Kuiper Airborne Infrared Observatory

Kuiper Airborne Infrared Observatory

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Credit: NASA/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Photograph of the Gerard P. Kuiper Airbourne Observatory, a Lockheed C141 Starlifter aircraft modified to carry a 36 inch infrared reflecting telescope. Infrared (IR) radiation is strongly absorbed by the Earth's atmosphere, but an aircraft flying at 39, 000 ft (12 km) is above 85% of the atmosphere and more than 99% of the water vapour, the main attenuator of IR radiation. The telescope is installed in the open cavity in the port side of the aircraft, immediately ahead of the wing and is operated from consoles in the pressurised cabin. Retractable, porous spoilers are located in front of the opening to minimise pressure fluctuations within the cavity.

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Keywords: airborne, airborne infrared, airborne infrared observator, airplane, astronomy, astrophysics, infrared, kuiper airborne observatory, observatory, plane, telescope

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