Volume 4 Issue 4, April 2020

Volume 4 Issue 4

A Spitzer retrospective

This issue celebrates the legacy of the Spitzer Space Telescope mission, one of NASA’s Great Observatories, which came to a conclusion earlier this year. Spitzer’s infrared view of the Universe brought many great discoveries across the breadth of astronomy and planetary science, summarised here in a variety of Reviews and other articles.

See Spitzer Insight Collection https://www.nature.com/collections/cabbfadjgg/

Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/R. Hurt (IPAC). Cover Design: Allen Beattie.

Editorial

  • Editorial |

    The Spitzer Space Telescope recently ceased operations, powering down its remaining detector after more than a decade and a half of revealing the infrared Universe. Its legacy will be continued by far more expensive missions that will have big boots to fill.

Correspondence

Comment & Opinion

  • Comment |

    A recent national survey on behalf of the French Society of Astronomy and Astrophysics highlights the elitism and gender discrimination faced by women — particularly women educated in universities rather than grandes écoles — when applying for permanent positions in astronomy in France.

    • Olivier Berné
    •  & Alexia Hilaire
  • Q&A |

    In 2010, the Spitzer Space Telescope detected evidence of a complex form of carbon that had never been seen in extraterrestrial environments. Jan Cami recounts the discovery of buckminsterfullerene in space.

    • Paul Woods
  • Q&A |

    Michael Werner, project scientist of the Spitzer Space Telescope and emeritus chief scientist for astronomy and physics at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, discusses the legacy of one of NASA’s Great Observatories.

    • Paul Woods

Books & Arts

Research Highlights

News & Views

Reviews

Research

  • Letter |

    The long-term evolution and stratigraphy of the CO2 ice residual southern polar cap of Mars can be explained by a model that includes the active coupling of near-surface CO2 with the atmosphere through the permeable H2O ice layers.

    • P. B. Buhler
    • , A. P. Ingersoll
    • , S. Piqueux
    • , B. L. Ehlmann
    •  & P. O. Hayne
  • Letter |

    Spectroscopic simulations of exoplanetary atmospheres show that our best chance to detect molecular oxygen lies in the 6.4-μm band of collision-induced absorptions. The first detections could be possible with the James Webb Space Telescope.

    • Thomas J. Fauchez
    • , Geronimo L. Villanueva
    • , Edward W. Schwieterman
    • , Martin Turbet
    • , Giada Arney
    • , Daria Pidhorodetska
    • , Ravi K. Kopparapu
    • , Avi Mandell
    •  & Shawn D. Domagal-Goldman
  • Letter |

    Most stars in the Galactic nuclear disk formed at least 8 Gyr ago, with a starburst event about 1 Gyr ago that formed roughly 5% of its mass. This long quiescence has implications on when the Galactic bar was formed and its gas transport efficiency.

    • Francisco Nogueras-Lara
    • , Rainer Schödel
    • , Aurelia Teresa Gallego-Calvente
    • , Eulalia Gallego-Cano
    • , Banafsheh Shahzamanian
    • , Hui Dong
    • , Nadine Neumayer
    • , Michael Hilker
    • , Francisco Najarro
    • , Shogo Nishiyama
    • , Anja Feldmeier-Krause
    • , Julien H. V. Girard
    •  & Santi Cassisi
  • Letter |

    Bright star $$\nu$$ν Indi shows elevated levels of alpha-process elements, suggesting great age, and is kinematically heated, probably from the merger of a dwarf galaxy with the Milky Way. Chaplin et al. make a case for $$\nu$$ν Indi being an accurate indicator of the timing for the Gaia–Enceladus merger.

    • William J. Chaplin
    • , Aldo M. Serenelli
    • , Andrea Miglio
    • , Thierry Morel
    • , J. Ted Mackereth
    • , Fiorenzo Vincenzo
    • , Hans Kjeldsen
    • , Sarbani Basu
    • , Warrick H. Ball
    • , Amalie Stokholm
    • , Kuldeep Verma
    • , Jakob Rørsted Mosumgaard
    • , Victor Silva Aguirre
    • , Anwesh Mazumdar
    • , Pritesh Ranadive
    • , H. M. Antia
    • , Yveline Lebreton
    • , Joel Ong
    • , Thierry Appourchaux
    • , Timothy R. Bedding
    • , Jørgen Christensen-Dalsgaard
    • , Orlagh Creevey
    • , Rafael A. García
    • , Rasmus Handberg
    • , Daniel Huber
    • , Steven D. Kawaler
    • , Mikkel N. Lund
    • , Travis S. Metcalfe
    • , Keivan G. Stassun
    • , Michäel Bazot
    • , Paul G. Beck
    • , Keaton J. Bell
    • , Maria Bergemann
    • , Derek L. Buzasi
    • , Othman Benomar
    • , Diego Bossini
    • , Lisa Bugnet
    • , Tiago L. Campante
    • , Zeynep Çelik Orhan
    • , Enrico Corsaro
    • , Lucía González-Cuesta
    • , Guy R. Davies
    • , Maria Pia Di Mauro
    • , Ricky Egeland
    • , Yvonne P. Elsworth
    • , Patrick Gaulme
    • , Hamed Ghasemi
    • , Zhao Guo
    • , Oliver J. Hall
    • , Amir Hasanzadeh
    • , Saskia Hekker
    • , Rachel Howe
    • , Jon M. Jenkins
    • , Antonio Jiménez
    • , René Kiefer
    • , James S. Kuszlewicz
    • , Thomas Kallinger
    • , David W. Latham
    • , Mia S. Lundkvist
    • , Savita Mathur
    • , Josefina Montalbán
    • , Benoit Mosser
    • , Andres Moya Bedón
    • , Martin Bo Nielsen
    • , Sibel Örtel
    • , Ben M. Rendle
    • , George R. Ricker
    • , Thaíse S. Rodrigues
    • , Ian W. Roxburgh
    • , Hossein Safari
    • , Mathew Schofield
    • , Sara Seager
    • , Barry Smalley
    • , Dennis Stello
    • , Róbert Szabó
    • , Jamie Tayar
    • , Nathalie Themeßl
    • , Alexandra E. L. Thomas
    • , Roland K. Vanderspek
    • , Walter E. van Rossem
    • , Mathieu Vrard
    • , Achim Weiss
    • , Timothy R. White
    • , Joshua N. Winn
    •  & Mutlu Yıldız
  • Article |

    Star DMPP-1 hosts a compact, four-planet system comprising three irradiated super-Earth-mass planets and one Neptune-mass planet, discovered through radial velocity measurements and the star’s anomalously low chromospheric emission.

    • D. Staab
    • , C. A. Haswell
    • , J. R. Barnes
    • , G. Anglada-Escudé
    • , L. Fossati
    • , J. P. J. Doherty
    • , J. Cooper
    • , J. S. Jenkins
    • , M. R. Díaz
    •  & M. G. Soto
  • Article |

    This Article provides an overview of the Dispersed Matter Planet Project, a programme to discover close-in exoplanets being ablated by their host stars by means of the stars’ anomalously low chromospheric emission. One example is presented here: DMPP-2 hosts a sub-Jupiter-mass planet around a γ Doradus pulsator.

    • Carole A. Haswell
    • , Daniel Staab
    • , John R. Barnes
    • , Guillem Anglada-Escudé
    • , Luca Fossati
    • , James S. Jenkins
    • , Andrew J. Norton
    • , James P. J. Doherty
    •  & Joseph Cooper
  • Article |

    The third target of the Dispersed Matter Planet Project, DMPP-3, is an unusual binary system containing a solar-type star ablating a super-Earth-mass planet, along with a very low mass secondary.

    • John R. Barnes
    • , Carole A. Haswell
    • , Daniel Staab
    • , Guillem Anglada-Escudé
    • , Luca Fossati
    • , James P. J. Doherty
    • , Joseph Cooper
    • , James S. Jenkins
    • , Matías R. Díaz
    • , Maritza G. Soto
    •  & Pablo A. Peña Rojas

Amendments & Corrections

Mission Control

  • Mission Control |

    The Spitzer Space Telescope may be modest in size compared to its optical counterparts, but the low temperatures of its optics gave its infrared instruments excellent sensitivity, explains Facility Scientist Thomas Roellig.

    • Thomas L. Roellig