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NASA DECOMMISSIONS SPITZER SPACE TELESCOPE AFTER 16 YEARS OF OPERATION

Focus: GS-3, Prelims

Why in news?

Spitzer, which was launched in 2003, studied some of the most distant galaxies ever detected with the light from some of the cosmic bodies travelling for billions of years to reach the telescope, NASA said.

Details:

  • Spitzer  showed the importance of infrared light in understanding our universe, both in our own cosmic neighborhood, and as far away as the most distant galaxies
  • By detecting infrared light, with wavelengths ranging from about 700 nanometers — too small to see with the naked eye — to about a millimeter, Spitzer could help astronomers unveil the presence of cosmic entities which are too cold to emit much visible light, including planets outside our solar system, and cold matter found in the space between stars
  • Found a previously undetected ring around Saturn, composed of sparse dust particles that visible-light observatories cannot see



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