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01.24.20

Spitzer in Space: Infrared Final Voyage

This artist's concept depicts NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope in space much as it would appear at the end of its mission on January 30, 2020. The backdrop depicts the sky in infrared light much as Spitzer would have seen it early in its mission.

On this date, Spitzer is 1.77 times as far away from the Earth as the Earth is from the sun. Since launch, Spitzer has orbited our sun much as the Earth does, though taking slightly longer to complete a revolution. Over time it will continue to drift farther away from us until it eventually is on the opposite side of the sun.

Spitzer has spent over 16 years helping astronomers explore the infrared universe. Its collected data archives will continue to be a valuable resource for decades to come, and will be instrumental in helping astronomers effectively utilize future NASA missions like the James Web Space Telescope (JWST) and the Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST).