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April 1, 2008 Issue

Physics To Go 46 - Infrared light

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Physics in Your World

Our Infrared World Gallery image
image credit: Courtesy NASA/IPAC; image source; no larger image available

Our Infrared World Gallery

This image shows liquid nitrogen in infrared light.  To see what happens when peas are added, and what liquid nitrogen looks like in visible light, visit NASA's Frozen in Liquid Nitrogen.  For the basics of infrared, you can visit another NASA site, The Infrared (don't miss the image of a man striking a match).  For lots more infrared images from the everyday world, including faces, see Our Infrared World Gallery.

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Physics at Home

Discovering Infrared--the Herschel Experiment

Visit Discovering Infrared--the Herschel Experiment to learn how infrared radiation was discovered and to find out how you can perform a similar experiment yourself.  When Herschel made a solar spectrum with a prism and shined it on a thermometer, which he placed in different parts of the spectrum, he found the highest temperature just beyond the red, where there was no visible light--yet the intensity of sunlight peaks in the visible. To resolve this discrepancy, see Reconciling the Herschel Experiment.


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From Physics Research

Orion in the Visible and Infrared image
image credits: Akira Fujii/NASA; image source; larger image

Orion in the Visible and Infrared

This pair of images shows the Orion nebula in the visible and infrared. For an infrared image of Orion, check out  Infrared View of the Constellation Orion. Astronomers use infrared light in order to see through the dust clouds that scatter visible light.

(This feature was updated on July 18, 2013.)


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