Celebrating 6002 days of the Spitzer Space Telescope, by Dr Olivia Jones – ONLINE
April 12, 2021 @ 7:15 pm
The Spitzer Space Telescope, launched in 2003 and retired in January 2020, was one of NASA’s four Great Observatories. It operated at infrared wavelengths and has revolutionised our understanding of the Universe – from our own Solar System and exoplanets, to the most distant galaxies. Spitzer succeeded beyond our wildest expectations. Here, Dr Jones will showcase some of Spitzer’s science highlights and outstanding infrared images taken during its 16-year mission. She will also discuss Spitzer’s successor, the much-awaited James Webb Space Telescope which will be launched from French Guiana later this year and will build on Spitzer’s legacy. Webb is 1,000 times more powerful than Spitzer, and will take infrared observations to the next level, hopefully observing the very first galaxies formed after the Big Bang and potentially the chemical signatures of life on distant planets.
Dr Olivia Jones is a Rutherford international fellow, based at the UK Astronomy Centre at the Royal Observatory Edinburgh. She received her PhD from the Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics in 2013, and then worked at the Space Telescope Science Institute (the home to Hubble and Webb mission operations) prior to moving to Scotland. She is an expert in infrared astronomy and researches the beginnings and ends of stellar evolution in nearby galaxies. She is currently a member of the Webb instrument team and will be supporting its launch, commissioning and first observations later this year.
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