University of California, San Diego
Center for Astrophysics & Space Sciences

Gene Smith's Astronomy Tutorial

Space Telescopes

Telescopes in Space

There are three fundamental reasons for putting telescopes into space:

  1. To observe regions of the electromagnetic spectrum obscured by the earth's atmosphere --- gamma-rays, x-rays, ultraviolet and much of the infrared (including the sub-millimeter range which we have included as part of the infrared).
  2. To escape from the atmospheric distortion from seeing produced by the turbulence in the earth's atmosphere.
  3. To escape from atmospheric airglow and ground based sources of light pollution.

To these we must add the Solar System Exploration Spacecraft which visit the planets and other solar system bodies and make direct sensing measurements of the conditions and future interferometry missions which will place satellites in distant orbits to provide extremely long baselines, synthesizing telescopes much larger than the earth and thereby achieving very high resolving power.

Hubble Space Telescope

Live from HST

HST's Orbit Where is it right now?

Other Space Observatories

X-Ray Observatories and the history of x-ray astronomy.

Thermal Radiation   Radio Telescopes   Education & Outreach   CASS Home  

Conducted by Gene Smith, CASS/UCSD.
Comments? You may send email to

Prof. H. E. (Gene) Smith
CASS   0424   UCSD
9500 Gilman Drive
La Jolla, CA    92093-0424

Last updated: 21 April 1999