Keeping Spitzer’s Instruments Even Colder
A tank of liquid helium is used to keep Spitzer’s instruments and detectors at 1.5 K
IRAC – InfraRed Array Camera
images at 3.6, 4.5, 5.8, and 8 mm
IRS – InfraRed Spectrograph
MIPS – Multiband Imaging Photometer for Spitzer
images at 24, 70, and 160 mm
InfraRed Array Camera (IRAC)
Built at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
Simultaneous images in four IR passbands
Built at Cornell University
Spectroscopy in the mid-IR
Multiband Imaging Photometer for Spitzer (MIPS)
Three detector arrays
128x128 pixel Si:As for 24 mm
32x32 pixel Ge:Ga for 70 mm
2x20 pixel Ge:Ga for 160 mm
Built at the University of Arizona
Spitzer instruments are arranged in fixed locations on the Spitzer focal plane
The telescope is rotated to move a particular science target to the right position for the instrument to be used
Other instruments record data for “serendipitous” fields
What Is Spitzer Doing Now?
2007: Herschel Space Observatory - a European Space Agency infrared-submillimeter mission planned for 2007 to study galaxy formation, interstellar matter, star formation and the atmospheres of comets and planets.
2007: Planck Surveyor - European Space Agency far infrared-submillimeter mission planned for 2007 to study Cosmic Background Radiation.
2010: The James Webb Space Telescope, planned for launch in about 2011, is a visible/infrared space mission to study the early universe and the formation of galaxies, stars and planets.