Spitzer Space Telescope: The Last Of NASA’s Great Observatories Program

It has not been more than a few years since the Spitzer Space Telescope that was once known as the Space Infrared Telescope Facility (SIRTF) has been sent into space. During its mission astronomers will be able to view images as well as spectra through detection by infrared energy, or heat radiated by objects out there in the great beyond that have wavelengths ranging from three and one hundred eighty microns, with a micron being not more than one millionth of a meter.

Reason Why We Need To Use An Infrared Telescope

The reason why NASA sent the Spitzer Space Telescope is to capture images that are not possible to be captured from Earth because its atmosphere blocks the infrared radiation. The Spitzer Space Telescope is the largest infrared telescope that has been launched into space thus far, and it has very sensitive instrumentations that allows astronomers to get a unique view of the Universe and gives viewing possibilities that are otherwise impossible to obtain using optical telescopes.

The main advantage of using the Spitzer Space Telescope is that there are a lot of dense clouds of gas and dust that block our view of space, which can only be overcome using infrared light. This telescope thus enables astronomers to view regions of star formation, galaxy centers, as well as view new formation of planetary systems. In addition, we can also find out about cooler objects in space like the more minute stars that are otherwise too dim to observe. The same applies for extra solar planets as well as huge molecular clouds.

In order for the Spitzer Space Telescope to use infrared radiation, it must first be cooled to minus 273 degrees Celsius, or near absolute zero before the infrared signals from outer space can be detected without being interfered by the telescope’s own heat. There is also need for the Spitzer Space Telescope to have protection from the Sun’s heat as well as from the infrared radiation of the Earth itself. Therefore, the telescope has a solar shield and the telescope is launched into an Earth-trailing solar orbit, which keeps the Spitzer far enough from the Earth so that it stays cool enough and does not require carrying cryogen, which is a coolant to stay cool. Such innovation has made the Spitzer Space Telescope considerably cheaper to successfully accomplish its mission as well.

The Spitzer Space Telescope is NASA’s Great Observatories Program’s last mission that forms a part of the four orbiting observatories that individually observer the Universe in varying kinds of light such as visible, gamma rays, X-rays and also infrared.