Tag Archives: electromagnetic spectrum

The Balmer Thermometer

How hot would you say this star is? Take a wild guess. Well…sorry, but I’m going to stop you for a moment just to make sure we’re all using Kelvins. The Kelvin scale is like the Celsius scale, except water … Continue reading

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The Atomic Spectrum

Astronomers know that if white light passes through a prism and is bent, it’s separated out into its component colors—the colors of the rainbow. Astronomers also know that when light interacts with atoms, the building blocks of the universe, the … Continue reading

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Stars and Radiation

Stars are hot. Really hot. Hot enough to have energy to spare for their planets. If our star wasn’t hot, we couldn’t live on Earth. And our star isn’t even particularly hot for a star. It’s a middle-aged star of … Continue reading

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Atoms and Radiation

Everything we know about space comes from radiation. Now wait just a moment here. That statement explains how astronomy is such a successful field of science—it’s based entirely on the information we can glean from radiation, after all. But how … Continue reading

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Cosmic Rays

Cosmic rays remain, for the most part, a cosmic mystery. But then, what about the universe doesn’t still remain partially shrouded in mystery? Cosmic rays are radiation, but they’re not electromagnetic. That is, they’re not on the electromagnetic spectrum. So, … Continue reading

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Infrared & High-Energy Astronomy

You probably recognize this image. You see something like it whenever you look up at the sky. Some days are clearer than others—some, you might even see a completely blue sky—but regardless, you know that this is an image of … Continue reading

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Radio Astronomy: Advantages

Whoa…what’s this thing? It’s a radio telescope, the largest in the world. It’s so huge that a normal support system can’t support its weight. So it’s basically suspended between three mountaintops. It’s 300 m across, which is 1000 feet. It’s … Continue reading

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Radio Astronomy: Limitations

Astronomy is a labor of love, and radio astronomy is no different. As I covered in my last post, radio astronomy deals with the longest wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum (a spectrum that includes visible light). Radio waves are not sound … Continue reading

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Radio Astronomy

Ever seen one of these before? Yeah, it’s a bit bigger than your average radio antenna. That’s because its job isn’t to direct radio signals to your house. It’s a radio telescope, and its job is to collect as many radio … Continue reading

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Info in a Rainbow

What do you see in this image? If you’re from a larger city and haven’t had the opportunity to venture into a place like the desert, you might not know what you’re looking at. That’s the Milky Way, our name … Continue reading

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