The Multiband Imaging Photometer (MIPS)

The Multiband Imaging Photometer is one of Spitzer's three science instruments. Like IRAC, it is an imaging camera, but it detects light in the far-infrared, at wavelengths of 24, 70 and 160 microns. MIPS is also capable of simple spectroscopy, like IRS. The detector array for the 24 micron mode is 128 x 128 pixels, and is made of silicon that has been specially treated with arsenic. The 70 micron and 160 micron arrays are much smaller 32 x 32 and 2 x 20 pixels. Both are made of germanium treated with gallium. The 70 micron detector array is also used to take the simple spectra from 50 - 100 microns.

MIPS can look at a 5 x 5 arcminute section of the sky at any one time at 24 microns. At 160 microns it observes a smaller patch of sky measuring 0.5 x 5 arcminutes.

The only moving part in MIPS is a scan mirror that is used to efficiently map large areas of sky.

CaptionThe Double Helix Nebula captured by Spitzer's MIPS.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/M. Morris (UCLA)