Proceedings PaperInfrared Astronomy Satellite
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The Infrared Astronomy Satellite (IRAS) is a project undertaken by NASA jointly with the space agencies of the Netherlands and of Great Britain. It will be launched into a sun synchronous polar orbit early in 1981 and will survey the entire celestial sphere in four broad infrared bands centered at 11.8µm, 24.4µm, 58.6µm and 101µm. The 60 centimeter diameter telescope is constructed entirely of Be and will be maintained at 2K by 65Kg of superfluid He. During the expected lifetime of one year, the sky will be surveyed with a high degree of redundancy to permit an unbiased, highly reliable mapping of the celestial sphere down to a flux level on the order 19-19 W/cm2. Both extrinsic silicon and germanium will be used in an array of 62 detectors to provide a positional accuracy of 1 arcmin or better for point sources. Because these detectors are used in a direct coupled circuit, both extended sources and diffuse infrared background will be measured directly. Additional experiments will be carried out to expand the sensitivity in selected regions of the sky and to provide additional spectral data on selected objects.