A small helium-cooled infrared telescope for spacelab 2

T. N. Gautier, G. H. Rieke, F. J. Low, W. F. Hoffmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


A helium cooled telescope of 15 cm aperture is being designed and constructed jointly by the University of Arizona, the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and the Marshall Space Flight Center for high sensitivity infrared astronomical observations from Spacelab 2. A focal plane array of ten detectors provide a total field of view of 3° and cover the wavelength regions 4.5-8.5μm, 6-7μm, 9-16μm, 18-30μm and 80-120μm. A highly redundant all sky survey will be conducted by repeated scanning of the sky during many orbits of the spacecraft. High redundancy will allow discrimination among variable and constant celestial sources and several types of variable nearby sources. The principal astronomical result of the survey will be the absolute flux measurement of low surface brightness, large scale celestial infrared emissions but it will also extend existing IR sky surveys by a factor of 10 in point source sensitivity. The experiment will also make significant engineering measurements of contaminants in the Shuttle environment, test the technology of storage and utilization of large quantities of superfluid helium in space and test mechanical designs for future infrared telescopes for the Space Shuttle.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)264-270
Number of pages7
JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
StatePublished - May 3 1979

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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