infrared telescope


Also found in: Acronyms, Wikipedia.

infrared telescope

(flux collector) A reflecting telescope used to detect and study infrared radiation from space; refractors cannot be employed because glass is opaque at these wavelengths. The mirror surface does not, however, need to be made to the same accuracy as one used for optical work because of the longer wavelengths of infrared radiation. Since neither the eye nor the photographic plate is sensitive to long-wavelength infrared radiation, special infrared detectors are required, such as photovoltaic and photoconductive detectors and bolometers. The detectors, and in some cases the telescope optics, must be cooled to liquid-helium or liquid-nitrogen temperatures to reduce thermal emission from the instruments themselves and hence noise. As an alternative to active cooling by cryogenic liquids, space telescopes can be allowed to cool radiatively, i.e. passively, by being shielded from direct sunlight.

Infrared telescopes can detect sources partly or totally obscured at optical wavelengths by interstellar dust, and can identify those that are true infrared sources rather than highly reddened ordinary stars. Because water vapor in the Earth's atmosphere absorbs infrared radiation (see atmospheric windows), the most advanced work is carried out with specially designed telescopes, such as the UK Infrared Telescope, at high-altitude observatories or with airborne or space observatories, such as KAO, IRAS, and ISO. Infrared telescopes can operate day and night.

infrared telescope

[¦in·frə¦red ′tel·ə‚skōp]
(optics)
An instrument that converts an invisible infrared image into a visible image and enlarges this image, consisting of an infrared image converter tube, an objective lens for imaging the scene to be viewed onto the photocathode of the tube, and an ocular for viewing the phosphor screen of the tube.
References in periodicals archive ?
The United Kingdom Infrared Telescope has produced stunning images of blazing young stars in the constellation of Orion
Despite certain limitations, astronomers in the early 1960s quickly adapted the new germanium bolometers to infrared telescopes in ground observatories.
It was built from a converted C-141 military cargo plane and was equipped with a 91-cm reflecting infrared telescope. During its 22 years of service as a flying lab, KAO helped researchers discover the rings around Uranus and identify Pluto's atmosphere.
VISIONS: Star trails as the United Kingdom Infrared Telescope watches the night sky Picture: NIK SZYMANEK
The Space Infrared Telescope Facility, known as SIRTF, is the last of four Nasa spacecraft designed to peer deeper into the universe using an array of tools that measure light of varying wavelengths.
But Webb, an infrared telescope, is so big a step that no instrument in other bands of the spectrum can match it.
Using a single 2.4-meter-diameter mirror, the infrared telescope will feature a field of view 100 times larger than that of Hubble to help researchers unravel the secrets of dark energy and dark matter, and explore the evolution of the cosmos.
Yeomans said the most efficient way to find them would be a space-based infrared telescope. This has two benefits: One, the sun would not serve to prevent detection of some objects, and two, the infrared nature of the telescope would mean it would be effective in detecting them.
Lonsdale led WISE's quasar survey team that picked out the brightest, reddest objects this infrared telescope had mapped.
But subsequent observations by Richard Binzel and Francesca DeMeo of MIT using NASA's Infrared Telescope Facility in Hawaii indicated that the objects were only about half that size.
The apparent damage seen via infrared telescope in Hawaii come on the 15th anniversary of another strike.
The scientists studied both chunks using NASA's Infrared Telescope Facility and the Keck II telescope, both on Hawaii's Mauna Kea.

Full browser ?