Sunday, July 10, 2022

Before Webb, NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope Revealed An Infrared Universe

Before Webb, NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope Revealed An Infrared Universe

Mission Overview: After 16 years of unveiling the infrared universe, NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope left a singular legacy. As one of NASA’s four Great Observatories—a series of powerful telescopes including Hubble, Chandra and Compton that can observe the cosmos in different parts of the electromagnetic spectrum—Spitzer quickly became a pioneer in the exploration of worlds beyond our human vision. From stars being born to planets beyond our solar system (like the seven Earth-size planets around the star TRAPPIST-1), Spitzer's science discoveries continue to inspire.  

Consisting of a 0.85-meter telescope and three cryogenically-cooled science instruments, Spitzer was the largest infrared space telescope before the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) was launched in December 2021. The telescope was named in honor of American astronomer, Lyman Spitzer, who had promoted the concept of space telescopes in the 1940s. The retired Spitzer was the first observatory to provide high-resolution images of the near- and mid-infrared Universe. Webb, by virtue of its significantly larger primary mirror and improved detectors, will allow us to see the infrared sky with improved clarity (better spatial resolution), enabling even more discoveries.

For more information about the history of the Spitzer Space Telescope, visit:

Credit: NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)

Duration: 4 minutes

Release Date: Jan. 15, 2020

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