Space Science Reviews

, Volume 142, Issue 1, pp 233-321

First online:

Infrared Sky Surveys

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


A retrospective is given on infrared sky surveys from Thomas Edison’s proposal in the late 1870s to IRAS, the first sensitive mid- to far-infrared all-sky survey, and the mid-1990s experiments that filled in the IRAS deficiencies. The emerging technology for space-based surveys is highlighted, as is the prominent role the US Defense Department, particularly the Air Force, played in developing and applying detector and cryogenic sensor advances to early mid-infrared probe-rocket and satellite-based surveys. This technology was transitioned to the infrared astronomical community in relatively short order and was essential to the success of IRAS, COBE and ISO. Mention is made of several of the little known early observational programs that were superseded by more successful efforts.


Infrared Surveys Cryogenics Technology development Satellite Probe-rocket