|The Infrared Astronomical Satellite (IRAS) was a joint scientific project sponsored by the United Kingdom, the United States, and the Netherlands. IRAS was launched in January of 1983 and ended its mission ten months later. IRAS' mission was to map the entire sky at infrared wavelengths. It was equipped with a special infrared telescope to scan the sky. IRAS was the first satellite to discover a comet. The comet IRAS-Araki-Alcock was named for the probe and two co-discovering astronomers. During its lifespan, IRAS observed 20,000 galaxies, 130,000 stars and 90,000 other space objects and star clusters. IRAS detectors found a disk of dusty material and fine rock around the star Vega which may be an early stage in the formation of a new solar system. IRAS' most famous discovery was that of a new type of galaxy, a starburst galaxy. In starburst galaxies, new stars are forming more rapidly than in other types of galaxies.|
The StarChild site is a service of the High Energy Astrophysics Science Archive Research Center (HEASARC), Dr. Alan Smale (Director), within the Astrophysics Science Division (ASD) at NASA/GSFC.
The StarChild Team
StarChild Graphics & Music: Acknowledgments
StarChild Project Leader: Dr. Laura A. Whitlock
Responsible NASA Official: Phil Newman