Spitzer Space Telescope

By Jonathan Fields and Haylee DS

Location

SPACE


Heliocentric Orbit

Orbiting the Sun and drifting away from the Earth at a rate of .1 AU per year.

Electromagnetic Spectrum

The Spitzer Space Telescope captures various wavelengths of infrared radiation.


(3.6 µm, 4.5 µm, 5.8 µm and 8 µm).

The Telescope and Its History

The Spitzer telescope is made of two parts, the spacecraft and the telescope. There is only one telescope.


The telescope contains the instruments, including the many infrared cameras on board and the cryogrenic chamber which contains liquid helium. The telescope must remain at temperatures averaging around 5.5 K (-459 degrees Fahrenheit) in order for many of the cameras and instruments to capture the slight variances in infrared.


The spacecraft portion contains the equipment used to collect the data from the telescope's cameras, to communicate with various stations around Earth, and regulate the temperature inside both the telescope as well as inside the spacecraft, which must remain at near room temperature in order for the instruments to remain functioning.


The telescope was launched in 2003, and ran out of coolant in 2009. The two shortest avelength modules of the IRAC camera are still operable, so the Spitzer is still collecting a and is somewhat functional.

Major Discoveries

Discovered a young star with a "hula hoop." It blinks once every 93 days.


Observed the gas emissions from the comet ISON.


[10 days ago] Discovered what was thought to be a lone asteroid meandering through space is actually a comet with direction.

Site

The Spitzer is in space, thus it is the best site for an 'observatory.'

Current Research and Improvements

It is still orbiting the sun and sending informatino back, so no improvements have been made lately. It is constantly collecting data to send back for research.

Data Collection and Use

The Spitzer has infared cameras to take pictures and the spacecraft sends the data back to Earth for scientists.

A thank you to nasa.gov for all of the information!