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Image of FIG. 1.

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FIG. 1.

A basic external view of Spitzer in its Earth-trailing solar orbit. The telescope cools by radiating to space and by the change in enthalpy of evaporating liquid helium while hiding from the Sun behind its solar panel and flying away from the thermal emission of the Earth. Courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech.

Image of FIG. 2.

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FIG. 2.

(Color) The Planck function and infrared astronomy: The energy distribution as a function of wavelength of a blackbody of temperature is given by the Planck distribution, the peak of which is given by Wien’s law. Infrared astronomy, generally defined as covering wavelengths between 1 and , enables studies of cool stars, circumstellar gas and dust, and interstellar matter.

Image of FIG. 3.

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FIG. 3.

The observational objectives of infrared astronomy: Studies of the cold, dusty, distant, and chemical universes are described in detail in Sec. I A. Courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech.

Image of FIG. 4.

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FIG. 4.

The rationale for going into space to do infrared astronomy: The upper panel shows the transmission of the atmosphere from Mauna Kea, Hawaii ( above sea level). Most of the infrared wavelengths are still blocked by residual water vapor, ozone, and carbon dioxide. The latter two still block infrared light at balloon altitudes. The lower panel shows the reduction in background heat obtained by cooling the telescope to where thermal emission from the zodiacal cloud and galactic dust clouds dominate. Courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech.

Image of FIG. 5.

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FIG. 5.

Ball Aerospace thermal model. Heat input is solely from insolation on the solar panel. Cooling of the cryogenic telescope assembly is accomplished by radiation and vapor cooling. Heat is transferred through the system along the paths indicated by the arrows by radiation (dashed blue arrows), conduction (solid green arrows), and vapor cooling (broad orange arrows). The equilibrium temperatures for the various observatory components are given for the case when the cryogenic telescope is operating at . The model assumes a focal-plane heat dissipation of and an insolation of . Courtesy of Ball Aerospace/JPL-Caltech.

Image of FIG. 6.

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FIG. 6.

Cutaway view of the cryogenic telescope assembly showing the details of its mounting to the spacecraft bus (SCB) and internal details of the structure. Kinematic, conductive isolation from the SCB is accomplished using gamma-alumina bipod struts (yellow). The titanium bipod flexures that attach the cryogenic telescope bulkhead to the cryostat and the primary mirror to the bulkhead are clearly visible in this view, as is the attachment point of the metering tower adapter ring to the bulkhead. Courtesy of Ball Aerospace.

Image of FIG. 7.

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FIG. 7.

Side elevation of the launch configuration of Spitzer observatory, which measures approximately in height and in diameter. The facility was launched on 2003 August 25.23 UT, the dust cover was ejected on 2003 August 30.11 UT, and the cryostat aperture door was retracted on 2003 August 31.06 UT. Reproduced by permission of Werner et al. (Ref. 2).

Image of FIG. 8.

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FIG. 8.

Assembly drawing of the cryogenic telescope. The bulkhead and all of the telescope components except for the three titanium bipod flexures that mount the primary mirror to the bulkhead are made of hot isostatically pressed beryllium. Courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech.

Image of FIG. 9.

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FIG. 9.

(Color) The Spitzer family portrait: the science instruments mounted on the multiple instrument chamber baseplate at Ball Aerospace during cryogenic telescope assembly integration and testing. Clockwise from from the lower right are IRAC (in black), MIPS, IRS long-low, IRS long-high, IRS short-low, and IRS short-high. Courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech.

Image of FIG. 10.

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FIG. 10.

The Spitzer Pocket Guide, which gives details about the basic Spitzer facility parameters, orbit and operational viewing zone, and focal plane orientation, can be downloaded by interested observers from the Spitzer internet website at http://ssc.spitzer.caltech.edu/documents/Spitzer\̱PocketGuide.pdf

Image of FIG. 11.

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FIG. 11.

Schematic view of the double pass BRUTUS autocollimation test (Ref. 18). The BRUTUS OSCAR optical flat (red) is suspended above the cryogenic telescope assembly to return an image of the point-source short-infrared glower to the focal plane of the MIC. Courtesy of J. Schwenker and Ball Aerospace.

Image of FIG. 12.

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FIG. 12.

(Color) Surface of the Spitzer beryllium primary mirror as measured at during the final cryogenic acceptance test. The root mean square (rms) surface error over the clear aperture was . The error budget called for a maximum rms error of (Ref. 40). There is no change in the figure of the mirror over its operating range. Courtesy of JPL-Caltech/NASA.

Image of FIG. 13.

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FIG. 13.

The assembled cryogenic telescope at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory mirror laboratory. One of the titanium bipod flexures that mount the bulkhead to the cryostat is visible under the reflection of the metering tower in the primary mirror. The mechanism at the top of the metering tower was used to move the secondary mirror in piston during the in-orbit checkout focus procedure. Courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech.

Image of FIG. 14.

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FIG. 14.

The Spitzer IRAC first light image, taken after orbital insertion, verified that the observatory was operating within its optical design parameters. The (red box) image was produced from a exposure of a low galactic latitude region in the constellation Perseus. Courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech.

Image of FIG. 15.

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FIG. 15.

Evaluation of the focus position showed that focus had stabilized at above the nominal multiple instrument chamber focal plane by day 22. The secondary mirror mechanism was activated twice during the day 38–40 focus campaign to bring the optical performance within the level one specification. Reproduced courtesy of Gehrz et al. (Ref. 16).

Image of FIG. 16.

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FIG. 16.

The IRAC channel 1 point spread function (PSF) before and after focusing. Top panels: Solid curves are a cross section of the prelaunch optical model PSF for best focus. The solid surface is the observed in-flight PSF averaged over the field of view (FOV). Bottom panels: Isophotal contours in units of total flux collected on the central pixel. The data analysis was produced by Elliot of JPL-Caltech/NASA. Reproduced courtesy of Gehrz et al. (Ref. 16).

Image of FIG. 17.

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FIG. 17.

(Color) Spitzer focal plane layout seen looking down from the telescope aperture showing the footprints of the science instrument apertures, the PCRS arrays, and the point sources used for ground-based prelaunch focus checks and focal plane mapping. The direction points toward the Sun. The MIPS apertures appear rectangular because the scan mirror accesses an area larger than the instantaneous footprint of the array; the positions of the SED slit and fine-scale array are shown schematically. Reproduced courtesy of Werner et al. (Ref. 2)

Image of FIG. 18.

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FIG. 18.

(Color) The IRAC cryogenic assembly with the top cover removed to show the inner components. The MIC alignment plate was used only for testing prior to cryogenic telescope assembly integration. Arrays 1 and 2 are the channel 4 and 2 focal plane assemblies, respectively. Reproduced courtesy of Fazio et al. (Ref. 19).

Image of FIG. 19.

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FIG. 19.

Top and side elevations of the IRAC optical system. Each of the two modules uses a dichroic filter to separate the incoming light into two bands, and the filters are place near Lyot stops to ensure color uniformity over the field of view. Reproduced courtesy of Fazio et al. (Ref. 19).

Image of FIG. 20.

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FIG. 20.

IRAC optical system total throughput, including transmission of the cryogenic telescope assembly, IRAC optics, and detector quantum efficiency. Reproduced courtesy of Fazio et al. (Ref. 19).

Image of FIG. 21.

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FIG. 21.

The IRAC Pocket Guide, which gives details about the observing modes and on-orbit sensitivity of IRAC, can be downloaded by prospective users at http://ssc.spitzer.caltech.edu/irac/documents/pocketguide.pdf

Image of FIG. 22.

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FIG. 22.

(Color) The IRS modules, short-high, short-low (which includes the peak-up cameras), long-high, and long-low installed on the multiple instrument chamber test plate before integration into the cryogenic telescope assembly. The location of the spectrograph slits in the focal plane is shown in Fig. 7. Reproduced courtesy of Houck et al. (Ref. 21)

Image of FIG. 23.

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FIG. 23.

The IRS Pocket Guide, which gives details about the observing modes and on-orbit sensitivity of IRS, can be downloaded by prospective users at http://ssc.spitzer.caltech.edu/irs/documents/pocketguide.pdf

Image of FIG. 24.

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FIG. 24.

Schematic view of the IRS long-low module optical components and paths (Ref. 81).

Image of FIG. 25.

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FIG. 25.

Schematic view of the IRS long-high module optical components and paths (Ref. 81). An echelle grating is used to enhance the resolution.

Image of FIG. 26.

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FIG. 26.

A long duration IRS long-low-1 spectrum of a Chandra soft x-ray source in the Hubble UltraDeep Field. The MIPS flux is . The solid line is the spectrum and the dashed line is the error. Courtesy of Teplitz et al. (Ref. 82).

Image of FIG. 27.

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FIG. 27.

The MIPS Pocket Guide, which gives details about the observing modes and on-orbit sensitivity of MIPS, can be downloaded by prospective users at http://ssc.spitzer.caltcech.edu/mips/documents/pocketguide.pdf

Image of FIG. 28.

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FIG. 28.

(Color) The MIPS instrument prior to its integration into the multiple instrument chamber. Reproduced courtesy of Rieke et al. (Ref. 20).

Image of FIG. 29.

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FIG. 29.

Schematic drawing of the MIPS instrument showing the principal components. Reproduced courtesy of Rieke et al. (Ref. 20).

Image of FIG. 30.

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FIG. 30.

(Color) Schematic diagram of the MIPS optical train. The two mirror facets attached to the cryogenic scan mirror mechanism (CSMM) feed the optical train (normal FOV, narrow field of view and spectrometer/SED) and the optical trains, respectively. The CSMM provides for chopping, one-dimensional dithering for all three arrays, and band/mode selection (Ref. 20).

Image of FIG. 31.

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FIG. 31.

MIPS spectral response curves for the 24,70, and modules (dark lines) and the spectral energy distribution (SED) mode (light line) (Ref. 20).

Image of FIG. 32.

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FIG. 32.

(Color) Spitzer during installation on the rocket at Kennedy Space Flight Center. The left hand picture shows the radiative side of the observatory and the right hand picture shows the Sunward side with the observatory mounted in the nose cone of the Delta rocket. Michael Werner is shown for scale. Courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech.

Image of FIG. 33.

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FIG. 33.

(Color) The launch of the Spitzer Space Telescope from Kennedy Space Flight Center on 2003 August 25 UT. NASA image.

Image of FIG. 34.

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FIG. 34.

(Color) Spitzer’s solar orbit projected onto the ecliptic plane and viewed from the ecliptic North Pole. In the rotating frame, the Earth is at the origin and the Earth-Sun line is defined as the axis. Loops and kinks in the trajectory occur at approximately one year intervals when Spitzer is at perihelion. Spitzer’s orbit is also slightly inclined with respect to the ecliptic.

Image of FIG. 35.

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FIG. 35.

The operational viewing zone annulus associated with the Spitzer solar orbit. (Ref. 40). If the telescope is pointed too close to the Sun, sunlight will fall onto the outer shield of the cryogenic telescope assembly. If the telescope is pointed too far away from the Sun, the solar panel generates insufficient electrical power. The percentages given indicate sky coverage.

Image of FIG. 36.

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FIG. 36.

Use of the makeup heater to lower telescope temperature during the MIPS campaigns. Telescope temperature (red line, left axis) and the helium bath temperature (solid blue lines, right axis) are shown. The telescope cools sharply in response to makeup heater pulses. A combined makeup heater and SI heat input to the bath of is required to hold the cryogenic telescope at a temperature of . Courtesy of Paul Finley/Ball Aerospace.

Image of FIG. 37.

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FIG. 37.

Helium mass usage. The solid pink squares are mass measurements from makeup heater pulses. The solid green symbols along the axis indicate significant milestones. The dashed line is the prelaunch predicted helium use. A linear extrapolation of recent mass measurements gives an end-of-life data of 1 June, 2009 with a 2-sigma uncertainty shown. Courtesy of Paul Finley/Ball Aerospace.

Image of FIG. 38.

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FIG. 38.

(Color) Total annual days of target visibility as a function of right ascension and declination (Ref. 40). The minimum visibility window for any point on the sky is about .

Image of FIG. 39.

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FIG. 39.

Flow diagram showing community, Spitzer Science Center, and Spitzer relationships. Courtesy of SSC/Caltech.

Image of FIG. 40.

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FIG. 40.

Hubble Space Telescope and Spitzer observations of a galaxy at . Model fit to data is a galaxy with mass that of the Milky Way which formed at . This figure is adapted from Eyles et al. (Ref. 83).

Image of FIG. 41.

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FIG. 41.

(and cover). (Color) Composite mosaic image of M81 obtained with Spitzer’s MIPS and IRAC cameras (, , ). It is evident that the bulge is dominated by the light of old stars and the disk by thermal infrared radiation from regions of star formation. Spitzer IRS spectra are shown for the nucleus (blue line) and an HII region in the disk (orange line). The spectra show prominent atomic fine-structure lines (, , , , ) and PAH emission features at 6.2, 7.7, 8.6, 11.3, 12.7, and . In addition, the nuclear spectrum shows a strong stellar photospheric contribution shortward of , and silicate emission at . Image courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech/K. Gordon (University of Arizona)/S. Willner (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics). Spectra courtesy of R. Kennicutt and the SINGS (Ref. 69) legacy team. Graphics by Robert Hurt (JPL-Caltech).

Image of FIG. 42.

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FIG. 42.

(Color) Anatomy of the edge-on spiral Galaxy M104 (The Sombrero). Infrared: NASA/JPL-Caltech/R. Kennicutt (University of Arizona), and the SINGS (Ref. 69) legacy team. Visible: Hubble Space Telescope/Hubble Heritage Team.

Image of FIG. 43.

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FIG. 43.

(Color) Spitzer three-color image of the Sc spiral galaxy M33. Image courtesy of Polomski et al. (University of Minnesota) and Fazio et al. (SAO).

Image of FIG. 44.

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FIG. 44.

(Color) Composite Spitzer infrared array camera image of a dark globule in IC 1396 reveals an embedded cluster of stars forming from the gas and dust. Emissions from (blue), (green), (orange), and (red) have been combined in a single image to represent different temperature regimes. Stellar objects appear blue and green. The gas and dust glow orange and red. The Hubble Space Telescope visual image (lower left) shows the cold, opaque cloud. Courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech/Reach (SSC/Caltech).

Image of FIG. 45.

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FIG. 45.

IRS spectra of three young stellar objects in Taurus. CoKu Tau/4 shows a flux deficit in the region, indicative of a central clearing in its circumstellar disk in comparison to that of FK Tau. V928 Tau no longer shows evidence for any circumstellar material, indicating complete dissipation of the protoplanetary disk. [Forrest et al. (Ref. 84) revised and reproduced by permission of the AAS.]

Image of FIG. 46.

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FIG. 46.

(Color) IRS spectra show the building blocks of life and plants in an embedded YSO (NASA/JPL-Caltech).

Image of FIG. 47.

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FIG. 47.

Images of the debris disks around Fomalhaut (Ref. 80) and Vega (Ref. 70) at , reproduced to the same physical scale. Both stars are about 2.5 times the mass of the Sun, at a distance of , and about old. In neither case is the central star apparent in the image. Fomalhaut is surrounded by a nearly edge-on ring, analogous to the Kuiper belt in the solar system, about in radius. The asymmetry in the ring is caused by its being miscentered on the star, probably due to interaction with a massive planet, so the ring segment to the lower left is raised to a higher temperature than the one to the upper right. In contrast, Vega is nearly face on, accounting for the circular symmetry of its debris system. It also appears to have a circumstellar ring of radius , but the system is dominated by a bright halo that extends to nearly from the star. It is thought that this halo may arise from a collision within the last few million years between planetesimals, resulting in production of many small grains that are now being ejected by photon pressure.

Image of FIG. 48.

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FIG. 48.

The measured IRS spectrum of the T8 brown dwarf Gl570D compared with two model spectra. The observed spectrum is indicated by the heavy black line, while the model spectra correspond to models in (thin black line) and out (red line) of atmospheric chemical equilibrium. For a more detailed discussion of the chemical equilibrium implications of the IRS spectrum of G1570D, see Ref. 71.

Image of FIG. 49.

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FIG. 49.

Top: IRAC detection of the eclipse in the TrES-1 system [Charbonneau et al. (Ref. 39)]. Bottom: MIPS detection of the secondary eclipse in the HD209458 system [Deming et al. (Ref. 76)].

Image of FIG. 50.

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FIG. 50.

(Color) Spitzer composite image of the Crab Nebula as seen by the Spitzer IRAC (, ) and MIPS cameras. The Crab is the expanding remnant of a supernova explosion that was recorded in 1054 AD. Courtesy of Temim, Gehrz, and Temim et al. (Ref. 77), University of Minnesota.

Image of FIG. 51.

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FIG. 51.

IRS IRS Lo-RES (a) and Hi-RES (b) spectra of a filament in the Crab Nebula Supernova remnant showing a rich mix of lines from elements ejected in the explosion. The strongest are , , , , , , , , , and . The line splitting in the Hi-RES spectrum is caused by Doppler shifts due to the expansion of the ejecta. Reproduced courtesy of Temim et al. (Ref. 77).

Image of FIG. 52.

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FIG. 52.

Spitzer IRS infrared spectrum of the dust ejected during NASA’s Deep Impact mission to comet Tempel 1 showing the strong emission feature produced by small silicate grains. Previous to this experiment, the strongest cometary emission feature (relative to the continuum) had been observed in Comet Hale-Bopp. Courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech/Lisse (Johns Hopkins University/University of Maryland).

Image of FIG. 53.

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FIG. 53.

Comet Encke and the debris trail (long diagonal line) that follows the path of Encke’s orbit. Twin jets of fine dust particles, activated by insolation, spread horizontally from the comet at an angle to the orbit. The debris trail, made of larger sand- and gravellike debris that spread around the orbit due to Poynting-Robertson drag, produces the October Taurid meteor shower as the Earth crosses Encke’s orbit. Image courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech/Kelley (University of Minnesota), and Reach and Kelley (2006) (Ref. 79).

Image of FIG. 54.

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FIG. 54.

(Color) MIPS image of comet 29/P Schwassmann-Wachmann 1 showing the structure of the coma and debris trail. Nine asteroids are visible in the image, three of them newly discovered. Image reproduced by permission of Stansberry et al. (Ref. 85).


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Table I.

Top-level observatory parameters.

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Table II.

Optical characteristics of the Spitzer Telescope (Ref. 40).

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Table III.

Spitzer instrumentation summary.


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The National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Spitzer Space Telescope (formerly the Space Infrared Telescope Facility) is the fourth and final facility in the Great Observatories Program, joining Hubble Space Telescope (1990), the Compton Gamma-Ray Observatory (1991–2000), and the Chandra X-Ray Observatory (1999). Spitzer, with a sensitivity that is almost three orders of magnitude greater than that of any previous ground-based and space-based infrared observatory, is expected to revolutionize our understanding of the creation of the universe, the formation and evolution of primitive galaxies, the origin of stars and planets, and the chemical evolution of the universe. This review presents a brief overview of the scientific objectives and history of infrared astronomy. We discuss Spitzer’s expected role in infrared astronomy for the new millennium. We describe pertinent details of the design, construction, launch, in-orbit checkout, and operations of the observatory and summarize some science highlights from the first two and a half years of Spitzer operations. More information about Spitzer can be found at http://spitzer.caltech.edu/.


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Scitation: The NASA Spitzer Space Telescope