This engineering image derives from 100 seconds of observing time on one of the three science instruments aboard the Space InfraRed Telescope Facility (SIRTF). SIRTF was launched on August 25, and opened up its focal plane to starlight on August 30. This image was obtained as part of the instrument power-on sequence on September 1, one week after launch and a full month before the telescope is expected to reach optimal operating temperature and focus. The stars and galaxies seen in this image already attest to the observatory's great sensitivity in the infrared and to its proper operation.
For a full-resolution, annotated version of this image, please select Figure 1, below:
Photojournal note: The Space Infrared Telescope Facility (SIRTF) telescope was renamed the Spitzer Space Telescope on December 18, 2003, after the late Dr. Lyman Spitzer, in a contest which was open to the general public.