A joint US–Dutch–British satellite, launched in 1983 January, which made an infrared survey of the sky at wavelengths of 12, 25, 60, and 100 μm. It carried a 0.6-m telescope and an array of detectors cooled by liquid helium. In its 10-month lifetime it surveyed 95 % of the sky, detecting 250 000 infrared sources. Among its discoveries were bands of cometary dust in the Solar System; several new comets and asteroids; infrared cirrus; possible forming planetary systems around certain stars; and a large number of galaxies emitting most of their energy in the infrared, including starburst galaxies.
http://irsa.ipac.caltech.edu/IRASdocs/iras.html Mission website at CalTech.
Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics.