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Spitzer

The Spitzer Space Telescope (formerly SIRTF, the Space Infrared Telescope Facility) was launched into space by a Delta rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida on 25 August 2003. During its mission, Spitzer will obtain images and spectra by detecting the infrared energy, or heat, radiated by objects in space between wavelengths of 3 and 180 microns (1 micron is one-millionth of a meter). Most of this infrared radiation is blocked by the Earth's atmosphere and cannot be observed from the ground.

Consisting of a 0.85-meter telescope and three cryogenically-cooled science instruments, Spitzer is the largest infrared telescope ever launched into space. Its highly sensitive instruments give us a unique view of the Universe and allow us to peer into regions of space which are hidden from optical telescopes. Many areas of space are filled with vast, dense clouds of gas and dust which block our view. Infrared light, however can penetrate these clouds, allowing us to peer into regions of star formation, the centers of galaxies, and into newly forming planetary systems. Infrared also brings us information about the cooler objects in space, such as smaller stars which are too dim to be detected by their visible light, extrasolar planets, and giant molecular clouds. Also, many molecules in space, including organic molecules, have their unique signatures in the infrared.

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James  Bauer
James Bauer
Asteroids, Comets & Satellites (3224)
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Amy  Mainzer
Amy Mainzer
Structure of the Universe (3266)
NEOWISE Principal Investigator
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Daniel  Stern
Daniel Stern
Structure of the Universe (3266)
NuSTAR Project Scientist
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Michael  Werner
Michael Werner
Directorate Science Affiliates
Project Scientist - Spitzer Space Telescope
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C. Darren Dowell
C. Darren Dowell
Interstellar and Heliospheric Physics (3263)
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Charles  Lawrence
Charles Lawrence
Directorate Science Affiliates
Chief Scientist for Astronomy and Physics (7X)
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Gary  Prezeau
Gary Prezeau
Origin of the Universe (3268)
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