Usage Conditions May Apply Usage Conditions Apply There are restrictions for re-using this media. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page. IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - View Manifest View in Mirador Viewer Usage conditions may apply

This is the original flown 12-inch infrared telescope that was mounted in the cabin of a Learjet aircraft. It was built by Dr. Frank Low and his students at Rice University using a range of bolometric detectors at its compound focus. The telescope flew several times in the late 1960s and early 1970s aboard a modified Learjet managed by NASA's Ames Research Center. Scientists used it to detect and measure thermal radiation from Jupiter and to study protostars and the centers of active galaxies. The telescope served as the prototype for infrared telescopes used on the much larger Kuiper Airborne Observatory, also based at Ames. It was transferred to a member of the Kuiper team, Dr. D. A. Harper of the University of Chicago's Yerkes Observatory, who donated it to the Smithsonian in 1983. The National Air and Space Museum displayed the telescope, mounted in a mockup section of a Learjet cabin, in its Stars gallery.

Display Status This object is on display in the Space Science at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA Space Science
Object Details
Country of Origin United States of America Type INSTRUMENTS-Scientific Manufacturer Dr. Frank Low, Rice University Dimensions 3-D: 61 x 61 x 61cm (24 x 24 x 24 in.)
Other (telescope): 30.5cm (12 in.)
Materials Housing - aluminum
Alternate Name Airborn Infrared Telescope Inventory Number A19830086000 Credit Line Gift of Dr. D. A. Harper Data Source National Air and Space Museum Restrictions & Rights Usage conditions apply
For more information, visit the Smithsonians Terms of Use.