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Astrophysicists are discovering new extrasolar planets—those outside our Solar System—almost daily. NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope (originally called SIRTF, or the Space Infrared Telescope Facility) and AMNH's Lyot Project Coronograph are two of the many technologies uncovering the attributes and evolution of these faraway worlds.
The techniques employed by these instruments may one day help answer one of astronomy's reigning mysteries: do any extrasolar planets host life ?
The feature video relates scientists' hopes for the Spitzer Space Telescope before its launch in 2003. It also gives a firsthand look into the making of the Lyot Project. The feature essays share how these two remarkable technologies are making progress in their goals to seek and understand extrasolar planets.
- Read more on http://www.spitzer.caltech.edu/
A quest beyond our solar system...
This question becomes the main quest for humanity to find a planet like earth but not too far to sustain the hope of an extended game for humans in the evolution of cosmos...
Many space missions operating since 2001 have found clues of life on Mars but also on the moons of Jupiter and Saturn but not exactly the same and not evolved as found on Earth. Later space telescopes equiped with powerful infra red cameras started to explore the darkest regions of our milky way with the program SIRTF (NASA) and COROT (ESA).
In 2003 SIRTF program was renamed Spitzer, the mission started to watch beyond our solar system where the light of our sun is just a little pixel lost in the dark existing beetwin the stars and have found more than 600 exoplanets, but still none is actualy like Earth.
In 2012 if life exists on another planet nearby Earth, Spitzer will know soon, maybe in 6 days, 6 months, 6 years or perhaps within 60 years with the help of new technology....
- Text John Gregorio
Discover now more information about Spitzer Space Telescope with the following numeric report made by Universum Observatorium 2.0
SPITZER SPACE TELESCOPE
The Spitzer Space Telescope (SST), formerly the Space Infrared Telescope Facility (SIRTF) is an infrared space observatory launched in 2003. It is the fourth and final of the NASA Great Observatories program. The planned mission period was to be 2.5 years with a pre-launch expectation that the mission could extend to five or slightly more years until the onboard liquid helium supply was exhausted.
This occurred on 15 May 2009. Without liquid helium to cool the telescope to the very cold temperatures needed to operate, most instruments are no longer usable. However, the two shortest wavelength modules of the IRAC camera are still operable with the same sensitivity as before the cryogen was exhausted, and will continue to be used in the Spitzer Warm Mission. In keeping with NASA tradition, the telescope was renamed after successful demonstration of operation, on December 18, 2003.
Unlike most telescopes which are named after famous deceased astronomers by a board of scientists, the name for SIRTF was obtained from a contest open to the general public. The contest led to the telescope being named in honor of Lyman Spitzer, one of the 20th century's great scientists.
Though he was not the first to propose the idea of the space telescope (Hermann Oberth being the first, in Wege zur Raumschiffahrt, 1929, and also in Die Rakete zu den Planetenräumen, 1923), Spitzer wrote a 1946 report for RAND describing the advantages of an extraterrestrial observatory and how it could be realized with available (or upcoming) technology.
He has been cited for his pioneering contributions to rocketry and astronomy, as well as "his vision and leadership in articulating the advantages and benefits to be realized from the Space Telescope Program."
The US$800 million Spitzer was launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, on a Delta II 7920H ELV rocket, Monday, 25 August 2003 at 13:35:39 UTC-5 (EDT).
It follows a rather unusual orbit, heliocentric instead of geocentric, trailing and drifting away from Earth's orbit at approximately 0.1 astronomical unit per year (a so-called "earth-trailing" orbit). The primary mirror is 85 centimetres (33 in) in diameter, f/12 and made of beryllium and was cooled to 5.5 K (−449.77 °F).
The satellite contains three instruments that allowed it to perform astronomical imaging and photometry from 3 to 180 micrometers, spectroscopy from 5 to 40 micrometers, and spectrophotometry from 5 to 100 micrometers.
As one of its most noteworthy observations, in 2005, SST became the first telescope to directly capture the light from extrasolar planets, namely the "hot Jupiters" HD 209458b and TrES-1. (It did not resolve that light into actual images though.) This was the first time extrasolar planets had actually been visually seen; earlier observations had been indirectly made by drawing conclusions from behaviors of the stars the planets were orbiting. The telescope also discovered in April 2005 that Cohen-kuhi Tau/4 had a planetary disk that was vastly younger and contained less mass than previously theorized, leading to new understandings of how planets are formed.
- Read more on http://Spitzer_Space_Telescope