Spitzer Space Telescope
Rieke, George H. Steward Observatory, Department of Astronomy, The University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona.
Last reviewed:March 2020
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An infrared space telescope that operated for more than 16 years. Along with the Hubble Space Telescope, the Chandra X-ray Observatory, and the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory, Spitzer (Fig. 1) was part of the Great Observatories program by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), which developed space telescopes for collecting light in portions of the electromagnetic spectrum that are mostly unavailable to ground-based telescopes. Prior to launch on August 25, 2003, Spitzer was known as SIRTF (Space Infrared Telescope Facility). Once in orbit, the telescope was renamed after Lyman Spitzer, Jr., the first prominent astronomer to advocate putting telescopes into space. NASA ceased Spitzer's science operations on January 30, 2020, in anticipation of the launch of the infrared-capable James Webb Space Telescope. See also: Astronomical observatory; Chandra X-ray Observatory; Compton Gamma Ray Observatory; Hubble Space Telescope; Infrared astronomy; Infrared radiation; Light; Telescope
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