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Spitzer Space Telescope (formerly the Space Infrared Telescope Facility, or SIRTF), animation. This telescope, launched by NASA 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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