Proceedings PaperThe Infrared Space Observatory (ISO) And Its Instruments
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The Infrared Space Observatory (ISO), a fully approved and funded project of the European Space Agency (ESA), is an astronomical satellite, which will operate at wavelengths from 3-200μm. ISO will provide astronomers with a unique facility of unprecedented sensitivity for a detailed exploration of the universe ranging from objects in the solar system right out to the most distant extragalactic sources. The satellite essentially consists of a large cryostat containing superfluid helium to maintain the telescope and its scientific instruments at temperatures around 2-3K. The telescope has a 60-cm diameter primary mirror and is diffraction-limited at a wavelength of 5μm. A pointing accuracy of a few arc seconds is provided by a three-axis stabilisation. system. ISO carries four instruments, namely: an imaging photo-polarimeter (3-200μm)., a camera (.3-17μm), a short wavelength spectrometer (3-45μm) and a long wavelength spectrometer (45-180μm). ISO will be launched in early 1993 by an Ariane 4 rocket into an elliptical orbit (apogee 70000 km and perigee 1000 km) and will be operational for at least 18 months. In keeping with ISO's role as an observatory, two-thirds of its observing time will be made available to the general astronomical community.