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Infrared observatories

The infrared waveband is usually, by convention, split into three parts: near-infrared, mid-infrared and far-infrared. The significance behind this distinction in terms of observing these wavelength regimes is the varying opacity of our atmosphere.

Telescopes observing in the near-infrared regime can be ground-based, because atmospheric opacity is - albeit worse than in the optical band - not prohibitive. Therefore, many observatories listed as "optical observatories" also have instruments operating at near-infrared wavelengths, in the range from 1 to a few micrometers.