DAVID NUNUK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DAVID NUNUK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
United Kingdom Infrared Telescope (UKIRT). Dome of UKIRT, the world's largest infrared telescope, at sunrise. UKIRT is situated at an altitude of 4200 metres on the summit of the dormant volcano Mauna Kea in Hawaii, USA. The dome houses a 3.8 metre primary mirror and a wide range of scientific instruments. The mirror can accommodate four detectors at once, switching between them by rotating a flat mirror. Mauna Kea's high altitude and stable, dry atmosphere make it one of the world's best sites for astronomical observations. It is sited above 40% of the Earth's atmosphere and above most of the water vapour that prevents infrared astronomy at lower altitudes.
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