NASA & # 39; s Spitzer Space Telescope still goes into space after 15 years



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<img data-attachment-id = "85503" data-permalink = "http://www.clarksvilleonline.com/2011/08/05/salt-water-may-flow-on-mars/nasa-2/" data -orig-file = "http://www.clarksvilleonline.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/NASA.jpg" data-orig-size = "200,165" data-comments-opened = "1" data- image-meta = "{" opening ":" 0 "," credit ":" "," camera ":" "," title ":" "," created_timestamp ":" 0 "," copyright ":" ", "focal_length": "0", "iso": "0", "shutter_speed": "0", "title": ""} "data-image-title =" NASA – National Aeronautics and Space Administration "data-image -description = "

NASA logo – National Aeronautics and Space Administration

"data-medium-file =" http://www.clarksvilleonline.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/NASA.jpg "data-large-file =" http://www.clarksvilleonline.com/wp -content / uploads / 2011/08 / NASA.jpg "class =" alignleft size-full wp-image-85503″ title=”NASA – National Aeronautics and Space Administration "src =" http://www.clarksvilleonline.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/NASA.jpg "alt =" NASA – National Aeronautics and Space Administration "width =" 200 "height =" 165 "/>Pasadena, CA – Originally planned for a minimum primary mission of 2.5 years, the Spitzer Space Telescope of NASA has lasted much longer than expected – and after 15 years still strong.

On August 25, 2003, launched in orbit around the earth, Spitzer was the final of the four major observatories of NASA to reach space. The space telescope has illuminated some of the oldest galaxies in the universe, unveiled a new ring around Saturn and looked out through dust banks to study newborn stars and black holes.

<img data-attachment-id = "431548" data-permalink = "http://www.clarksvilleonline.com/2018/08/24/nasas-spitzer-space-telescope-still-going-after-15-years- in-space / nasas-spitzer-space-telescope-still-after-15-year-in-space / "data-orig-file =" http://www.clarksvilleonline.com/wp-content/uploads/ 2018 / 08 / NASAs-Spitzer-Space-Telescope-still-after-15-Years-in-Space.jpg "data-orig-size =" 1024.768 "data-comments-opened =" 1 "data-image-meta = "{" opening ":" 0 "," credit ":" "," camera ":" "," title ":" "," created_timestamp ":" 0 "," copyright ":" "," focal_length ": "0", "iso": "0", "shutter_speed": "0", "title": "", "orientation": "1"} "data-image-title =" This image shows an artistic impression of Spitzer Space Telescope The background shows an infrared image of Spitzer from the plane of the Milky Way Galaxy (NASA / JPL) "data-image-description ="

This image shows an artist's impression of the Spitzer Space Telescope. The background shows an infrared image of Spitzer from the plane of the Milky Way. (NASA / JPL)

"data-medium-file =" http://www.clarksvilleonline.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/NASAs-Spitzer-Space-Telescope-still-going-after-15-Years-in-Space- 480×360.jpg "data-large-file =" http://www.clarksvilleonline.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/NASAs-Spitzer-Space-Telescope-still-going-after-15-Years-in -Space.jpg "class =" size-medium wp-image-431548″ title=”This image shows an artist's impression of the Spitzer Space Telescope. The background shows an infrared image of Spitzer from the plane of the Milky Way. (NASA / JPL) "src =" http://www.clarksvilleonline.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/NASAs-Spitzer-Space-Telescope-still-going-after-15-Years-in-Space -480×360.jpg "alt =" This image shows an artist's impression of the Spitzer Space Telescope. The background shows an infrared image of Spitzer from the plane of the Milky Way. (NASA / JPL) "width =" 480 "height =" 360 "srcset =" http://www.clarksvilleonline.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/NASAs-Spitzer-Space-Telescope-still-going -na-15-Years-in-Space-480×360.jpg 480w, http://www.clarksvilleonline.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/NASAs-Spitzer-Space-Telescope-still-going-after- 15-Years-in-Space-200×150.jpg 200w, http://www.clarksvilleonline.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/NASAs-Spitzer-Space-Telescope-still-going-after-15-Years -in-Space-768×576.jpg 768w, http://www.clarksvilleonline.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/NASAs-Spitzer-Space-Telescope-still-going-after-15-Years-in- Space.jpg 1024w "sizes =" (max-width: 480px) 100vw, 480px "/>

This image shows an artist's impression of the Spitzer Space Telescope. The background shows an infrared image of Spitzer from the plane of the Milky Way. (NASA / JPL)

Spitzer assisted in the discovery of planets outside our solar system, including the detection of seven planets in full size around orbit around the star TRAPPIST-1, in addition to other achievements.

"In his 15 years of operations, Spitzer has opened our eyes to new ways to view the universe," said Paul Hertz, director of the Astrophysics Division at NASA headquarters in Washington. "Spitzer's discoveries range from our own planetary backyard, to planets around other stars, to the far reaches of the universe, and by collaborating with NASA's other Great Observatories, Spitzer has helped scientists get a more complete picture to get from many cosmic phenomena. "

A look into the past

Spitzer detects infrared light – usually heat radiation emitted by warm objects. Infrared light is used on earth in a variety of applications, including night vision instruments.

<img data-attachment-id = "374462" data-permalink = "http://www.clarksvilleonline.com/2017/02/23/nasas-spitzer-space-telescope-discover-star-seven-earth-sized- planets-orbit / nasas-spitzer-space-telescope-discover-star-with-seven-earth-sized-planets-in-orbit-3 / "data-orig-file =" http://www.clarksvilleonline.com/ wp-content / uploads / 2017/02 / NASAs-Spitzer-Space-Telescope-discover-Star-with-Seven-Earth-Sized-Planets-in-Orbit-3.jpg "data-orig-size =" 1200.600 "data -comments-opened = "1" data-image-meta = "{" aperture ":" 0 "," credit ":" "," camera ":" "," caption ":" "," created_timestamp ":" 0 "," copyright ":" "," FOCAL_LENGTH ":" 0 "," iso ":" 0 "," shutter_speed ":" 0 "," title ":" "," orientation ":" 1 "}" data-image-title = "The concept of this artist shows what the TRAPPIST-1 planetary system can look like, based on available data on the diameters, masses and distances of planets of the planetary star (NASA / JPL-Caltech) "data-image-description ="

The concept of this artist shows what the TRAPPIST-1 planetary system can look like, based on available data about the diameters, masses and distances of the host of the planets. (NASA / JPL-Caltech)

"data-medium-file =" http://www.clarksvilleonline.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/NASAs-Spitzer-Space-Telescope-discover-Star-with-Seven-Earth-Sized-Planets- in-Orbit-3-480×240.jpg "data-large-file =" http://www.clarksvilleonline.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/NASAs-Spitzer-Space-Telescope-discover-Star-with -Seven-Earth-Sized-Planets-in-Orbit-3.jpg "class =" size-medium wp-image-374462″ title=”The concept of this artist shows what the TRAPPIST-1 planetary system can look like, based on available data about the diameters, masses and distances of the host of the planets. (NASA / JPL-Caltech) "src =" http://www.clarksvilleonline.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/NASAs-Spitzer-Space-Telescope-discover-Star-with-Seven-Earth-Sized -Planets-in-Orbit-3-480×240.jpg "alt =" The concept of this artist shows what the TRAPPIST-1 planetary system can look like, based on available data on the diameters, masses and distances of the host of the planets. (NASA / JPL-Caltech) "width =" 480 "height =" 240 "srcset =" http://www.clarksvilleonline.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/NASAs-Spitzer-Space-Telescope-Reception -Star-with-Seven-Earth-Sized-Planets-in-Orbit-3-480×240.jpg 480w, http://www.clarksvilleonline.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/NASAs-Spitzer-Space- Telescope-discover Star-with-Seven-Earth-Sized-Planets-in-Orbit-3-200×100.jpg 200w, http://www.clarksvilleonline.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/NASAs-Spitzer – Space-telescope-discover Star-with-Seven-Earth-Sized-Planets-in-Orbit-3-768×384.jpg 768w, http://www.clarksvilleonline.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/ NASAs- Spitzer-Space-Telescope-discover-Star-with-Seven-Earth-Sized-Planets-in-Orbit-3.jpg 1200w "sizes =" (max-width: 480px) 100vw, 480px "/>

The concept of this artist shows what the TRAPPIST-1 planetary system can look like, based on available data about the diameters, masses and distances of the host of the planets. (NASA / JPL-Caltech)

With its infrared vision and high sensitivity, Spitzer has contributed to the study of some of the most distant galaxies in the known universe. The light of some of those galaxies traveled 13.4 billion years to reach the earth. As a result, scientists see these galaxies as they were less than 400 million years after the birth of the universe.

Under this population of ancient galaxies was a surprise for scientists: "big baby" galaxies that were much larger and more mature than scientists thought galaxies that might occur at an early stage might be. Large, modern galaxies are formed by the gradual amalgamation of smaller galaxies. But the "big baby" galaxies showed that vast collections of stars converged very early in the history of the universe.

Studies of these very distant galaxies were based on data from both Spitzer and the Hubble Space Telescope, another one from NASA's Great Observatories. Each of the four Great Observatories collects light in a different wavelength range. By combining their observations of different objects and areas, scientists can get a more complete picture of the universe.

"The Great Observatories program was really a brilliant concept," said Michael Werner, project scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. "The idea of ​​obtaining multispectral images or data on astrophysical phenomenon is very convincing because most celestial bodies produce radiation over the entire spectrum – for example, an average galaxy like our own galaxy emits as much infrared light as visible wavelength light. spectrum offers new information. "

New worlds

In recent years, scientists have used Spitzer to study exoplanets or planets in orbit other stars than our sun, although this was not expected by the telescope's designers.

With the help of Spitzer, researchers have studied planets with surfaces as hot as stars, others thought they were frozen and many in between. Spitzer has studied some of the closest known exoplanets to Earth and some of the most distant exoplanets have ever been discovered.

Spitzer also played a key role in one of the most important exoplanet discoveries in history: the detection of seven, about planets of terrestrial planets in orbit around a single star. The TRAPPIST-1 planetary system was different from any alien solar system that was ever discovered, with three of its seven planets in the & # 39; habitable zone & # 39 ;, where the temperature might be good for the existence of liquid water at the surfaces of the planets. Their discovery was a tempting step in the search for life elsewhere in the universe.

"The study of extrasolar planets was still in its infancy when Spitzer was launched, but in recent years more than half of Spitzer's observation time has often been used for research into exoplanets or searches for exoplanets," says Lisa Storrie-Lombardi, project manager from Spitzer at JPL. "Spitzer is very good at characterizing exoplanets, even though it was not designed to do that."

Some other important discoveries made with the Spitzer Space Telescope are:

– The largest known ring around Saturn, a wispy, fine structure with 300 times the diameter of Saturn.

– First exoplanet weather map of temperature variations over the surface of a gas exoplanet. The results suggested the presence of strong wind.

– Asteroid and planetary smashups. Spitzer has found evidence for various rocky collisions in other solar systems, one of which thought to have two large asteroids.

– Recipe for "comets soup." Spitzer observed the aftermath of the collision between NASA's Deep Impact spacecraft and comet Temple 1, and discovered that comet material in our own solar system resembles that around nearby stars.

– The hidden shelters of newborn stars. Spitzer's infrared images offer an unprecedented view of the hidden cradles where young stars grow up, which revolutionizes our understanding of the birth of a star.

– Buckyballs in space. Buckyballs are football-ball shaped carbon molecules discovered in laboratory research with multiple technological applications on earth ..

– Huge clusters of galaxies. Spitzer has identified many more distant clusters of galaxies than previously known.

– One of the most comprehensive maps of the Milky Way galaxy ever assembled, including the most accurate map of the large beam with stars in the center of the Milky Way, made with Spitzer data from the Galactic Legacy Mid-Plane Survey Extraordinaire project or GLIMPSE.

An extensive journey

Spitzer has registered 106 people,000 hours of observation time. Thousands of scientists around the world have used Spitzer data in their studies and Spitzer data are cited in more than 8,000 published articles.

Spitzer's primary mission ended 5,5 years, during which time the spacecraft worked in a "cold phase" with a supply of liquid helium that cooled three instruments on board to just above absolute zero. The cooling system reduced excess heat from the instruments themselves that could pollute their observations. This gave Spitzer a very high sensitivity to "cold" objects.

In July 2009, after Spitzer's helium supply ran out, the spacecraft entered a so-called "warm phase". Spitzer's main instrument, the infrared array camera (IRAC), has four cameras, two of which continue to operate in the warm phase with the same sensitivity they maintained during the cold phase.

Spitzer orbits the orbit around the earth (which means that it literally runs behind the earth while the planet revolves around the sun) and has fallen further and further behind the earth during its lifetime. This is now a challenge for the spacecraft, because during the downloading of data to the earth, the solar panels are not directly directed towards the sun. As a result, Spitzer must use battery power during data downloads. The batteries are then charged between downloads.

"Spitzer is further away from the earth than we ever thought it would be while it was still in operation," said Sean Carey, manager of the Spitzer Science Center at Caltech in Pasadena, California. "This has given the engineering team a number of real challenges, and they have been extremely creative and inventive to make Spitzer work well beyond its expected lifetime."

In 2016 Spitzer participated in an extensive mission with the name "Spitzer Beyond." The spacecraft is currently scheduled to continue operations until November 2019, more than 10 years after the start of the warm phase.

On the occasion of Spitzer's 15 years in space, NASA has released two new multimedia products: the NASA Selfies app for iOS and Android, and the Exoplanet Excursions VR Experience for Oculus and Vive, as well as a 360 video version for smartphones. . Spitzer's incredible discoveries and stunning images are central to these new products.

JPL manages the Spitzer Space Telescope mission for NASA's Directorate for Science Mission in Washington. Science operations are performed at the Spitzer Science Center at Caltech in Pasadena, California. Spacecraft operations are based on Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, Littleton, Colorado. Data is archived in the Infrared Science Archive hosted at the IPAC on Caltech. Caltech manages JPL for NASA.

For more information about Spitzer, go to:

https://spitzer.caltech.edu

https://www.nasa.gov/spitzer

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Asteroids, black holes, Caltech, Milky Way, NASA, NASA headquarters, NASA's Deep Impact Spacecraft, NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, NASA's Directorate for Scientific Missions, NASA's Spitzer- Space Telescope, National Aviation and Space Administration, Pasadena CA, Planets, Saturn, Solar System, Space, Sun, TRAPPIST-1, Washington DC





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