Journal Article

A brief history of infrared astronomy

Helen J Walker

in Astronomy & Geophysics

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 41, issue 5, pages 5.10-5.13
Published in print October 2000 | ISSN: 1366-8781
Published online October 2000 | e-ISSN: 1468-4004 | DOI:
A brief history of infrared astronomy

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It is 200 years since William Herschel discovered and began to explore infrared radiation. An exhibition on the many uses of the infrared part of the spectrum for the RAS President's evening earlier this year drew together the many discoveries and applications of this versatile waveband. Early observations focused on the usefulness of infrared as a measure of temperature, for example of the Moon and the solar corona. Advances in detector technology led to the first sky surveys in the 1960s and 1970s. Now infrared astronomy is part of the armoury of the modern astronomer interested in anything from the origins of the universe to the disposition of water and other molecules in interstellar space. Notable successes have come from instruments such as UKIRT, IRAS and ISO, and much is expected in the future from Gemini, the Next Generation Space Telescope, FIRST and Planck, among other planned instruments.

Journal Article.  2054 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics ; Geophysics

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