DR SETH SHOSTAK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR SETH SHOSTAK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Model of IRAS (Infrared Astronomical Satellite) circling the earth. IRAS was launched from the Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, on January 26, 1983. It was placed in a near-polar orbit 900 km (560 miles) high, & it circled the Earth 14 times a day. IRAS consisted of a 60-cm infrared telescope, supercooled to 2 degrees above absolute zero (-271 degrees Celsius). Unhampered by Earth's atmosphere, which absorbs infrared radiation, the satellite performed an all-sky survey for sources of infrared emission & provided a catalogue of infrared sources & infrared sky maps.
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