- the study of infrared radiation emitted by celestial objects.[1960-65]
* * *Study of astronomical objects by observing the infrared radiation they emit.Its techniques enable examination of many celestial objects that give off energy at wavelengths in the infrared region of the electromagnetic spectrum but that cannot otherwise be seen from Earth because they do not emit much visible light or because that light is blocked by dust clouds, which infrared radiation can penetrate. Infrared astronomy originated in the early 19th century with the work of William Herschel (see Herschel family), who discovered infrared radiation while studying sunlight. The first systematic infrared observations of other stars were made in the 1920s; modern techniques, such as the use of interference filters for ground-based telescopes, were introduced in the early 1960s. Because atmospheric water vapour absorbs many infrared wavelengths, observations are carried out with telescopes sited on high mountaintops and from airborne and space-based observatories. Infrared astronomy allows studies of the dust-obscured core of the Milky Way Galaxy and the hearts of star-forming regions and has led to many discoveries including brown dwarf candidates and disks of matter around certain stars.
* * *study of astronomical objects through observations of the infrared radiation that they emit. Various types of celestial objects—including the planets of the solar system, stars, nebulae, and galaxies—give off energy at wavelengths in the infrared region of the electromagnetic spectrum (i.e., from about one micrometre to one millimetre). The techniques of infrared astronomy enable investigators to examine many such objects that cannot otherwise be seen from the Earth because the light of optical wavelengths that they emit is blocked by intervening dust particles.Infrared astronomy originated in the early 1800s with the work of the British astronomer Sir William Herschel (Herschel, Sir William), who discovered the existence of infrared radiation while studying sunlight. The first systematic infrared observations of stellar objects were made by the American astronomers W.W. Coblentz (Coblentz, William W), Edison Pettit, and Seth B. Nicholson (Nicholson, Seth Barnes) in the 1920s. Modern infrared techniques, such as the use of cryogenic (cryogenics) detector systems (to eliminate obstruction by infrared radiation released by the detection equipment itself) and special interference filters for ground-based telescopes, were introduced during the early 1960s. By the end of the decade, Gerry Neugebauer and Robert Leighton of the United States had surveyed the sky at the relatively short infrared wavelength of 2.2 micrometres and identified approximately 20,000 sources in the northern hemispheric sky alone. Since that time, balloons, rockets, and spacecraft have been employed to make observations of infrared wavelengths from 35 to 350 micrometres. Radiation at such wavelengths is absorbed by water vapour in the atmosphere, and so telescopes and spectrographs have to be carried to high altitudes above most of the absorbing molecules. Specially instrumented high-flying aircraft such as the Kuiper Airborne Observatory (q.v.) and the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy have been designed to facilitate infrared observations near microwave frequencies.In January 1983 the United States, in collaboration with the United Kingdom and The Netherlands, launched the Infrared Astronomical Satellite (IRAS (Infrared Astronomical Satellite)), an unmanned orbiting observatory equipped with a 57-centimetre (22-inch) infrared telescope sensitive to wavelengths of 8 to 100 micrometres in the infrared spectrum. At these wavelengths, IRAS made a number of unexpected discoveries in a brief period of service that ended in November 1983. The most significant of these were clouds of solid debris around Vega, Fomalhaut, and several other stars, the presence of which strongly suggests the formation of planetary systems similar to that of the Sun. Other important findings included various clouds of interstellar gas and dust where new stars are being formed and an object, designated 1983TB, thought to be the parent body for the swarm of meteoroids known as Geminids.IRAS was succeeded in 1995–98 by the European Space Agency's Infrared Space Observatory, which had a 60-centimetre (24-inch) telescope with a camera sensitive to wavelengths in the range of 2.5–17 micrometres and a photometer and a pair of spectrometers that, between them, extended the range to 200 micrometres. It made significant observations of protoplanetary disks of dust and gas around young stars, with results suggesting that individual planets can form over periods as brief as 20 million years. It determined that these disks are rich in silicates, the minerals that form the basis of many common types of rock. It also discovered a large number of brown dwarfs—objects in interstellar space that are too small to become stars but too massive to be considered planets.The most advanced infrared space observatory is a U.S. satellite, the Spitzer Space Telescope, which is built around an all-beryllium 85-centimetre (33-inch) primary mirror that focuses infrared light on three instruments—a general-purpose infrared camera, a spectrograph sensitive to mid-infrared wavelengths, and an imaging photometer taking measurements in three far-infrared bands. Together the instruments cover a wavelength range of 3.6 to 180 micrometres. The most striking results from the Spitzer's observations concern extrasolar planets. The Spitzer has determined the temperature and the atmospheric structure, composition, and dynamics of several extrasolar planets.
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Infrared astronomy — is the branch of astronomy and astrophysics which deals with objects visible in infrared (IR) radiation. Visible radiation ranges from 400 nm (blue) to 700 nm (red). Longer wavelengths than 700 nm but still shorter than microwaves are called… … Wikipedia
infrared astronomy — the study of infrared radiation emitted by celestial objects. [1960 65] * * * infrared astronomy noun The study of radiation from celestial bodies, such as nascent stars, in the infrared wavelength range • • • Main Entry: ↑infrared * * * infrared … Useful english dictionary
infrared astronomy — noun the astronomical observation and study of objects, cooler than most stars, using the infrared part of the electromagnetic spectrum … Wiktionary
Infrared Astronomy Satellite — IRAS (télescope spatial) Pour les articles homonymes, voir IRAS (homonymie). IRAS … Wikipédia en Français
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Far infrared astronomy — is the branch of astronomy and astrophysics which deals with objects visible in far infrared radiation (extending from 30 µm towards submillimeter wavelengths around 450 µm).In the far infrared, stars are not especially bright, but we can see… … Wikipedia
Stratospheric observatory for infrared astronomy — Le Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) est un projet de la NASA et du DLR allemand qui consiste à embarquer un téléscope infra rouge à bord d un Boeing 747 dont le premier vol a été effectué le 26 avril 2007. P … Wikipédia en Français
Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Sofia (homonymie). Le B747 utilisé comme avion porteur pour SOFIA … Wikipédia en Français
Stratospheric Observatory For Infrared Astronomy — SOFIA Erstflug am 26. April 2007 Das Stratospheric Observatory For Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) ist ein fliegendes Teleskop, das die NASA gemeinsam mit dem Deutschen Zentrum für Luft und Raumfahrt (DLR) für Infrarotastronomie entwickelt hat. Dafür… … Deutsch Wikipedia
Astronomy — (from the Greek words astron (ἄστρον), star , and nomos (νόμος), law ) is the scientific study of celestial objects (such as stars, planets, comets, and galaxies) and phenomena that originate outside the Earth s atmosphere (such as the cosmic… … Wikipedia