The von Kármán Lecture Series: 2010

Scientific Results from the Spitzer Space Telescope

From Near Earth Asteroids to the Most Distant Galaxies: Scientific Results from the Spitzer Space Telescope

Oct. 14 & 15

The Spitzer Space Telescope, launched in 2003 as the infrared member of NASA's family of Great Observatories, completed the first phase of its scientific journey with the exhaustion of its liquid helium cryogen in May, 2009. Spitzer has been managed during both development and operations phases by JPL, and the scientific operations are carried out at the Spitzer Science Center at Caltech. Following the loss of the liquid helium, Spitzer has been reborn as a warm mission devoted to observations in its shortest wavelength bands at 3.6 and 4.5um. The performance of warm Spitzer is essentially identical to that of the cryogenic mission, so that Spitzer continues to provide unparalleled sensitivity and areal coverage for photometry and imaging at these wavelengths. This talk will show a selection of Spitzer's breathtaking images and review the astounding scientific bounty of the mission, ranging from studies of near Earth objects to determining the masses of the most distant galaxies known. Results from both the cryogenic and the warm missions will be described. The richness of Spitzer's scientific return is indicated by a list of the areas to be touched on in this review: exoplanets, the physical and chemical properties of protoplanetary disks, comparison of exoplanetary systems with the solar system, star formation, galactic structure and nearby galaxies, clusters of galaxies, galaxies in the early Universe, and the infrared background.


Dr. Varoujan Gorjian
Spitzer Research Scientist


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