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Space.com's NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope is no more. Here's what's next for infrared astronomy. says:

The best infrared eye in the universe has closed, and scientists will need to wait at least a year before any similar instrument is at work again.

NASA turned off its Spitzer Space Telescope yesterday (Jan. 30), ending a 16-year mission. The agency at first stretched the observatory's tenure to overlap with that of the next great infrared space telescope, the James Webb Space Telescope. But as that instrument continued to miss schedule targets, with a March 2021 launch currently targeted, NASA eventually concluded that a year's gap in infrared observations of the universe wouldn't harm science.

And so yesterday, NASA said farewell to the Spitzer and scientists said farewell to fresh data about the infrared cosmos.

Question: If and when the James Webb Space Telescope is finally launched, deployed, and gets up and running, will it be able to see the Spitzer Space Telescope? Spitzer will stay around 1 AU and with no coolant or functioning refrigerators at least parts of it will get fairly warm from the Sun, and with its huge aperture and its infrared camera MIRI that works from 5 to 28 microns, JWST can see warm objects nicely.

that we know of at least.


Farewell, Spitzer Space Telescope!

above: from Space.com's Farewell, Spitzer Space Telescope! NASA shuts down prolific observatory.

NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope's career had three phases, seen in this visualization. It was designed to stay cool, operating at temperatures as low as minus 450 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 267 degrees Celsius). In 2009, Spitzer ended its "cold mission" when it exhausted its supply of helium coolant, but it was able to avoid warming up too much, thanks to its increasing distance from Earth. Spitzer's "warm mission" has lasted for over a decade, nearly twice as long as the cold mission. (Image credit: NASA/Youtube)

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