The Spitzer Space Telescope consists of a 85-centimeter telescope and three cryogenically-cooled science instruments, and thus is the largest infrared telescope ever launched into space. To obtain good IR observations, the telescope must be protected from external IR radiation, or heat, and is cooled close to absolute zero, 0 Kelvin, or -273 degrees Celsius, or -459 degrees Fahrenheit, and is protected by a solar shield.
Spitzer was launched by a Delta rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida on August 25, 2003, into an Earth-trailing solar orbit. This unique orbit places Spitzer far enough from Earth and its IR or heat radiation to reduce the need of cryogen coolant.
The following images were obtained by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope satellite. For more Spitzer images, see CalTech's Spitzer site, in particular their Picture Gallery.
Last Modification: October 26, 2006