Space Telescopes

Earth's atmosphere protects us from harmful light rays such as Gamma rays, X-rays, UV light, and Infrared light emitted by the sun and other extrasolar objects. Though necessary for life on earth, Earth's atmosphere prevents land telescopes from resolving and accurately measuring light emitted by stars, galaxies, exoplanets, and other extrasolar bodies. Even if the atmosphere did not distort incoming light, it still reflects or absorbs large portions of the electromagnetic spectrum, preventing the light at these frequencies from reaching Earth's surface, such as ultraviolet light, as shown in the image below. By placing telescopes in space, the atmosphere no longer disturbs or blocks the observed light, and more accurate images and measurements can be made.