Artist concept of the Spitzer Space Telescope

Artist concept of the Spitzer Space Telescope

Mission Overview

NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope was launched on August 25, 2003 from Florida's Cape Canaveral Air Force Base. Drifting in a unique Earth-trailing orbit around the Sun, Spitzer sees an optically invisible universe dominated by dust and stars.

Launch of the Spitzer Space Telescope.

Launch of the Spitzer Space Telescope.

History

For years, astronomers have tried to place telescopes above atmosphere, to catch a glimpse of an otherwise hidden infrared universe. This section explores the heritage of infrared astronomy, which culminates with NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, the most sensitive infrared space observatory ever launched. Learn about infrared astronomy's:

CTA being prepared for vibration testing

CTA being prepared for vibration testing

Technology

NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope is a technological marvel, featuring many innovations never before used on a space mission. It may seem like a contradiction, but Spitzer needs to be simultaneously "cold" and "warm" to function properly. Learn how Spitzer achieves this balance with the:

Infrared imagery

Infrared imagery

Science

The Universe is continually radiating a wealth of information to Earth, sending signals in wide-spectrum of light.  However, not all of these messages reach the ground. In space, any object that has a temperature above zero Kelvin (- 459.67 degrees Fahrenheit, or -273.15 degrees Celsius) radiates in the infrared. Learn how NASA's infrared Spitzer Space Telescope contributes to the study of:

Lyman Spitzer Jr. (1914 - 1997)

Ten years before the launch of Sputnik, and 12 years before NASA formed, Lyman Spitzer Jr. proposed that an observatory be put in space to avoid the blurring effects of our atmosphere. This effort led to the launch of NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, and ultimately the telescope named in his honor, the Spitzer Space Telescope.

Spitzer Blog Authors