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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.
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.
After an initial period of activity, the formation of stars in the Galactic Centre has remained dormant for billions of years. The hibernation ended by a star-formation episode that could be due to the Milky Way interacting with other galaxies.
Volcanic and tectonic global maps of the inner planets and the Moon allow conclusions about the long-term volcanic behaviour of terrestrial planets and hint at the most promising extrasolar planets to look for active, radiogenically driven volcanism.
The Spitzer Space Telescope made huge advances in the study of debris disks around main-sequence stars and white dwarfs, increasing their number by an order of magnitude, and leading the way for the next generation of space-based infrared missions.
Spitzer revealed the power of astrophysical polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon molecules to probe the local physical and chemical conditions and processes, for example, establishing the relation between their abundance and galaxy metallicity for the first time.
Spitzer revolutionized studies of active galactic nuclei through its high sensitivity and mapping speed at mid-infrared wavelengths. This Review summarizes key Spitzer insights on active galactic nuclei, including the properties of their dust and shocked gas.
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.
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.
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.
Bright star $$\nu$$ 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 $$\nu$$ Indi being an accurate indicator of the timing for the Gaia–Enceladus merger.
Coupling a global surface hydrology model to an existing atmospheric model of Titan reproduces the observed variable climate and distribution of surface liquid, with possible implications for an unobserved methane reservoir on Titan.
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.
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.
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.