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View Full Version : How Engineers Revamped Spitzer to Probe Exoplanets



ToSeek
2013-Sep-25, 12:27 AM
Thought this was pretty cool:

How Engineers Revamped Spitzer to Probe Exoplanets (http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?release=2013-289&cid=release_2013-289&utm_source=iContact&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=NASAJPL&utm_content=release+2013-289)


Since repurposing the Peak-Up Camera, astronomers have taken this process even further, by carefully "mapping" the quirks of a single pixel within the camera. They have essentially found a "sweet spot" that returns the most stable observations. About 90 percent of Spitzer's exoplanet observations are finely targeted to a sub-pixel level, down to a particular quarter of a pixel. "We can use the Peak-Up camera to position ourselves very precisely on the camera and put light right on the best part of a pixel," said Carey. "So you put the light on the sweet spot and just let Spitzer stare."

These three accomplishments -- the modified heater cycling, repurposed Peak-Up camera and the in-depth characterization of individual pixels in the camera -- have more than doubled Spitzer's stability and targeting, giving the telescope exquisite sensitivity when it comes to taking exoplanet measurements.

"Because of these engineering modifications, Spitzer has been transformed into an exoplanet-studying telescope," said Carey. "We expect plenty of great exoplanetary science to come from Spitzer in the future."

Hlafordlaes
2013-Sep-25, 03:43 PM
Another fine example of creative jerry-rigging from NASA. Reminds me of Apollo 13, only no duct tape.

I'm tempted to go get stuck on Mars' surface and let the fine folks back home let me know how to build a habitat from my ship. Don't think they'll be able to get me TIVO, though.

Solfe
2013-Sep-25, 04:54 PM
Another fine example of creative jerry-rigging from NASA. Reminds me of Apollo 13, only no duct tape.

I'm tempted to go get stuck on Mars' surface and let the fine folks back home let me know how to build a habitat from my ship. Don't think they'll be able to get me TIVO, though.

What would need TIVO for? You would be the only thing on every station, except TBS which would still show reruns of Family Guy until they lampooned that guy trapped on Mars.