Observatories, Space-Based - Research Article from Macmillan Science Library: Space Sciences

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The Advantages and Disadvantages of Space-Based Telescopes

Observatories in space have a number of key advantages. Telescopes in space are able to operate twenty-four hours a day, free of both Earth's day-night cycle as well as clouds and other weather conditions that can hamper observing. Telescopes above the atmosphere can also observe portions of the electromagnetic spectrum of light, such as ultraviolet radiation, X rays, and gamma rays, which are blocked by Earth's atmosphere and never reach the surface. Telescopes in space are also free of the distortions in the atmosphere that blur images. These factors increase the probability that space telescopes will be more productive and useful than their ground-based counterparts.

Space-based observatories also have some disadvantages. Unlike most ground-based telescopes, space observatories operate completely automatically, without any humans on-site to fix faulty equipment or deal with other problems. There are also limitations on the size and...

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This section contains 2,153 words
(approx. 8 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Observatories, Space-Based Encyclopedia Article
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Macmillan Science Library: Space Sciences
Observatories, Space-Based from Macmillan Science Library: Space Sciences. Copyright © 2001-2006 by Macmillan Reference USA, an imprint of the Gale Group. All rights reserved.
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