Astronomy Today

Airborne and Infrared Observatories

What were the first airborne observatories?

Astronomers have made observational forays high into the atmosphere since 1957. In the late 1960s, a Convair 900 jet was converted into the first long-term airborne observatory. It was succeeded in the early 1970s by a Lear jet with a twelve-inch (thirty-centimeter) diameter telescope aboard.


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