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24-Dec-03 | SIRTF renamed

NASA has announced the new name of SIRTF, jettisoning the ungainly Space Infrared Telescope Facility moniker. The orbiting observatory will now be known as the Spitzer Space Telescope, after Dr. Lyman Spitzer, Jr. (1914-1997).

Dr. Spitzer was “one of the 20th century’s most distinguished scientists [and] made significant contributions to the fields of stellar dynamics, the interstellar medium and plasma physics.” In 1946, he was the first to propose placing telescopes in space to eliminate aberrations caused by the Earth’s atmosphere; his efforts culminated in the Hubble Space Telescope.

The Spitzer Space Telescope has returned its first, astonishingly beautiful images — the future of infrared astronomy is bright and clear. (NASA Press Releases 03-411 and 03-414, 18-Dec-03)

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