Launch and Acquisition Phase

The Space Infrared Telescope Facility will lift off from Space Launch Complex 17B at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. At the moment of launch, six solid rocket boosters and the liquid-fueled main engine will ignite. At 76.5 seconds after liftoff, those six solid rocket boosters will burn out, and will be jettisoned about four seconds later. At 79 seconds after launch, three additional solid rocket boosters will ignite and burn until 2 minutes, 36 seconds after launch, and then will be...

Colors and Chemicals

Astronomers often determine the chemical makeup of an object in space by using an instrument based on the simple prism that separates a beam of light scrutinizing the spectrum of colors in light given off by that object. For example, the atoms in a particular object, say a star, absorb light at certain frequencies and emit light at other frequencies. This results in very finely etched lines in the color spectrum from the star, what scientists refer to as absorption lines and emission lines....