What is NICMOS?

NICMOS stands for: Near Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer.

NICMOS can see the universe at near-infrared wavelengths more sensitively and in sharper detail than any other existing or planned telescope. What does that mean to astronomers? Infrared light, which falls between visible and radio waves on the electromagnetic spectrum, isn’t absorbed or scattered like visual light by the clouds of gas and dust found abundantly in the universe. Therefore, astronomers are able to see newly forming stars and measure the properties of the disks of dust particles believed to give birth to planetary systems. They are able to peer into the centers of galaxies, including our Milky Way, to study quasars and other exotic objects.

University of Arizona Professor Rodger Thompson and a 16-member science team developed the instrument.

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