Posted: Apr 10, 2010 10:39 am
by newolder
Stunning! :smile:

apod wrote:Spitzer's liquid helium coolant ran out in May 2009 ...

Where is Spitzer now?
125,629,190 kilometres is a long way to go to top it up. What's the ambient temperature there? :ask:

http://spitzer.caltech.edu/

Artist's Conception of Spitzer Giving an Interview
Image
NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope is about to use its last drop of the coolant that has chilled it for the past five-and-a-half years. On about May 12, give or take a week or so, the observatory is predicted to run out of the liquid helium that has run through its veins, keeping its infrared detectors at frosty operating temperatures of just a few degrees above the coldest temperature possible, called absolute zero.

The spacecraft, which is now in orbit around the sun more than 100-million kilometers (62-million miles) behind Earth, will heat up just a bit -- its instruments will warm up from - 456 degrees Fahrenheit (-271 Celsius) to - 404 degrees Fahrenheit (-242 Celsius). This is still way colder than an ice cube, which is about 32 degrees Fahrenheit. More importantly, it is still cold enough for some of Spitzer's infrared detectors to keep on probing the cosmos for at least two more years.

and a blog...
blog wrote:There's always something special about running across something in an unexpected context. But living here in Los Angeles somehow the standard metric of penetrating into pop culture is television and movies.
 
It turns out that this has been a particularly good year for imagery from Spitzer and other missions here at Caltech to make it into the media, and I'm always excited if it's in something I watch on a regular basis. In the last couple of weeks I've run across a Spitzer/Hubble composite of the Orion Nebula tacked onto a wall in Sheldon's apartment in "Big Bang Theory," and a special feature on the "Stargate Universe" DVD collection includes a great ultraviolet shot of the galaxy M33 from the Galex mission.

Having worked with both of those images it's hard for me not to notice... though reviewing older episodes of "Big Bang Theory" I realize the Orion picture has been there at least since last season. I guess I need to work on the powers of observation after all.

Orion in the infrared has been popular in the last year; I also spotted the Spitzer view used as a backdrop for a fleet of Goa'uld starships in "Stargate Continuum." 

Other sharp eyes around the Spitzer Science Center have caught some other cameos recently. NGC 1333 flashed up briefly in a Winter Olympics snowboarders ad, and Eta Carinae loomed over Will Ferrell movie "Stranger than Fiction."

Last month I made perhaps the oddest public sighting of a Spitzer image. While riding the Washington DC metro I caught a glimpse of the Sombrero Galaxy used as an inset in an ad for... a dentist.

Really? Maybe it looks like an open mouth to someone, but hey, I love seeing this stuff regardless of how non sequitur it may be!