Space telescopes have the advantage of being over the blurring results of the Earth's atmosphere. In addition, over there are countless wavelengths native the electromagnetic spectrum that do not reach Earth because they are took in or reflect by the Earth's atmosphere. In fact, together you have the right to see indigenous the chart below, it is only the wavelength of visible light, a small part of infrared, and also a part of the radio wavelengths that reach earth at all. To observe ultraviolet, x-rays, gamma beam or infrared, astronomers have had actually to put telescopes outside of Earth's environment -normally in orbit roughly the Earth.

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Infrared Astronomy


Water vapor in the atmosphere absorbs much of the infrared radiation from room so the infrared observatories on planet are located on high, dry mountains such as Mauna Kea in Hawaii. Even at high altitudes, however, the quality of observations in infrared is limited. The best solution for infrared observing is to put a telescope in orbit over the Earth and use radio to send data ago to Earth. The Herschel room Observatory was launched in might 2009 and the Spitzer space Telescope was introduced in august 2003. Herschel's major mirror is 3.5 meter in diameter and the telescope is designed for infrared wavelengths from 55 to 672 µm. Spitzer's main mirror is 0.85 meters across and that is designed for wavelengths of 3 to 180 µm. Infrared observatories in space must it is in kept very cold because otherwise infrared radiation native the telescope itself would certainly interfere with its capability to watch infrared radiation indigenous space. Spitzer tired its fluid helium coolant in 2009 and also only a few of its instruments are still gift used. Herschel's mission concerned an finish in 2013, as soon as it additionally ran the end of coolant.

Astronomers research the infrared wavelengths to examine the early on universe and also to learn about objects that are too cold to generate visible light consisting of brown dwarf stars and also dust clouds.

Visible Wavelengths


Visible wavelengths make it through Earth's atmosphere, but turbulence in the atmosphere causes images that stars to it is in blurred and also spread out by at least 0.5", even at the best observing website in the world. The Hubble space Telescope observes native an orbit around 559 km over the earth at wavelength from close to infrared v the visible range and right into the ultraviolet. It has a 2.4 meter main mirror. It was put into orbit in 1990 and had a significant repair in 1993. In might 2009 it was serviced again and also should last until its successor, the James Webb room Telescope (JWST), is launched in 2021. The JWST will certainly be optimized for infrared observation, however, and also ground based observatories will be the main resource of monitorings in the visible range when Hubble is no much longer able to operate. The Kepler room Telescope was introduced in March, 2009 and was active until November 2018. It had actually a 1.4 meter diameter primary mirror, and also observed in the visible and also infrared variety of wavelengths. It had actually a very big field of view and was used to find for planet sized planets in ~ our galaxy. That detected 2,662 planets throughout its mission.

X-ray Astronomy


X-ray telescopes do it feasible to examine objects v temperatures between 106 and also 108 K (between about 1 million and also 100 million °C). When atoms in a gas are this hot, they move so fast that once they collide, they emit X-ray photons v wavelengths much less than 10 nm. The Earth"s setting blocks every X-rays indigenous space, so space telescopes have to be used to observe in these wavelengths. X-rays have such high energy that the typical reflecting telescope style used for radio, infrared and also optical telescopes cannot be offered as the X-rays would just penetrate into the mirror. Instead, mirrors space arranged in specially shaped tubes so that the X-rays coming into the telescope simply skim off the surface of the winter (similar to skipping a rock on the surface of a lake) and onto a detector. 2 X-ray telescopes right now in an are are the Chandra X-ray Observatory and the XMM-Newton.

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Gamma-Ray Astronomy


Gamma-ray telescopes such as the Fermi Gamma-ray an are Telescope carry out not usage mirrors in ~ all and also instead have special detectors to measure the energy and also direction of the most energetic electromagnetic radiation in the universe, gamma-rays. The Fermi Gamma-ray an are Telescope detects gamma-rays with energies indigenous 10 keV come 300 GeV and has a very huge field that view. It sees around 20% that the skies at once, and can cover the whole sky every 3 hours. Researching gamma-rays help astronomers learn much more about countless things including active galactic nuclei, blazars, gamma-ray bursts, pulsars and solar flares.