The first colorful and revealing cosmic images from
NASA’s Space Infrared Telescope Facility (SIRTF) will be
unveiled at a news conference Thursday, Dec. 18. NASA
Administrator Sean O’Keefe will also announce a new name for
the observatory.

The event begins at 1 p.m. EST in NASA’s James Webb
Auditorium, 300 E St. S.W., Washington. At 1:30 p.m. EST, new
images from the orbiting observatory will be released at a
press briefing featuring a panel whose members will discuss
the telescope’s early observations. Both events will be
carried live on NASA Television, with two-way question-and-
answer capability from participating NASA centers.

SIRTF, launched August 25, 2003, from Cape Canaveral, Fla.,
uses state-of-the-art infrared detectors to pierce the dusty
darkness enshrouding such celestial objects as galaxies,
stars and planet-forming discs around stars. It is the fourth
of NASA’s Great Observatories, which include the Hubble Space
Telescope, Chandra X-ray Observatory and Compton Gamma Ray

The new name for the mission was selected after a naming
contest that drew 7,000 entries from around the world.

Participants in the 1 p.m. naming event:

  • Sean O’Keefe, NASA Administrator
  • Dr. Edward Weiler, NASA’s Associate Administrator for Space Science

Participants in the 1:30 p.m. press briefing:

  • Dr. Edward Weiler, NASA’s Associate Administrator for Space Science
  • Dr. Michael Werner, project scientist, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
  • Dr. John Norris Bahcall, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, N.J.
  • Dr. Giovanni Fazio, principal investigator for the infrared-array camera science instrument, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, Mass.
  • Dr. James Houck, principal investigator for the infrared-spectrograph science instrument, Cornell University, Ithaca,
  • N.Y.
  • Dr. George Rieke, principal investigator for the multiband-imaging photometer science instrument, University of Arizona, Tucson, Ariz.

NASA Television is available on AMC-9, transponder 9C, C-
Band, located at 85 degrees west longitude. The frequency is
3880.0 MHz. Polarization is vertical, and audio is monaural
at 6.80 MHz. Reporters who would like to listen to events’
audio should call: 818/354-6666. Additional listen-only
service is available by calling: 321/867-1220/1240/1260.

The briefing will be webcast live and archived for later
viewing at:

For more information about SIRTF on the Internet, visit:

SIRTF is part of NASA’s Origins program, which seeks to
answer the questions: Where did we come from? Are we alone?
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., manages
the mission for NASA’s Office of Space Science, Washington.
Science operations are conducted at the SIRTF Science Center
at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

For more information about NASA on the Internet, visit: