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Question 3:
Why do astronomers need infrared telescopes?
Student answers should include the following ideas:
  • An infrared telescope can allow astronomers to look back at the very early universe, when the first galaxies formed. Those galaxies can only be seen in infrared light.
  • Infrared light also can be used to look through dust to discover objects that cannot be seen in visible light. For example, infrared light allows astronomers to peer into clouds surrounding new stars to find emerging planet.
  • An infrared telescope also may allow astronomers to look at the atmosphere of planets to detect the gases (carbon dioxide, methane, and water vapor) that signal the possibility of life.

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