Spitzer Documentation & Tools
High Level Overview

The Multiband Imaging Photometer for Spitzer (MIPS) produced imaging and photometry in three broad spectral bands, centered nominally at 24, 70, and 160 microns, and low-resolution spectroscopy between 55 and 95 microns. The instrument contains three separate detector arrays each of which resolves the telescope Airy disk with pixels of size lambda/2D or smaller. All three arrays viewed the sky simultaneously; multiband imaging at a given point was provided via telescope motions. The 24 micron camera has roughly a 5 arcminute square field of view (FOV). The 70 micron camera was designed to have a 5 arcminute square FOV, but a cabling problem compromised the outputs of half the array; the remaining side (“side A”) provides a FOV that is roughly 2.5' by 5'. The 160 µm array projects to the equivalent of a 0.5' by 5' FOV and fills in a 2' by 5' image by multiple exposures. The 70 micron array also has a narrow FOV/higher magnification mode and a spectroscopic mode.

There are four basic operating modes and associated Astronomical Observation Templates (AOTs) for MIPS. The Scan Mapping AOT is used to image large areas of the sky in one or more bands nearly simultaneously. The Photometry and Super Resolution AOT is used to image sources smaller than about 2' diameter, including point sources. The Spectral Energy Distribution (SED) AOT is used to obtain low-resolution (R~20) spectra in the 70 micron band. The Total Power (TP) AOT is used to measure the absolute brightness of highly extended emission, e.g., zodiacal light. Each AOT includes a number of options, providing good flexibility for observations.

MIPS Pocket Guide (PDF, 114 KB)