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  • richardmitnick 4:37 pm on August 6, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    From NASA Spitzer: “Dark Globule in IC 1396″ 



    Spitzer

    12.18.03 [Oldie, but a goodie]

    NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope has captured a glowing stellar nursery within a dark globule that is opaque at visible light. These new images pierce through the obscuration to reveal the birth of new protostars, or embryonic stars, and young stars never before seen.

    http://www.spitzer.caltech.edu/uploaded_files/graphics/fullscreen_graphics/0009/2085/ssc2003-06b_Sm.jpg
    Credit NASA/JPL-Caltech/W. Reach (SSC/Caltech)
    Release Date 2003-12-18

    The Elephant’s Trunk Nebula is an elongated dark globule within the emission nebula IC 1396 in the constellation of Cepheus. Located at a distance of 2,450 light-years, the globule is a condensation of dense gas that is barely surviving the strong ionizing radiation from a nearby massive star. The globule is being compressed by the surrounding ionized gas.

    The large composite image on the left is a product of combining data from the observatory’s multiband imaging photometer and the infrared array camera. The thermal emission at 24 microns measured by the photometer (red) is combined with near-infrared emission from the camera at 3.6/4.5 microns (blue) and from 5.8/8.0 microns (green). The colors of the diffuse emission and filaments vary, and are a combination of molecular hydrogen (which tends to be green) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (brown) emissions.

    Within the globule, a half dozen newly discovered protostars are easily discernible as the bright red-tinted objects, mostly along the southern rim of the globule. These were previously undetected at visible wavelengths due to obscuration by the thick cloud (‘globule body’) and by dust surrounding the newly forming stars. The newborn stars form in the dense gas because of compression by the wind and radiation from a nearby massive star (located outside the field of view to the left). The winds from this unseen star are also responsible for producing the spectacular filamentary appearance of the globule itself, which resembles that of a flying dragon.

    The Spitzer Space Telescope also sees many newly discovered young stars, often enshrouded in dust, which may be starting the nuclear fusion that defines a star. These young stars are too cool to be seen at visible wavelengths. Both the protostars and young stars are bright in the mid-infrared because of their surrounding discs of solid material. A few of the visible-light stars in this image were found to have excess infrared emission, suggesting they are more mature stars surrounded by primordial remnants from their formation, or from crumbling asteroids and comets in their planetary systems.”

    See the full article here.

    The Spitzer Space Telescope is a NASA mission managed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory located on the campus of the California Institute of Technology and part of NASA’s Infrared Processing and Analysis Center.
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  • richardmitnick 1:24 pm on August 5, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    From NASA Spitzer: “Star Formation in Henize 206 



    Spitzer

    “Within the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), a nearby and irregularly-shaped galaxy seen in the Southern Hemisphere, lies a star-forming region heavily obscured by interstellar dust. NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope has used its infrared eyes to poke through the cosmic veil to reveal a striking nebula where the entire lifecycle of stars is seen in splendid detail.

    lmc

    The LMC is a small satellite galaxy gravitationally bound to our own Milky Way. Yet the gravitational effects are tearing the companion to shreds in a long-playing drama of ‘intergalactic cannibalism.’ These disruptions lead to a recurring cycle of star birth and star death.

    Astronomers are particularly interested in the LMC because its fractional content of heavy metals is two to five times lower than is seen in our solar neighborhood. [In this context, heavy elements refer to those elements not present in the primordial universe. Such elements as carbon, oxygen and others are produced by nucleosynthesis and are ejected into the interstellar medium via mass loss by stars, including supernova explosions.] As such, the LMC provides a nearby cosmic laboratory that may resemble the distant universe in its chemical composition.

    The primary Spitzer image, showing the wispy filamentary structure of Henize 206, is a four-color composite mosaic created by combining data from an infrared array camera (IRAC) at near-infrared wavelengths and the mid-infrared data from a multiband imaging photometer (MIPS). Blue represents invisible infrared light at wavelengths of 3.6 and 4.5 microns. Note that most of the stars in the field of view radiate primarily at these short infrared wavelengths. Cyan denotes emission at 5.8 microns, green depicts the 8.0 micron light, and red is used to trace the thermal emission from dust at 24 microns. The separate instrument images are included as insets to the main composite.

    An inclined ring of emission dominates the central and upper regions of the image. This delineates a bubble of hot, x-ray emitting gas that was blown into space when a massive star died in a supernova explosion millions of years ago. The shock waves from that explosion impacted a cloud of nearby hydrogen gas, compressed it, and started a new generation of star formation. The death of one star led to the birth of many new stars. This is particularly evident in the MIPS inset, where the 24-micron emission peaks correspond to newly formed stars. The ultraviolet and visible-light photons from the new stars are absorbed by surrounding dust and re-radiated at longer infrared wavelengths, where it is detected by Spitzer.

    This emission nebula was cataloged by Karl Henize (HEN-eyes) while spending 1948-1951 in South Africa doing research for his Ph.D. dissertation at the University of Michigan. Henize later became a NASA astronaut and, at age 59, became the oldest rookie to fly on the Space Shuttle during an eight-day flight of the Challenger in 1985. He died just short of his 67th birthday in 1993 while attempting to climb the north face of Mount Everest, the world’s highest peak.”

    See the full article here.

    The Spitzer Space Telescope is a NASA mission managed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory located on the campus of the California Institute of Technology and part of NASA’s Infrared Processing and Analysis Center.
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  • richardmitnick 7:04 pm on July 31, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    From NASA Spitzer, Old but incredible: ” Rosebud of a Reflection Nebula” 



    Spitzer

    02.12.04

    “A cluster of newborn stars herald their birth in this interstellar Valentine’s Day commemorative picture obtained with NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope. These bright young stars are found in a rosebud-shaped (and rose-colored) nebulosity known as NGC 7129. The star cluster and its associated nebula are located at a distance of 3300 light-years in the constellation Cepheus.

    ngc
    NGC 7129
    Observers Tom Megeath (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics) Rob Gutermuth (University of Rochester) James Muzerolle (Steward Observatory/University of Arizona) Lori Allen (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics) Judy Pipher (University of Rochester) Phil Myers (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics)

    A recent census of the cluster reveals the presence of 130 young stars. The stars formed from a massive cloud of gas and dust that contains enough raw materials to create a thousand Sun-like stars. In a process that astronomers still poorly understand, fragments of this molecular cloud became so cold and dense that they collapsed into stars. Most stars in our Milky Way galaxy are thought to form in such clusters.

    The Spitzer Space Telescope image was obtained with an infrared array camera that is sensitive to invisible infrared light at wavelengths that are about ten times longer than visible light. In this four-color composite, emission at 3.6 microns is depicted in blue, 4.5 microns in green, 5.8 microns in orange, and 8.0 microns in red. The image covers a region that is about one quarter the size of the full moon.

    Not all stars are formed in clusters. Away from the main nebula and its young cluster are two smaller nebulae, to the left and bottom of the central “rosebud,” each containing a stellar nursery with only a few young stars.

    Astronomers believe that our own Sun may have formed billions of years ago in a cluster similar to NGC 7129. Once the radiation from new cluster stars destroys the surrounding placental material, the stars begin to slowly drift apart.”

    See the full article here.

    The Spitzer Space Telescope is a NASA mission managed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory located on the campus of the California Institute of Technology and part of NASA’s Infrared Processing and Analysis Center.
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  • richardmitnick 4:52 am on July 27, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    From NASA Spitzer: “NASA’s Spitzer Puts Planets in a Petri Dish” 



    Spitzer

    “Our galaxy is teeming with a wild variety of planets. In addition to our solar system’s eight near-and-dear planets, there are more than 800 so-called exoplanets known to circle stars beyond our sun. One of the first “species” of exoplanets to be discovered is the hot Jupiters, also known as roasters. These are gas giants like Jupiters, but they orbit closely to their stars, blistering under the heat.

    petri

    Thanks to NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope, researchers are beginning to dissect this exotic class of planets, revealing raging winds and other aspects of their turbulent nature. A twist to come out of the recent research is the planets’ wide range of climates. Some are covered with a haze, while others are clear. Their temperature profiles, chemistries and densities differ as well.
    ‘The hot Jupiters are beasts to handle. They are not fitting neatly into our models and are more diverse than we thought,’ said Nikole Lewis of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, lead author of a new Spitzer paper in the Astrophysical Journal examining one such hot Jupiter called HAT-P-2b. ‘We are just starting to put together the puzzle pieces of what’s happening with these planets, and we still don’t know what the final picture will be.’

    hat
    Size comparison of HAT-P-2b with Jupiter.

    The very first exoplanet discovered around a sun-like star was, in fact, a hot Jupiter, called 51 Pegasi b. It was detected in 1995 by Swiss astronomers using the radial velocity technique, which measures the wobble of a star caused by the tug of a planet. Because hot Jupiters are heavy and whip around their stars quickly, they are the easiest to find using this strategy. Dozens of hot Jupiter discoveries soon followed. At first, researchers thought they might represent a more common configuration for other planetary systems in our galaxy beyond our own solar system. But new research, including that from NASA’s Kepler space telescope, has shown that they are relatively rare.

    peg
    51 Pegasi b by Celestia

    In 2005, scientists were thrilled when Spitzer became the first telescope to detect light emitted by an exoplanet. Spitzer monitored the infrared light coming from a star and its planet — a hot Jupiter — as the planet disappeared behind the star in an event known as a secondary eclipse. Once again, this technique works best for hot Jupiters, because they are the biggest and hottest planets.

    In addition to watching hot Jupiters slip behind their stars, researchers also use Spitzer to monitor the planets as they orbit all the way around a star. This allows them to create global climate maps, revealing how the planets’ atmospheres vary from their hot, sun-facing sides to their cooler, night sides, due in part to fierce winds. (Hot Jupiters are frequently tidally locked, with one side always facing the star, just as our moon is locked to Earth.)

    Since that first observation, Spitzer has probed the atmospheres of dozens of hot Jupiters, and some even smaller planets, uncovering clues about their composition and climate.

    ‘When Spitzer launched in 2003, we had no idea it would prove to be a giant in the field of exoplanet science,’ said Michael Werner, the Spitzer project scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. ‘Now, we’re moving farther into the field of comparative planetary science, where we can look at these objects as a class, and not just as individuals.'”

    See the full article here.

    [We need to remember, Spitzer’s telescope is 85 centimeters. Webb’s telescope will be 6.5 meters, which is larger than many ground based telescopes, and almost 8 times as large at Spitzer’s.]

    The Spitzer Space Telescope is a NASA mission managed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory located on the campus of the California Institute of Technology and part of NASA’s Infrared Processing and Analysis Center.
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  • richardmitnick 3:27 pm on July 26, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    From NASA Spitzer: “A Confetti-Like Collection of Stars” 



    Spitzer

    04.03.13

    It’s like a disco wonderland for stars. The tip of the “wing” of the Small Magellanic Cloud galaxy is dazzling in pink and purples in a new view from NASA’s Great Observatories. The Small Magellanic Cloud is a small galaxy about 200,000 light-years away from own Milky Way spiral galaxy.

    ring

    The colors represent wavelengths of light across a broad spectrum. X-rays from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory are shown in purple; visible-light from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope is colored red, green and blue; and infrared observations from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope are also represented in red.

    The gem of a spiral galaxy seen in the lower corner is actually behind this nebula. Other distant galaxies located hundreds of millions of light-years or more away can be seen sprinkled around the edge of the image.

    The three telescopes highlight different aspects of this lively stellar community. Winds and radiation from massive stars located in the central, disco-ball-like cluster of stars, called NGC 602a, have swept away surrounding material, clearing an opening in the star-forming cloud.

    Chandra reveals X-rays that seem to be coming largely from low-mass young stars in the central cluster. These stars were picked out previously by infrared and optical surveys, using Spitzer and Hubble respectively.

    A new study based on Chandra observations and published in the Astrophysical Journal suggests that the X-ray properties of these young stars are similar to others in different environments. This, in turn, suggests that other related properties — including the formation and evolution of disks where planets form — are also likely to be similar.”

    See the full article here.

    The Spitzer Space Telescope is a NASA mission managed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory located on the campus of the California Institute of Technology and part of NASA’s Infrared Processing and Analysis Center.
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  • richardmitnick 3:14 pm on July 26, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    From NASA Spitzer: “Bubbles Within Bubbles” 



    Spitzer

    This infrared image shows a striking example of what is called a hierarchical bubble structure, in which one giant bubble, carved into the dust of space by massive stars, has triggered the formation of smaller bubbles. The large bubble takes up the central region of the picture while the two spawned bubbles, which can be seen in yellow, are located within its rim.

    bubble

    NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope took this image in infrared light. The multiple bubble family was found by volunteers participating in the Milky Way Project (see http://www.milkywayproject.org). This citizen science project, a part of the Zooniverse group, allows anybody with a computer and an Internet connection to help astronomers sift through Spitzer images in search of bubbles blown into the fabric of our Milky Way galaxy.

    The bubbles are formed by radiation and winds from massive stars, which carve out holes within surrounding dust clouds. As the material is swept away, it is thought to sometimes trigger the formation of new massive stars, which in turn, blow their own bubbles.

    The images in the Milky Way project are from Spitzer’s Galactic Legacy Infrared Mid-Plane Survey Extraordinaire, or Glimpse, project, which is mapping the plane of our galaxy from all directions. As of June 2013, 130 degrees of the sky have been released. The full 360-degree view, which includes the outer reaches of our galaxy located away from its center, is expected soon.”

    See the full article here.

    The Spitzer Space Telescope is a NASA mission managed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory located on the campus of the California Institute of Technology and part of NASA’s Infrared Processing and Analysis Center.
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  • richardmitnick 11:16 am on July 4, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    Learn About the Spitzer Infrared Space Telescope 



    Spitzer

    Watch this video to learn a lot about NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope.

    The Spitzer Space Telescope is a NASA mission managed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory located on the campus of the California Institute of Technology and part of NASA’s Infrared Processing and Analysis Center.
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  • richardmitnick 3:55 pm on March 2, 2012 Permalink | Reply
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    From NASA Spitzer: “Spitzer Telescope Finds Hidden Jet” Wow!! 



    Spitzer

    “NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope took this image of a baby star sprouting two identical jets (green lines emanating from fuzzy star). The jet on the right had been seen before in visible-light views, but the jet at left — the identical twin to the first jet — could only be seen in detail with Spitzer’s infrared detectors. The left jet was hidden behind a dark cloud, which Spitzer can see through.

    ii
    Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

    The twin jets, in a system called Herbig-Haro 34, are made of identical knots of gas and dust, ejected one after another from the area around the star. By studying the spacing of these knots, and knowing the speed of the jets from previous studies, astronomers were able to determine that the jet to the right of the star punches its material out 4.5 years later than the counter-jet.”

    See the original article here.

    The Spitzer Space Telescope is a NASA mission managed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory located on the campus of the California Institute of Technology and part of NASA’s Infrared Processing and Analysis Center.
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  • richardmitnick 3:22 pm on November 23, 2011 Permalink | Reply
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    From NASA Spitzer: “Doubling Up on the Southern Pinwheel Galaxy” 


    Spitzer

    i1

    Have you ever wondered what the Milky Way galaxy would look like if we could warp into intergalactic space and look back at it from the outside? These two infrared views of Messier 83 from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope may give us a clue.

    Spitzer’s double-take shows us two different ways of representing the infrared colors in this spectacular spiral galaxy. For one thing, it’s easy to see why colloquially it is known as the “Southern Pinwheel” due to its striking whirl that is very similar to the more northerly “Pinwheel” galaxy Messier 101.

    Like the Milky Way, Messier 83 is classified as a barred spiral galaxy due to the bar-like pattern of stars that run through its center. This bar region is more interesting in the infrared since we can also see the open “s” shaped curve of dust cutting through the more linear stellar bar.

    This arc of inner dust connects up with the more tightly wound spiral arms in the outer disk, seen here as bright green-red ridges. Some of the hottest regions of star formation show up as reddish-white dots along the spiral arms, with the most vigorous star formation happening in the galaxy’s center. Between the main spiral arms we also see a complex webbing of dust that permeates the entire disk.”

    Spitzer is one of the great assets in the NASA family.

    This article is here.

    The Spitzer Space Telescope is a NASA mission managed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory located on the campus of the California Institute of Technology and part of NASA’s Infrared Processing and Analysis Center.
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  • richardmitnick 4:49 pm on April 17, 2011 Permalink | Reply
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    NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope 

    The telescopes of the National Aeronautics and Space Agency have given us unquestionably more information about the universe than we could ever have imagined.

    Here is just a glimpse of Spitzer, one of the three telescopes now in service, Hubble, Chandra, and Spitzer; and one in the construction phase, James Webb.

    Spitzer
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    “Early History

    To get around Earth’s atmosphere, astronomers in the1960s began attaching telescopes to huge balloons to carry them above the lower atmosphere’s obscuring effects. By the early 1970s, scientists attached small telescopes aboard high-flying Lear jets and sounding rockets, and discovered several thousand infrared sources.

    None of these observatories, however, could get completely above the atmosphere, and by the early 1970s, astronomers began to consider the possibility of putting an infrared telescope into orbit. Most of the early ideas involved carrying the telescope on repeated flights on board the NASA Space Shuttle, but this idea was developed at a time when NASA thought that the Shuttle would be making routine flights every week, lasting 30 days or more. More importantly, it assumed that the contamination from the Shuttle (e.g., vapors, small particles, and heat interference) would not be a significant problem.

    In 1979, the idea for a Shuttle Infrared Space Facility (SIRTF) was highly recommended in a report by the National Academy of Sciences, and in 1983, NASA announced a call for proposals to build instruments for a large Shuttle-based observatory, to remain attached to the Shuttle during the mission, and returned to the ground for refurbishment prior to re-flight. The first launch was expected to take place around 1990.

    As NASA made this announcement, the first infrared telescope was launched into space by a collaborative team of the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands. The Infrared Astronomical Satellite (IRAS) was an Explorer-class satellite designed to conduct the first infrared survey of the sky. The 10-month mission was a resounding success, and led to huge interest in a follow-up mission from astronomers around the world. The impressive scientific returns from this free-flying observatory led NASA to revise their plans “to provide flexibility for the possibility of a [free-flyer] SIRTF mission.”

    In 1984, NASA selected a team of astronomers to build the instruments and define the science program for a free-flying mission. The following year, in July 1985, this proved to be the correct decision, as the first Shuttle-based InfraRed Telescope (IRT) found that contamination problems from the Shuttle were considerable. The decision to proceed with a free-flyer observatory led to the first change for Spitzer, transforming the meaning of “SIRTF” to the Space Infrared Telescope Facility.

    Spitzer’s Heritage

    NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope builds on a solid scientific and technical foundation established by two previous space infrared satellites. Both of these missions demonstrated the fundamental cryogenic technology and the considerable scientific benefit of liquid-helium-cooled telescopes and instruments in space.

    The InfraRed Astronomical Satellite (IRAS), a NASA Explorer mission, conducted the first survey of the sky at thermal infrared wavelengths in 1983. A collaborative effort between the US, the Netherlands and the UK, IRAS opened a new chapter in astronomical exploration. Utilizing a 57-cm diameter telescope cryogenically cooled to a temperature of 4 K, IRAS circled the Earth in a 900-km polar orbit and operated for 10 months before its liquid helium was exhausted.

    Ninety-six percent of the sky was mapped in four broad wavelength bands, centered at 12, 25, 60 and 100 microns. The hundreds of thousands of infrared sources detected by IRAS doubled the number of sources cataloged by astronomers. In the two decades since this path-breaking mission, scientists have published thousands of papers based on IRAS data, establishing the framework for all subsequent infrared observatories.

    IRAS discovered disks of dust circling nearby stars, now thought to be an evolutionary step in the formation of planetary systems. The satellite also noted the presence of “infrared cirrus,” or dust grains, throughout the Milky Way Galaxy. IRAS identified a class of “starburst” galaxies, whose luminosity is due primarily to the birth of countless young and massive stars. The familiar winter constellation of Orion presents a spectacular contrast between the visible-light view (left) and the appearance as seen by IRAS (right).

    The Infrared Space Observatory (ISO), a cornerstone European Space Agency mission, was launched in late 1995. ISO employed a suite of four scientific instruments to study the cosmos at wavelengths extending from 2.5 to 240 microns. Employing a cryogenic 60-cm diameter telescope and the first infrared detector arrays in space, ISO provided astronomers with a significant improvement in capabilities. Operating in a highly elliptical orbit, ISO circled the Earth once a day during its 30-month mission. Unlike IRAS, the ISO satellite was used primarily to observe individual targets, conducting 28,000 separate observations.

    While the satellite no longer functions, ISO archival research continues to this day. Among the most important of the ISO findings is the discovery that water is abundant throughout the Galaxy. Its unprecedented spectroscopic capabilities allowed ISO to discover and characterize many new interstellar molecules. Moreover, ISO confirmed and extended many of the IRAS discoveries, including the existence of planet-forming circumstellar dust disks.

    Other airborne (Kuiper Airborne Observatory) and space-based experiments (COBE/FIRAS, IRTS, MSX) have made important contributions to the field of infrared astronomy research. Spitzer is the next-generation leap in infrared astronomy, providing order-of-magnitude improvements in astronomical capabilities beyond previous and current observatories.

    Spitzer has gone well beyond the scope of any previous cryogenic infrared space mission by making extensive use — for both imaging and spectroscopy — of the large-format infrared detector arrays now coming into wide use for astronomical applications.

    Recent History

    Following the resounding success of the Infrared Astronomical Satellite (IRAS) mission and the increasing eagerness of the astronomical community for a follow-up observatory, a report was commissioned to recommend the most important new ground- and space-based missions for the coming decade.

    The resulting report, called the Bahcall report, was published in 1991. It referred to the 1990s as “the decade of the infrared”, and listed that an infrared space telescope be “the highest priority for a major new program in space-based astronomy” for the next decade. This telescope would eventually become NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope.

    In a comparison with the other highest-rated infrared facilities being proposed (SOFIA and Gemini), the report described Spitzer as follows:

    “[Spitzer] has the highest sensitivity for photometry, for imaging, and for low- to moderate-resolution spectroscopy. Between 3 and 20 microns, [Spitzer] will be 10 to 40 times more sensitive than the infrared-optimized 8-m telescope [Gemini]. Despite advances in ground-based telescope design and detector technology, [Spitzer] will maintain fundamental advantages in sensitivity longward of 3 microns. [Spitzer] will also have the uninterrupted spectral coverage from 2 to 200 microns needed to detect important molecular and atomic spectral features.”

    Spitzer was envisaged as the fourth and final element of NASA’s family of Great Observatories, along with the Hubble Space Telescope (HST), the Chandra X-Ray Observatory (CXO) and the Compton Gamma-Ray Observatory (CGRO), each of which was to observe the Universe in a different wavelength.

    Shortly after the publication of the Bahcall report, however, NASA’s budget was dramatically revised. This led to the cancellation of some planned missions, and the re-design of many more, Spitzer included. Spitzer underwent two massive revisions in just five years, changing from a massive observatory with development costs in excess of 2.2 billion dollars to a modest-sized (but still powerful) telescope, with costs of less than 0.5 billion dollars.

    An independent report on the redesign, released in April 1994, concluded that “…despite reductions in scientific scope that have resulted from NASA’s current cost ceiling for new science missions, Spitzer remains unparalleled in its potential for addressing the major questions of modern astrophysics highlighted…in the Bahcall Report. The TGSS is unanimous in its opinion that Spitzer still merits the high-priority ranking it received in the Bahcall Report.”

    A significant factor in maintaining the scientific integrity of Spitzer, despite the budget cuts and dramatic redesign, was a series of clever and innovative engineering decisions, including a warm-launch, and a unique choice of orbit.

    In December 2003, four months after its launch, NASA formally gave the Spitzer Space Telescope its new name, finally retiring the old SIRTF acronym.”

    Some views from Spitzer

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    The Helix nebula was photographed by the Spitzer Space Telescope

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    Rosette Nebula taken by Spitzer

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    The dusty, star-studded arms of M81, a nearby spiral galaxy
    similar to our own, are illuminated in unprecedented detail.
    Credit: NASA

     
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