PETER MENZEL / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY PETER MENZEL / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Airborne infrared astronomy. Astronomers seen during a flight of the Kuiper Airborne Observatory (KAO). The screen displays show the image made by the alignment telescope (left) and the infrared telescope (right). The KAO is a converted Lockheed C-141A Starlifter aircraft, containing a 90-cm infrared telescope. Flying at up to 12,500 metres, the KAO can cruise well above most of the atmospheric water vapour which absorbs far- infrared radiation. The KAO also contains computerised data reduction and analysis stations. Operated by NASA, the first flight of the KAO was in January 1992. The astronomers are Alan Meyer (left) and Roger Hildebrand.
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