NASA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NASA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Spitzer Space Telescope (formerly the Space Infrared Telescope Facility, or SIRTF). Artwork of NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope viewed against the glowing dust emission of the Milky Way seen at 100 microns. This telescope, launched on 25 August 2003, observes objects in space between wavelengths of 3 and 180 microns (infrared radiation). Such observations on Earth are not possible as most of this part of the spectrum is blocked by the atmosphere. The instruments on board are cooled to near absolute zero (-273 degrees Celsius) to avoid heat interference. The Spitzer Space Telescope is part of NASA's Great Observatories Program which includes the Hubble Space Telescope, Compton Gamma-Ray Observatory, and the Chandra X-Ray Observatory.
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