FRED ESPENAK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY FRED ESPENAK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
The open dome of NASA's Infrared Telescope Facility (IRTF) at the observatory near the 4270 metre summit of Mauna Kea, Hawaii. At such a height, astronomers are above 60 percent of the Earth's atmosphere & most of the water vapour, which hinder astronomical observations in the infrared region at sea level. The IRTF building houses a 3-metre telescope which is used to study planets & cool stars often surrounded by dust. The dome in the background is that of the Canadian- French-Hawaiian Telescope (CFHT).
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