NASA Bids Farewell to Spitzer Telescope After 16 Years of Service

James Marshall
January 31, 2020

NASA is ending observations with Spitzer after an overview by senior scientists in 2016 ranked the mission on the backside of a listing of six astrophysics missions reviewed by the unbiased panel.

Launched in 2003, the telescope was planned only for five years, but it lasted almost sixteen and a half years.

The James Webb orbiting telescope will also be used to observe space in the infrared spectrum starting in March 2021, although a recent report by the U.S. government Accountability Office said that it is highly probable that its launch will be delayed for "technical" reasons. NASA spent $ 1.36 billion on the project with the Spitzer Space Telescope during its entire tenure.

Orbiting the solar some 160 million miles (260 million kilometers) from Earth, Spitzer is within the closing days of a mission that started August 25, 2003, with a middle-of-the-night launch aboard a Delta 2 rocket from Cape Canaveral. Hertz said with "no guarantee" Spitzer would last until Webb's launch, the decision was made to shut it down now. Thanks to Spitzer, stunning images of the universe were also obtained. "This mission stays with you", Mr. Hunt said.

'Those are both areas where infrared observatories can see a lot of things that you can't see in other wavelengths'.

Still sending back breathtaking pictures, the Hubble Space Telescope rocketed into orbit in 1990 to observe the cosmos in visible and ultraviolet light; it will celebrate its 30th anniversary in April.

This scope focuses on infrared light, which can reveal different characteristics of the universe from normal "visible" light, including objects that are too cold to emit visible light such as exoplanets, brown dwarfs - star-like bodies with insufficient mass to actually shine - or the cold material that is present between the stars.

The most powerful and complex observatory ever built, James Webb Space Telescope is an important milestone for space exploration. The most probable theory is that there is a massive amount of gas and dust in the Tarantula Nebula that the region has become so condensed, enabling the huge stars to form. The infrared Spitzer also helped him to perform interstellar dust. And one of the greatest discoveries of the "Spitzer" - the discovery of the giant rings of Saturn, which was previously invisible.

However, to view the cold Universe, the telescope must be cooled so that the heat of the case do not interfere with the observations.

Spitzer's initial huge goal was prolonged 5 times, after it exhausted its shop of coolant - particularly fluid helium - in 2009. However, in 2009, the evaporated coolant, which caused its heating and the unit was no longer able to conduct accurate observations and conducted observations in "gentle" mode.

We will remind that earlier scientists considered the Sun's surface is "near".

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