[sweeping dramatic music]>>Narrator: For most of history, much of the sky was hidden. For there are many kinds of
light our eyes can’t see. And despite the use of
powerful technologies that made this light visible, the sky remained veiled
because our atmosphere blocked much of the light
from reaching the ground. But there was a plan. Four special telescopes that could fly above the atmosphere and into space, where they could see the
universe more clearly. Each one gifted with special abilities to see part of the hidden light. Joining forces, they would reveal a more complete picture
of the universe around us. They were The Great Observatories. [dramatic music] [gentle music] The Spitzer Space Telescope. Created to see the infrared universe. But because much of the infrared light comes from relatively cool
objects in the cosmos, there was one condition on which Spitzer’s special power rested. It had to be very, very, almost ridiculously cold in order to see the infrared world. Otherwise, the telescope’s own heat, and that of the earth around it, would overwhelm its special abilities. But Spitzer was up to the challenge. Once launched into space, high above the infrared absorbing atmosphere, it journeyed far from the
warm, infrared glow of Earth. It shielded itself from sweltering sun and chilled out using a
special cooling contraption it had brought. And as Spitzer cooled
down, the infrared sky came into view like never before. With its power of infrared sight, Spitzer could see through
clouds of dust in space to show the places where stars are born. Spitzer even studied alien
planets in other solar systems. Something even it’s creaters
never designed it to do! Together with the other
Great Observatories, Spitzer helped reveal many
distant and fascinating places across the universe. But after several years, Spitzer’s special cooling contraption ran out of juice, meaning it would soon warm up. Would this mean the end of
our hero’s observing days? Not Spitzer! There was still plenty of infrared things it could see just fine. And it just wouldn’t, just couldn’t quit. Many years later, having
revealed a whole side of the universe we would
not have seen without it, NASA’s infrared Great Observatory retired. But, because of their success, Spitzer and its space
telescope superfriends would not be the last of
The Great Observatories. Soon, another, powerful
infrared observer would follow, taking up the legacy of
those that came before. [climatic music]