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A History of The Light Spectrum (As seen from the Cosmos: A Spacetime Odessy)

Uploaded by brockdarnold on May 13, 2014

Et Luce Stellarum
There is no other phenomenon in the universe that can accelerate from stopped to top speed instantly. And as particles try to get closer and closer to this speed, they resist more and more. There is absolutely nothing in this world that behaves like light. Physicists don't even know where there is a cosmic speed limit. All they know is that time stands still when you travel and the speed of light.
Isaac Newton's enduring fascination with light began when he was a child. By the time he was in his 20s, Newton had become the first person to decipher the mysteries of the rainbow. Newton discovered that sunlight or "white light" was a culmination of all the lights. He made this discovery by carving a small hole of light into a wall and then placing a prism in front of the beam of light. He named the displays of colors "spectrum" which was Latin for phantom.
Fast forward to the 1800s. At the time, everybody who went outside knew that sunlight carries heat. By night, William Herschel scanned the starry skies with the largest telescope at the world. By day, he asked whether or not different colors were different temperatures. When Herschel first set up this experiment he placed three thermometers on a table with two of them being on the spectrum's red and blue ends. The third was placed below red and served as the control of the experiment. As Herschel recorded the temperatures he found that red light was warmer than blue light. Something far more interesting however was going on with the control. After duplicating his experiment many times, Herschel discovered that there was a new form of light that was not seen by humans. He named the light Infrared, which is Latin for below red.

At about the time of Herschel's discovery, Joseph Von Fraunhofer was a small boy working in a glass making factory in Germany. By the age of 27, Joseph was the world's leading optician. At the time, this acutely refined glass making process of optics, which were instrumental in creating spectacles, magnifying glasses, and telescopes, and was cutting edge and an extremely close guarded secret by the Bavarian Government. One day, while working in his laboratory, Joseph was experimenting with prisms and he wanted to get a closer look at the spectrum. He called upon his primitive telescope and looked into...

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Uploaded by:   brockdarnold

Date:   05/13/2014

Category:   Astronomy

Length:   6 pages (1,304 words)

Views:   1307

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