Jupiter Warming up a giant planet November 8, 2011

Taking Inventory Taking inventory of the solar system March 25, 2011

More Moon and Companions Fine-tuning the view of the heavens February 20, 2011