Kuiper Airborne Observatory


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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.
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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.
References in periodicals archive ?
* 1995: SOFIA's predecessor, the Kuiper Airborne Observatory, is retired.
Larson of the University of Arizona in Tucson reports that an April 11 observation by the Kuiper Airborne Observatory, flying over New Zealand, gave evidence for dust that could be ejecta from the supernova precursor or interstellar material.
The 37-micron view of this celestial showpiece seen at left was obtained by a wide-field infrared camera aboard the Kuiper Airborne Observatory. At these wavelengths, diffuse emission arises chiefly from warm dust on the periphery of the molecular cloud in which a cluster of newly-formed stars, shining brightly at the center of the field, is embedded.
To date CPC campaigners have observed Chiron from McDonald Observatory, the Multiple Mirror Telescope, Kitt Peak, Cerro Tololo, Mauna Kea, the Kuiper Airborne Observatory, South African Astronomical Observatory, Wise Observatory, and Pic du Midi.
A team aboard the Kuiper Airborne Observatory found the infrared signatures of acetylene ([C.sub.2][H.sub.2]) and ethane ([C.sub.2][H.sub.6]), evidence that the comets dumped their energy high in the atmosphere and failed to punch through three closely spaced cloud decks riding lower down in the troposphere.
Managers of the Kuiper Airborne Observatory, a high-flying observatory that specializes in infrared work, have postponed a major inspection and overhaul of the craft until September, so that its 36-inch telescope can monitor the events on Jupiter as they unfold.
It established the craft's potential as a flying astronomical facility in the tradition of the Kuiper Airborne Observatory and similar aircraft that have been converted for research.