The citation for the award reads: "For outstanding science producing over 5,000 papers, 75,000+ hours of observation, and significant findings such as the first telescope to directly detect light from extrasolar planets."
Spitzer, which launched into space in 2003, continues to be one of the best telescopes for studying the atmospheres of exoplanets, or extrasolar planets -- planets outside our solar system. In 2005, it made the first-ever measurements of direct light from such a far-off world.
Now, in Spitzer's "warm" phase -- its coolant ran out in 2009 as planned -- Spitzer continues to collect and analyze light from exoplanets, setting the stage for future telescopes to use similar techniques on even smaller worlds more akin to Earth. In addition, the observatory's heat-sensitive infrared vision is used for other types of objects, both in our solar system and billions of light-years away.
"In the coming years, as the mission continues, we will be studying the most distant galaxies, exoplanets orbiting nearby stars, and small bodies in our own solar system," said Werner. "We are continuing to lay the foundation for
JPL manages the Spitzer Space Telescope mission for
For more information about Spitzer, visit:
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