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Space telescopes explore the universe in orbit around the Earth.

Space telescopes are instrument in outer space which are used for observation of the universe, distant planets, galaxies, and other outer space objects.

Introduction to Space telescopes.

Space Telescopes.
Space telescope.
Space Observatories and their wavelength working range.
Space telescopes.
Space telescopes and their wavelength working range.
Spitzer, Hubble Space telescopes.
Spitzer, Hubble Space telescopes and XMM with their most important parts depicted.

A large number of Space telescopes have been launched into orbit, and most of them have greatly enhanced our knowledge of the cosmos. Performing astronomy from the Earth's surface is limited by the filtering and distortion of electromagnetic radiation due to the Earth's atmosphere. This makes it desirable to place astrononomical observation devices into space. As a telescope orbits the Earth outside the atmosphere it is subject neither to twinkling (distortion due to thermal turbulences of the air) nor to light pollution from artificial light sources on the Earth. Some terrestrial telescopes (such as the Very Large Telescope) can counter turbulences with the help of their novel adaptive optics.

But space-based astronomy is even more important for frequency ranges which are outside of the optic window and the radio window, the only two wavelength ranges of the electromagnetic spectrum that are not severely attenuated by the atmosphere. For example, X-ray astronomy is nearly impossible when done from the Earth, and has reached its current important stand within astronomy only due to orbiting satellites with X-ray telescopes such as the Chandra observatory or XMM-Newton observatory. Infrared and ultraviolet are also greatly blocked.

Space observatories can generally be divided into two classes: missions which map the entire sky (surveys), and observatories which make observations of chosen parts of the sky.

Many space observatories have already completed their missions, while others are still operating. Satellites have been launched by NASA, ESA and the Japanese Space Agency.

NASA's Great Observatories

Satellites belonging to NASA's "Great Observatories" program:

Other notable space observatories

ou* IRAS, which performed an all-sky survey in infrared, as well as discovering disks of dust and gas around many nearby stars, such as Fomalhaut, Vega and Beta Pictoris. This ceased functioning in 1983 and has since re-entered the atmosphere.

Future Space telescopes.

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