The Spitzer Space Telescope is a space-borne, cryogenically-cooled infrared observatory. It can study objects ranging from our Solar System to the far reaches of the universe.
This telescope is a part of NASA’s Great Observatories Program. It is the size of a car. It is orbiting 26 million miles from earth. The telescope was named after Lyman Spitzer who was the first to suggest launching a large telescope into space.
It is the only space observatory of the Great Observatories Program to not be launched by the Space Shuttle. It was launched by a Delta rocket.
Quick Facts: –
- After being launched on August 25, 2003, this observatory began operating the same year.
- The telescope was estimated to survive 2.5 years but it survived more than 5 years.
- In 2007, the telescope was able to capture light images of planets outside of our Solar System for the first time.
- This telescope is approximately 13 feet tall and weighs about 2100 pounds.
- Initially, the Spitzer Space Telescope was named the Space Infrared Telescope Facility.
- It is built around an all-beryllium 85-cm (33-inch) primary mirror that focuses infrared light.
- The infrared light is focused on three instruments: a general-purpose near-infrared camera, a spectrograph and an imaging photometer.
- The other three elements in NASA’s family of orbiting ‘Great Observatories’ are the Hubble Space Telescope, the Compton Gamma-Ray Observatory and the Chandra X-Ray Observatory.
- This telescope had completed all of its ht missions in 2009.