• IPAC

Cosmic dIRt/Gorjian


Cosmic dIRt is examining the Spitzer Enhanced Imaging Products catalog to find the most unusual and faintest infrared excess objects serendipitously detected by the Spitzer Space Telescope.


The presence of infrared excess can be used to guide astronomers towards a wide range of short-lived, evolutionary galactic and extragalactic phenomena, such as young stellar objects, planet-forming regions around main sequence stars, and active galactic nuclei. This study searches the Spitzer Enhanced Imaging Products (SEIP) Catalog for sources of infrared excess. The SEIP contains 42 million point sources obtained by the Spitzer Space Telescope during its 5-year cryogenic mission. The SEIP is a unique repository of high resolution infrared data containing measurement of millions of objects were captured serendipitously in the field of view of the intended targets and have never been analyzed. This study continues the work of two previous efforts using color selection to produce a catalog of sources of infrared excess that can be used by astronomers for follow-up analysis and observations aimed at improving our understanding of stellar and galactic evolution. In an effort to improve the robustness of the resulting catalog, this work will apply filtering options available in the SEIP that minimize contamination by nearby saturated sources and/or crowded fields. In addition, this research will focus on fainter sources (magnitude ≥ 8 at 24 μm), which should reveal a number of new sources of infrared excess not detectable by previous infrared surveys, such as the Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE).

Participant Educator


Participant Educator


Mr. Matt Nowinski

Loudoun County Public Schools, Ashburn, Virginia The Boeing Company, Washington, District of Columbia

Participant Educator


Ms. Alissa Sperling

Springside Chestnut Hill Academy, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania



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