The spacecraft was built by Lockheed Martin. , In April 2015, Spitzer and the Optical Gravitational Lensing Experiment were reported as co-discovering one of the most distant planets ever identified: a gas giant about 13,000 light-years (4,000 pc) away from Earth. "Where did these objects come from? , Spitzer carries three instruments on board:, While some time on the telescope was reserved for participating institutions and crucial projects, astronomers around the world also had the opportunity to submit proposals for observing time. Unlike most telescopes that are named by a board of scientists, typically after famous deceased astronomers, the new name for SIRTF was obtained from a contest open to the general public. It would be launched on the Space Shuttle and remain attached to the Shuttle as a Spacelab payload during astronomical observations, after which it would be returned to Earth for refurbishment prior to re-flight. Several flights were anticipated with a probable transition into a more extended mode of operation, possibly in association with a future space platform or space station. It's science legacy lives on via the Spitzer Data Archive. The sun shield protected the rest of the spacecraft from the Sun's heat, the far side of the spacecraft was painted black to enhance passive radiation of heat, and the spacecraft bus was thermally isolated from the telescope. In March 2006, astronomers reported an 80-light-year long (25 pc) nebula near the center of the Milky Way Galaxy, the Double Helix Nebula, which is, as the name implies, twisted into a double spiral shape. Please deactivate your ad blocker in order to see our subscription offer. In keeping with NASA tradition, the telescope was renamed after its successful demonstration of operation, on 18 December 2003. Ever since NASA launched Spitzer Space Telescope on August 25, 2003, it's been working overtime to return stunning infrared images and new insight into the wonders of our universe. Spitzer will try to help constrain the value of the Hubble constant by observing Cepheid variable stars, which feature a "relationship between the period of its variation and its brightness," Werner explained. "At the very short wavelengths where Warm Spitzer works is a unique niche to be able to measure the solar flux of something in the solar system," said principal investigator of the project David Trilling of Northern Arizona University. One of the goals of this extended mission was to help prepare for the James Webb Space Telescope, also an infrared telescope, by identifying candidates for more detailed observations. Placing the satellite in solar orbit far from Earth allowed innovative passive cooling. Starting in September 2006, the telescope participated in a series of surveys called the Gould Belt Survey, observing the Gould's Belt region in multiple wavelengths. It is stated that these detectors are 100 times more sensitive than what was once available at the beginning of the project during the 1980s. But, "we know almost nothing about any individual object," Trilling told SPACE.com. The satellite contains three instruments that allowed it to perform astronomical imaging and photometry from 3.6 to 160 micrometers, spectroscopy from 5.2 to 38 micrometers, and spectrophotometry from 5 to 100 micrometers. It would appear that such high speeds can arise only if the dust grains had been ejected by a bipolar outflow close to the star.