Japan's First Infrared Astronomy Satellite Akari (ASTRO-F)

Achievements of Infrared Astronomical Satellites

IRAS Photo IRAS (Infrared Astronomical Satellite)
The world's first infrared astronomical satellite
Collaboration between the United States, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom

Telescope Aperture : 60 cm
Satellite Gross Weight : 1073 kg
Mission Lifespan : 10 months

Major Achievements

The world's first space maps, charted via mid- and far-infrared observation (All-Sky Survey)
Discovery of many new celestial bodies, such as dust clouds, which are believed to be evidence of the formation of planets surrounding bright galaxies and stars, as seem by far-infrared light.

IRTS Photo IRTS (Infrared Telescope in Space)
Japan's first infrared space telescope
The telescope was carried on the multipurpose observation satellite SFU, with other instruments.
Telescope Aperture : 15 cm
Telescope Weight : 200 kg
(the gross weight of the SFU satellite was 3850 kg)
Mission Lifespan : approx. 1 month

Major Achievements

Finding the first light in the universe Discovery of organic compounds in space
By precisely measuring the background radiation in the universe, which appears to be pitch-black, IRTS observed extremely distant galaxies, and detected what scientists believe is the light of the first star formed in the universe. IRTS detected organic compounds existing broadly in the universe. These molecules, consisting only of carbon and hydrogen, turned out to be PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons), a type of benzene related to biological processes.

ISO Photo ISO (Infrared Space Observatory)
Infrared space observatory, for detailed study of individual celestial bodies and specific regions of the universe
Project by the European Space Agency (ESA)
Telescope Aperture : 60 cm
Satellite Gross Weight : 2400 kg
Mission Lifespan : 2.5 years

Major Achievements

The pioneer of cosmic mineralogy
Crystals similar to those found on Earth were found in cosmic dust. This discovery has lead to a new, deeper study looking at the evolution of minerals (solid materials) in space.

SST Photo SST (Spitzer Space Telescope)
Spitzer was launched as part of NASA's Great Observatories program, which includes the Hubble Space Telescope. The mission continues to this day.
Telescope Aperture : 85 cm
Satellite Gross Weight : 923 kg
Mission Lifespan : 2.5 to 5 years (scheduled)

Major Achievements

Study of star formation Direct observation of extrasolar planets
These are images of a galaxy forming several billion light years away. This kind of observation allows detailed study of star formation, galaxy evolution and planetary formation. Spitzer succeeded in observing extrasolar planets directly.

Return to Top 1. Akari (ASTRO-F) Updates Space Maps After 20 Years
2. World's Astronomers Watching for Akari (ASTRO-F)

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