National Aeronautics and Space Administration GALEX Evolution Explorer

This object, called Jupiter’s Ghost or NGC 3242, is a planetary nebula. In this , taken in by the Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX), Jupiter’s Ghost appears far larger than it does in visible light. This cloud of gas and debris, glowing in the ultraviolet light from the hot white dwarf at the center, is all that is left of a star that was once similar to our Sun. The ghostly remains from a star’s violent death

EW-2009-12-042-JPL Clues from Ancient Light

This activity introduces some important The same thing happens to starlight. The science concepts in simple language. The puzzle are all moving away from us and each other because space itself is expanding. As the light waves move through activity reinforces one aspect. Participants cut out expanding space, they get stretched out. The longer the the squares on the second page with the pictures light waves’ journey through space, the more stretched out of objects of different “ages,” then rearrange they become. Astronomers say this stretched out light is them from oldest to youngest. A third page shows “red-shifted.” the pictures in the right order (allowing room for differing interpretation in a couple of cases), How Old Is the Starlight? explaining a little about each picture. If desired, the puzzle page may be photocopied and glued to GALEX sees starlight that has been traveling for just card stock or a manila folder before cutting out the a few years from that are “only” a few tens of trillions squares. of kilometers away. But it also sees really stretched out “red-shifted” starlight that has been traveling over 10 billion years! That is more than two-thirds of the age of the whole ! So GALEX is seeing faraway galaxies GALEX Looks Back in Time as they were a very long time ago when they gave off the light, as well as nearby galaxies as they looked just a few Like all telescopes that see far into space, GALEX hundred thousand years ago. is a time machine. As it peers into the distance, it is also peering into the past. That is because the light that GALEX Just as old photographs show how people looked detects has taken a long time to travel from its source (a decades ago, GALEX sees pictures of galaxies when the galaxy, for example) to reach GALEX. Although light universe was much younger than now. So astronomers travels faster than anything else (300,000 kilometers or can look at the galaxy pictures from far away—and long 186,000 miles per second, in round numbers), it does not ago—compare them with pictures of galaxies nearby—very travel infi nitely fast. That means, while light travels, time recent—and see how galaxies and their stars are born, age, passes. The farther it travels, the more time passes. and die over time. They can learn how galaxies evolve.

The distance light can travel in one year is How Old Do I Look? called a light year. A light year is a very long distance: around 9 trillion kilometers (6 trillion miles). Can you tell how old something is just by looking at it? The squares on the next page contain pictures of Light travels in waves, similar to the way water waves old things, new things, and every age in between things. move through the ocean or sound waves move through Cut out the squares. For each row (A – F) of six pictures the air. Next time a fi re truck approaches with its siren from a single category, like nature or animals, arrange the blasting, listen closely. You will notice that the siren’s note objects by age, oldest on the left, youngest on the right. deepens a little just as the truck passes you. The note is Some things may be a little hard to compare, but make a lower because the sound waves are being stretched as the good guess anyway. At least be able to explain why your truck continues to move away from you. arrangement by age could be right! Compare your best guesses to ours on the answer page.

light wave

Space expanding STAR EARTH over time stretches light waves traveling through it. Light travels in waves, just as energy traveling through the ocean pushes the water into waves. But as light waves travel through space, they gradually get stretched out. That is because, along with the universe, space itself is expanding and stretching the distances between things.

EW-2009-12-042-JPL The Sun as a red giant SunThe Sunnow Now (5 billion years from now)

Sun now Mercury Venus Earth

The SunSun as as a aWhite white Dwarf dwarf (6 billion years from Now) (6 billion years from now)

In 5 billion years or so, the Sun will puff up and become a Eventually (after its red giant phase), the Sun will become red giant star, swallowing up Mercury and Venus. In this a white dwarf, about the same size as Earth, but hundreds picture, the of Mercury, Venus, and Earth compared of thousands of times more dense. The Sun’s diameter as to the size of the Sun as a red giant are to scale, but the a white dwarf will actually be about 110 times smaller sizes of the planets and of the Sun now are not to scale. than it is now. The Sun’s diameter as a red giant will be about 80 times larger than it is now. A Fight to the Finish The image of Jupiter’s Ghost on the front of the poster is from the Galaxy Evolution Explorer. The The nuclear reactions that are creating carbon and extended region around the planetary nebula shows in oxygen once again exert outward pressure and stop the dramatic detail in this image, induced by the white dwarf collapse of the core. But this time, the nuclear reactions to glow with ultraviolet light. Jupiter’s Ghost is about are very sensitive to temperature. If the temperature goes 1,400 light-years away in the constellation Hydra. up just a little, the nuclear reactions happen a lot faster, releasing a lot more energy, making the temperature go up Learn More About Galaxies, Ultraviolet even more. The star becomes very unstable. It begins to pulsate violently, as the gravitational and nuclear forces Light, and Nebulae GALEX Website, See into space. “Image Gallery.” As the gases are blown off, they form a cloud around Hubble Gallery of Planetary Nebula what is left of the star. As more of the star’s atmosphere Images: blows away, deeper and hotter layers of the star’s core are archive/releases/category/nebula/planetary. exposed. Finally, the surface of what is left of the star is so The Space Place, Under hot that it makes the cloud of gases around it glow. That “Projects,” see “Galactic Mobile” and “Galaxy Montage” activities. Under “Games,” see “How old glowing cloud of gas is what we call a planetary nebula. do I look?” What is left behind at the center is called a white Universe by Robin Kerrod, DK EYEWITNESS BOOKS, dwarf, made mostly of carbon and oxygen. It will 1st ed. (March 2003), ISBN: 0789492385 (ages eventually cool off and become more and more dense, 9-12). because there are no more nuclear reactions pushing Galaxies by Seymour Simon, Harper Trophy, Reprint ed., outward to counterbalance the gravitational forces that pull 1991, ISBN: 0688109926 (ages 9-12) inward. Finally, the white dwarf may have half the mass Our Galaxy and the Universe by Ken Gruan et al., Ken of the Sun contained in an object with the volume of Earth. Press, 2002, ISBN: 1928771084 (ages 9-12). (Today the Sun has a volume more than one million times Light, by David Burne. 1st ed., 2000, DK Publishing that of Earth!) (DK Eyewitness Books). ISBN: 0789467097, ages 9-12. The white dwarf will eventually cool off so much that Invisible Universe: The Electromagnetic Spectrum from it will no longer illuminate the gases of the nebula. We are Radio Waves to Rays : Grades 6-8, by Alan lucky to see planetary nebulae at all because they glow for Gould and Stephen Pompea. Published by LHS only a few tens of thousands of years, compared with the GEMS; Teacher edition (August 1, 2002). ISBN: lifetime of a typical star, which can be several billion years. 0924886692.

EW-2009-12-042-JPL 2 Jupiter’s Ghost: What is it?

The object shown on the front of this poster is This “Mountains of Creation” image Ghost,” because seen through an ordinary telescope in was captured by visible light, it does somewhat resemble the planet Jupiter. the Spitzer Space But even though this object and others like it are called Telescope in infrared planetary nebulae (pronounced NEB-u-lee), they really light. It reveals have nothing to do with planets. They got their name billowing mountains of dust ablaze with because they had a disk-like appearance similar to planets. formation. GALEX A planetary nebula is can see the new stars really a shell of glowing gas forming, because they glow brightly in ultraviolet (UV) and from a star at the light. However, the surrounding dust and gas clouds are end of its life. The star has cooler and not so visible to GALEX. blown off much of its material and what is left is a very compact object called a white A Tug of War dwarf. For a while, the white Planetary nebula JnEr1, A star is an as seen by GALEX. ! Ow! If not for dwarf is still hot and bright amazing balancing ! * * gravity, my head * * would explode! enough to make the material act between two huge * from the former star glow, and that is what we see as a forces. On the one beautiful nebula. Over 10,000 years or so, the gas will drift hand, the crushing Gravity Heat Gravity away and the white dwarf will cool so much that we can no force of the star’s own Pressure longer see the nebula. gravity tries to squeeze the stellar material This is what will happen into the smallest and to our Sun in about 5 billion tightest ball possible. years. What do you suppose But on the other hand, the force of the tremendous heat and our Sun’s nebula will look like to some distant alien tries to push all that material outward. astronomers? When the star has used up almost all of its hydrogen To understand what nuclear fuel (after several billion years), the outward happens to a star at the end pressure from the nuclear reactions is no longer able to of its life, we need to know counteract the gravity, and the core of the star collapses Planetary nebula A21, as something about the rest of a under its own weight, so to speak. As the core collapses, it seen by GALEX. star’s life, from birth, through gets even hotter. The outer layers of the star puff up from middle-age (our Sun’s stage of life now), and into its last this increased heat, but as the star puffs up, the outer layers stage of life. get cooler. The star is called a red giant at this point. How Does a Star Form? Our own Sun will become a red giant before it dies in about 5 billion years. It will be so large at this stage in its Stars are born where there are thick clouds of gas life that it will engulf the orbits of Mercury and Venus and (mostly hydrogen) and dust in space. Gravitational maybe even Earth. Even if Earth remains outside the Sun, attraction makes these materials clump together. The the oceans and the atmosphere will have boiled away and “clumped” object grows more and more massive as more nothing will be able to live on what will be a burnt cinder and more gas gets pulled in by the growing gravitational of rock. force. As the object becomes more massive, squeezed by tremendous gravitational forces, it becomes more dense But even as the outer layers puff up, the core of a red (compact). As it gets denser, it gets hotter and hotter. giant continues to contract and get even hotter. When the Eventually, if the giant gas ball gets massive enough and dense enough, the atoms of hydrogen gas will begin to the helium atoms fuse into carbon and oxygen atoms. It fuse together, creating helium atoms and igniting the is in the cores of dying stars that much of the carbon and oxygen atoms in ours bodies were made.

EW-2009-12-042-JPL Pages 4 and 5 may be downloaded at


A: Nature A: Nature A: Nature A: Nature A: Nature A: Nature

Earth Tree Galaxy Bee hive Mountain Flower B: Animals/ B: Animals B: Animals B: Animals B: Animals B: Animals

Baby Butterfly Milk cow Old man Giant tortoise Baby bird C: Transportation C: Transportation C: Transportation C: Transportation C: Transportation C: Transportation

Pegasus rocket Wright (launched GALEX brothers’ Volkswagen space telescope) Covered wagon First metal bike Viking ship airplane Beetle D: Communication D: Communication D: Communication D: Communication D: Communication D: Communication

Telephone Telephone Telephone (separate ear & (combined ear & GALEX ground (rotary dial) Cell phone mouth pieces) mouth pieces) station antenna Smoke signals E: Gone quickly E: Gone quickly E: Gone quickly E: Gone quickly E: Gone quickly E: Gone quickly

Birthday candle Cloud Soap bubble flame Flower Lightning Leaf F: “Imagers” F: “Imagers” F: “Imagers” F: “Imagers” F: “Imagers” F: “Imagers”

GALEX space Isaac Newton’s 35-millimeter telescope Box camera Telescope film camera Digital camera Cave painting

EW-2009-12-042-JPL ANSWERS! A A A A A A

Mountains can be This galaxy, M81, Trees can be This beehive is almost as old as is over 10 billion hundreds of years likely to be at least This daffodil looks Earth itself. Some years old. Picture old. This one looks a few days old. It very fresh, Earth is about 4-1/2 are just a few taken by the at least a few years could be older than probably just a day billion years old. million years old. GALEX telescope. old. the tree though! or two old. B B B B B B

Giant tortoises can Butterflies we see This little chick has Cows must bear a This baby is live from 150-200 are in the last part just hatched and is calf before they can crawling, so he is years! This one This man looks of their life cycle. still in his shell. It give milk. They are probably between may not be that old, about 80 or 90 This phase usually may be only a few usually at least two six months and one but it might be over lasts only about one minutes old. years old. year old. 100. years old. week. C C C C C C

The Pegasus rocket This ship might Covered wagons The first all-metal Wright brothers’ The last was first launched have been used by were used by the bicycle appeared in airplane flew Volkswagen Beetle from a big airplane the Viking warriors settlers of the 1870. Covered successfully in “love bug” was in 1990. It more than 1000 western U.S. during wagons were still in 1903. made in 1978. launched GALEX years ago. the 1800s. use though! in 2003. D D D D D D

This later model Native Americans has a rotary dial. This cell phone is “talked” by smoke This kind of This kind of rotary The ear and mouth one of the newest GALEX ground signals long before telephone phone appeared in pieces can be held models. May be stations in Hawaii Europeans arrived appeared during the the late 1950s. newer than in one hand. and Australia began in the 1600s. early 1900s. GALEX ground antenna. operating in 2002. E E E E E E

This dandelion How old is a cloud? This leaf (if it is This candle is very Up to 18 lightning doesn’t last long Clouds are always A bubble floating still on the tree) small so the flame bolts can strike in before it turns to a changing. But in the air is fragile could be several will burn for only a one second, so this puff of fuzzy seeds maybe it will look and usually pops in days or weeks old. the same to you for couple of minutes. one must be very that blow away. a few seconds. a few minutes. young indeed! F F F F F F

This “look through Digital cameras GALEX space Isaac Newton This box camera the lens” camera is like this are the telescope, launched Cave paintings date designed the first was probably made likely newer latest advance in in 2003, has very from over 15,000 reflecting telescope in the 1950s. than the box photography. First advanced imaging years ago. in 1672. camera. sold in the 1990s. instruments.

EW-2009-12-042-JPL GALEX: The Galaxy Evolution Explorer

GALEX (short for Galaxy GALEX is especially good at fi nding star Evolution Explorer) is a space nurseries—places where new stars are forming inside telescope orbiting Earth since galaxies. GALEX can see these hot, baby stars well, 2003. GALEX observes because they shine brightly in ultraviolet light. And galaxies in ultraviolet (UV) because GALEX does not see visible light, it is not light. Because Earth’s confused by the larger number of older stars. By studying atmosphere blocks most UV galaxies near and far away, especially those that glow light, GALEX must be above strongly in ultraviolet, scientists can understand better the atmosphere. where and how stars are formed, how galaxies come to be, and how galaxies change over cosmic time. GALEX is looking at tens of millions of galaxies spanning much of the universe. A galaxy is a grouping of stars, gas, dust, planets, moons, and various strange objects such as black holes all held together by gravity. All but a few stars in the universe live in galaxies. Our Sun is just one of at least 200 billion stars in our own Milky Way Galaxy. The entire universe probably contains over 100 billion galaxies. Stars, planets, galaxies, clouds of dust and gas, and other matter in space are sending out energy all the time. The beautiful (or M31) is the nearest This energy, called electromagnetic energy, travels large galaxy to our own Milky Way Galaxy. On the left is in waves. Like waves traveling through the ocean, Andromeda as it appears through a visible light telescope electromagnetic waves can be very long, very short, or (at a bit smaller scale). The image on the right was anything in between. made by GALEX, capturing Andromeda’s UV light. The Therefore, the light we see from the Sun and other star-forming regions in the spiral arms are quite clumpy stars—the visible light—tells only a small part of the story compared to the vast regions of old stars. (Visible light of the stars. To get the complete picture, we must extend image courtesy of John Gleason.) our vision to include other wavelengths or energies of GALEX can detect stars and galaxies that are about light. That is why scientists and engineers have invented 40 million times fainter than ones we can see with our different kinds of telescopes. For example, we have special unaided eyes from even the darkest skies here on Earth. telescopes for the long radio waves; special telescopes for GALEX is the fi rst mission to map most of the sky in UV the infrared waves that we cannot see but rather feel as light at a great enough distance to survey galaxies outside heat; and we have special telescopes such as GALEX for our own galaxy. Its all-sky map will also help astronomers detecting invisible ultraviolet waves. fi nd the most interesting looking galaxies for future study GALEX detects the UV light coming from nearly in detail using other telescopes. the farthest parts of the universe. Some of this light is The GALEX mission is managed by the Jet almost two-thirds as old as the universe itself, having taken Propulsion Laboratory and the California Institute of billions of years to reach us from the galaxies that were its Technology. source.

Radio MicrowaveInfrared Visible Ultraviolet X-ray Gamma Ray 4 2 -2 -5 -6 -8 -10 -12 1010 110 10 10 10 10 10 Wavelength in centimeters

About the size of...

Buildings Humans Bumble Bee Pinhead Protozoans Molecules Atoms Atomic Nuclei This material was contributed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, refl ecting research carried out under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. EW-2009-12-042-JPL