NASA’s Spitzer telescope completes 15 years in space

What in news:

·        NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope – which was initially scheduled for 2.5-year primary mission – has completed 15 years of space exploration.

About news:

·        Launched into a solar orbit in 2003, Spitzer has illuminated some of the oldest galaxies in the universe, revealed a new ring around Saturn, and peered through shrouds of dust to study newborn stars and black holes.

·         It assisted in the discovery of planets beyond our solar system, including the detection of seven Earth-size planets orbiting the star TRAPPIST-1, among other accomplishments.

Contributions of Spitzer:

·        In its 15 years of operations, Spitzer has opened our eyes to new ways of viewing the universe,” said Paul Hertz, director of the Astrophysics Division at NASA Headquarters in the US.

·        Spitzer has helped scientists gain a more complete picture of many cosmic phenomenon

·        With its infrared vision and high sensitivity, Spitzer has contributed to the study of some of the most distant galaxies in the known universe.

·        scientists have utilised Spitzer to study exoplanets, or planets orbiting stars other than our Sun, although this was not something the telescope’s designers anticipated

·        Spitzer also played a key role in detection of, roughly Earth-size planets orbiting a single star,TRAPPIST-1 planetary system.

·        Thousands of scientists around the world have utilised Spitzer data in their studies, and Spitzer data is cited in more than 8,000 published papers.

·        Spitzer’s primary mission ended up lasting 5.5 years, during which time the spacecraft operated in a “cold phase,” with a supply of liquid helium cooling three onboard instruments to just above absolute zero.

·        ” Spitzer’s main instrument, called 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.

About Spitzer space Telescope:

·        The Spitzer Space Telescope (SST), formerly the Space Infrared Telescope Facility (SIRTF), is an infrared space telescope launched in 2003 and still operating as of 2018.

·         It is the fourth and final of the NASA Great Observatories program.

Spitzer carries three instruments on-board

·        Infrared Array Camera (IRAC)

·        Infrared Spectrograph (IRS)

·        Multiband Imaging Photometer for Spitzer (MIPS)

Expected prelims question:

Consider the following statements:

1.      NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope has completed 15 years of space exploration

2.      Spitzer telescope played an important role in detection TRAPPIST-1 planetary system

Which of the above statements are/is correct?

a)      Only 1

b)      Only 2

c)      Both 1 and 2

d)      None of above

Ans  - c

Expected Mains Question

Discuss in detail about the contributions of SPITZER Space Telescope launched by NASA