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Published September 1978 | public
Journal Article

Instrumentation for Infrared Astronomy


Over the last 10 years infrared astronomy from 2 µm to 1000 µm has blossomed into a major field of observational astrophysics. This development would have been impossible without two major technical advances. First, extremely sensitive detectors have been developed and become available for astronomical applications. As detector sensitivity increased, the new astrophysical problems that could be explored as a consequence spurred on concomitant instrument sophistication. Secondly, and also motivated by the first development, major groups have expended much effort in building and operating telescopes above most or all of the earth's atmosphere, in order to circumvent its opacity and emission throughout the range. As wavelengths longer than 30 µm became available to observers, it became clear (cf the review article by Neugebauer, Becklin & Hyland 1971) that many sources are unexpectedly bright in that previously inaccessible wavelength region. This also provided impetus to improve the selection of available instrumentation.

Additional Information

© 1978 Annual Reviews. It is a pleasure to thank our many colleagues who provided us with descriptions of their instrumentation and those who provided figures used in this article. F. Gillett, M. Harwit, J. Houck, H. Larson, K. Matthews, G. Neugebauer, M. Werner, and S. Willner were kind enough to read and comment on a draft of the manuscript. Special thanks go to Dawn Pedersen, Linda Van Vliet, Sharon Hage, and Alice Pruett for typing various stages of the manuscript. Infrared astronomy at the University of California, San Diego, California Institute of Technology, and the University of Rochester is funded by grants from the NSF and NASA.

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