Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Spitzer ist Spitze!

If my rusty German isn't failing me, the headline means approximately "Spitzer is the tops!"

The Spitzer Space Telescope is a telescope launched in August 2003. It is slowly drifting away from Earth (on purpose!) and taking cool pictures of the Universe in infrared light.

Currently, my office mates are busy writing proposals to use this telescope over the next year. A telescope proposal is a tricky thing to write, especially for a telescope like Spitzer or the Hubble, where many more people want to use the telescope than time is available. Only once a year can scientists propose to use these telescopes, so you have to think ahead and try and make your science sound more interesting than the next person's science.

So, for the past few weeks, my friends have been pouring over lists of interesting targets, trying to calculate exactly how much time they would need to get their desired science complete. The deadline is tomorrow at 1pm local time, and I suspect that they will not get much sleep tonight. Today I've been trying to stay out of their hair as much as possible.

I can relax this time. The science I am currently doing doesn't gain a lot of knowledge from the infrared light, so it is not a good use of my time to write such a proposal. But I'll keep my fingers crossed for my friends' projects!

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