Video Transcript: Spitzer's Warm Mission

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Spitzer's Warm Mission
A New Career

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Michelle Thaller/ Spitzer Astronomer
In order to understand how the universe works,

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you have to be able to see it across the electromagnetic spectrum

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-- all the different kinds of light that there are.

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Now, in visible light, what we're used to, you can see me,

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I can hold up a coffee cup for example, and it doesn't look particularly interesting.

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But in infrared it becomes this glowing object

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that you could see all the way across the universe if you had heat sensitive eyes.

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Title:
Nasa's Spitzer Space Telescope sees infrared light.

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Michelle Thaller/ Spitzer Astronomer
The Spitzer mission has completely re-written the textbooks

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when it comes to infrared astronomy. The world has changed.

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Michael Werner/Spitzer Project Scientist
I couldn't imagine that it wasn't going to work,

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but I had no conception that it would work as well as it has.

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Michelle Thaller/ Spitzer Astronomer
We started out observing incredible star-forming regions

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where we could look inside the dark dust, see the first moments of star's and planet's lives,

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but that was just the beginning.

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Spitzer has also made one of the first really accurate maps of the Milky Way galaxy.

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We were the first mission to directly detect light from an exoplanet

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-- really say this light is not coming from a star but from a planet.

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Michael Werner/Spitzer Project Scientist
We've gone ahead to start characterizing what their atmospheres are made of,

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the composition, the dynamics.

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Michelle Thaller/ Spitzer Astronomer
And from that, we made the first crude

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but real weather maps of what weather on planets that are 200 light years away is like.

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Title:
After more than five years,

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Spitzer is completing its original assignment and beginning a new career.

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Michelle Thaller/ Spitzer Astronomer
Spitzer has to be very, very cold, because of course,

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it's observing heat from things that are literally billions of miles away.

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We have a coolant, which is only a few degrees above absolute zero.

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Michael Werner/Spitzer Project Scientist
And we knew that eventually

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we'd reach the day when that last ounce of liquid helium boiled away.

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Bob Wilson/Spitzer Project Manager
Spitzer will be transitioning into a warm mission.

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It's really not very warm, but it's warmer than the cold mission was.

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Michelle Thaller/ Spitzer Astronomer
Warming up a little bit

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means that two of our three instruments will no longer be functioning.

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However, the instrument that will still be around, the infrared array camera,

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is the one that's responsible for most of the gorgeous imagery that you see coming out of Spitzer.

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Bob Wilson/Spitzer Project Manager
We will be able to do larger mapping than we've been able to do in the past.

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Michael Werner/Spitzer Project Scientist
We'll be looking at warmer objects,

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more stars than planets themselves and at asteroids.

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Michelle Thaller/ Spitzer Astronomer
The Spitzer Space Telescope is by no means done with its mission.

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Things have changed but I kind of think of it as a second career.

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NASA, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology

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