The Nature Research Letter A Pluto-like radius and a high albedo for the dwarf planet Eris from an occultation (also here and here) says about half-way through:

We now reassess Eris’ surface temperature in the light of our new results. Measurements by the Spitzer22 and IRAM11 satellites imply disk-averaged brightness temperatures of Tb=30±1.2 K and Tb=38±7.5 K at 70 and 1,200 mm, respectively.

  • 11Bertoldi,F.F.Altenhoff,W.Weiss,A.,Menten,K.M.&Thum,C.Thetrans-neptunian object UB313 is larger than Pluto. Nature 439, 563–564 (2006).

  • 22Stansberry, J. et al. in The Solar System beyond Neptune (eds Barucci, M. A., Boehnhardt, H., Cruikshank, D. P. & Morbidelli, A.) 161–179 (Univ. Arizona Press, 2008).

The caption of Figure 1 of reference 11 (Bertoldi et al. 2006) mentions:

The 117-element MAMBO-2 camera has an effective frequency for thermal radiation of 250 GHz, a half-power bandwidth of 80 GHz (210–290 GHz), and a beam size of 10.7 arcsec (corresponding to 760,000 km at a distance of 96 AU).

and I think it refers to

Question: Is the use of the word satellites in "Measurements by the Spitzer22 and IRAM11 satellites..." correct, or does the latter refer to terrestrial measurments?

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Nice Question ! $\endgroup$ Oct 9, 2020 at 15:36

1 Answer 1


The Nature paper by Bertoldi et al. (2006) says:

Our millimetre observations were performed with the Max-Planck Millimeter Bolometer (MAMBO-2) array detector at the IRAM 30 m telescope on Pico Veleta, Spain.

This is a ground-based telescope in the Spanish Sierra Nevada mountains at 2850m to try and get above as much of the precipitable water vapor, which has a very large effect on sub-mm observations, as possible. Its website is here

Since it's common to refer to the Spitzer and its predecessor, the IRAS mission, when discussing far-infrared observations, I suspect the authors typed "IRAM", thought "IRAS (satellite)" and made a simple typo that was not caught before publication.


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