Zee Media Bureau/Salome Phelamei
Pasadena, California: NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope marked its ten years in space on Sunday. Since its launching from Cape Canaveral, Fla., on August 25, 2003, the Spitzer has been wowing us with its infrared eyes by sending wonderful images it has captured of the universe.
The Spitzer, which is an infrared telescope, has made some astonishing finds such as spotting the first light from a planet beyond our solar system and discovering the largest ring around Saturn.
As Spitzer is an infrared telescope, the pictures it takes show the universe in a very different light, unlike the one which we’re used to seeing now.
“I always knew Spitzer would work, but I had no idea that it would be as productive, exciting and long-lived as it has been,” Spitzer project scientist Michael Werner of NASA`s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, who helped conceive the mission, said in a statement. “The spectacular images that it continues to return, and its cutting-edge science, go far beyond anything we could have imagined when we started on this journey more than 30 years ago.”
Part of NASA’s Great Observatories program of four telescopes, Spitzer studied comets, comets and asteroids, counted stars, scrutinized planets and galaxies, and discovered buckyballs in a solid form in space. The other Great Observatories are the Hubble Space Telescope, the Chandra X-ray Observatory and the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory (which is no longer operating out of the four).
Initially the telescope was called Space Infrared Telescope Facility, but was renamed Spitzer in tribute to the American astronomer Lyman Spitzer, after it reached space.
The $800 million telescope, as it enters its second decade will continue to explore the universe near and far.