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    First Observation Outside The Visible Spectrum

    Sunday, January 6, 2019 Last Updated 2019-10-24T17:29:00Z
    There is a limit shared by both photography and naked eye observation—they both rely on the visible spectrum of light.

    Today astronomers observe the sky in everything from radio waves at one end of the electromagnetic spectrum to gamma rays at the other, providing a huge amount of information about our universe.

    The discovery of infrared, which has a wavelength slightly longer than light, was made by British physicist William Herschel in 1800.

    This was the first non-visible radiation from space that we ever took notice of.It took over half a century for Charles Piazzi Smyth to measure infrared radiation from the Moon, which he did in 1856.

    A much bigger contribution was made in 1870 by the fourth Earl of Rosse, who used measurements of infrared to estimate the temperature of the Moon’s surface to be a cosy 500 °F (though we now know it’s about 250 °F during the daytime).

    As the British magazine the Spectator wrote at the time, “it seems strange to learn from science that the full moon is so intensely hot that no creature known to us could long endure contact with her heated surface.

    Such is the latest news which science has brought us respecting our satellite.”


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