Kuiper Airborne Observatory
Also found in: Dictionary
Kuiper Airborne Observatory: see infrared astronomyinfrared astronomy,
study of celestial objects by means of the infrared radiation they emit, in the wavelength range from about 1 micrometer to about 1 millimeter. All objects, from trees and buildings on the earth to distant galaxies, emit infrared (IR) radiation.
..... Click the link for more information. .
Kuiper Airborne Observatory (kÿ -per) (KAO) An infrared and submillimeter observatory operated by NASA between 1975 and 1996, operationally based at the AMES Airforce base, California, and flown on a Lockheed C141 ‘Starlifter’. The plane normally flew at over 36 000 ft (nearly 11 000 meters), above most of the atmosphere's IR-absorbing water vapor. A 0.9-meter diameter Nasmyth Cassegrain telescope, mounted on an air bearing to reduce vibration, looked out of the aircraft through an uncovered aperture; a pressure bulkhead separating it from the operators. Observations, usually at wavelengths longer than 30 μm, were made with cryogenically cooled photometers, spectrometers, and interferometers. The observatory was named after the Dutch-born US astronomer Gerard P. Kuiper. See also SOFIA.