Sensitive observations with the spacelab 2 infrared telescope

E. T. Young, G. H. Rieke, T. N. Gautier, W. F. Hoffmann, F. J. Low, W. Poteet, G. G. Fazio, D. Koch, W. A. Traub, E. W. Urban

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The small helium-cooled infrared telescope (Spacelab IRT) is a multiband instrument capable of highly sensitive observations from space. The experiment consists of a cryogenically cooled, very well baffled telescope with a ten channel focal plane array. During the Spacelab 2 flight of the Space Shuttle, this instrument will make observations between 5 and 120 μm wavelength that will be background limited by the expected zodiacal emission. Design considerations necessitated by this level of performance are discussed in this paper. In particular, the operation of a very sensitive focal plane array in the space environment is described. The Spacelab IRT will be used to map the extended, low-surface brightness celestial emission. During the seven day length of the mission better than 70% sky coverage is expected. The instrument will also be used to measure the infrared contamination environment of the Space Shuttle. This information will be important in the development of the next generation of infrared astronomical instruments. The performance of the Spacelab IRT, in particular its sensitivity to the contamination environment is detailed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)39-45
Number of pages7
JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
StatePublished - Aug 9 1983

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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