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Today, optical astronomy makes frequent use of satellites and rockets to enable observations to be made from above the turbulent and partially opaque atmosphere. Although some of these observations can be made with computer-controlled instruments, human observers are still frequently required. Astronauts have justifiably become modern heroes as a result of the risks and daring associated with their missions. It would be a mistake, however, to consider that risk and daring are innovations brought to optical observations by the space age. Reflect, for example, on the exploits of Samuel Pierpont Langley (1834 to 1906).
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