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Boeing 747 Modified To Act As Infrared Telescope 85

xyz writes "A joint project of NASA and the German Aerospace Center has developed a highly modified Boeing-747SP aircraft to carry a 2.5-meter (98.4 inch) infrared telescope. The project SOFIA (Stratospheric Observatory For Infrared Astronomy) will observe radiation in the wavelengths from 0.3 microns to 1.0 millimeters, spanning the visible, infrared, and sub-millimeter portions of the electromagnetic spectrum. The observations will be taken at an altitude of 40,000 to 45,000 feet (12 to 14 km) which is above 99.8 percent of the water vapor in Earth's atmosphere, thus giving it a greater range of observations." Update: 10/31 13:27 GMT by T : Mea culpa -- headline changed to reflect that this telescope is intended for looking out at space rather than down at the Earth.

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