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Space InfraRed Telescope Facility Space Infrared Telescope Facility (SIRTF): The Herschel Experiment Dr. Michelle Thaller SIRTF.

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Presentation on theme: "Space InfraRed Telescope Facility Space Infrared Telescope Facility (SIRTF): The Herschel Experiment Dr. Michelle Thaller SIRTF."— Presentation transcript:

1 Space InfraRed Telescope Facility Space Infrared Telescope Facility (SIRTF): The Herschel Experiment Dr. Michelle Thaller SIRTF Science Center California Institute of Technology sirtf.caltech.edu Dr. Denise Smith Dan McCallister Origins Education Forum Space Telescope Science Institute

2 Space InfraRed Telescope Facility The Origins Program Origins: Where did we come from? Are we alone? Space Infrared Telescope Facility  Exploring the universe in the infrared  Planned launch: December 2002  Expected lifetime: 5 years

3 Space InfraRed Telescope Facility The Discovery of Invisible Light A Fortunate Accident In 1800, while placing thermometers in each color of the solar spectrum, Herschel places his “control” thermometer just outside the red end of the spectrum. Result: the thermometer outside the visible spectrum registered the highest temperature! The first detection of invisible light, which Herschel called infrared (“beneath red”) light.

4 Space InfraRed Telescope Facility The Herschel Experiment: A Classroom Activity Objective: To perform a version of the experiment of 1800, in which a form of radiation other than visible light was discovered by the famous astronomer Sir Frederick William Herschel. Target Audience: Grades 7-9, easily extended to higher grades (10-12)

5 Space InfraRed Telescope Facility Herschel Experiment Set-Up 1. Place a sheet of white paper inside a cardboard box 2. Tape three thermometers together and place inside box 3. Cut a small notch in the top of the box and position a small glass prism so that the spectrum is projected inside the box 4. Arrange the thermometers so that one is just outside the red end of the spectrum, with no visible light falling on it Do not look directly at the Sun.

6 Space InfraRed Telescope Facility Results After approx. 10 minutes, the thermometers show a 10 degree difference: The highest temperature is found outside the visible spectrum, where infrared light is falling on the thermometers. The thermometers will register differences almost immediately.

7 Space InfraRed Telescope Facility Team Roles The Herschel Experiment can be done in groups of 2 to 4. Team members can be assigned the following roles:  Box-keeper – makes sure the thermometers are positioned properly and holds box if necessary  Timekeeper – announces times for temperature measurements  Measurer – reads the temperatures of the thermometers  Recorder – records the temperatures on the observation chart

8 Space InfraRed Telescope Facility Today’s Goals 1. Adjust the prism in the notch until a broad spectrum is achieved. 2. Place thermometers in the blue, the yellow, and next to the red portions of the spectrum for 30 to 60 seconds, until a temperature difference is observed.  If 3 thermometers will not fit in the spectrum, place one thermometer in the yellow and one thermometer next to the red portion of the spectrum. Optional: Keep the 3 rd thermometer in a shaded area of the box, as a control. 3. Using the Herschel Experiment Worksheet, continue taking data for 4 to 5 minutes.

9 Space InfraRed Telescope Facility Workshop Discussion Useful discussion questions for the workshop (and classroom) setting:  Did you observe a temperature rise in the infrared?  Did you encounter any difficulties while doing the experiment? If so, how did you solve them?  Consider recording the final thermometer readings and elapsed time for each group. Comparing results can lead to an interesting discussion of experimental uncertainties.

10 Space InfraRed Telescope Facility Additional Questions  Insightful students may wonder why the blue thermometer doesn’t have the highest temperature. After all, doesn’t blue light have more energy than red light?  The answer lies in what the prism does to the light. Prisms spread blue light out, while red light remains more focused. After passing through the prism, the energy in the red and infrared parts of the spectrum is more concentrated.  A more thorough discussion can be found on the SIRTF website (sirtf.caltech.edu).

11 Space InfraRed Telescope Facility Helpful Hints For best results, do experiment in direct sunshine, when the Sun is high (noon). Putting the prism in the cut notch provides stability and easy rotation. Glass prisms work much better than plastic ones (this is Herschel’s original prism). Blacken the bulbs of the thermometers with black paint. Flat black spray paint works best, but even a black magic marker will yield results. The experiment WILL NOT WORK without the paint (Herschel soot- blackened his thermometers in the original experiment).

12 Space InfraRed Telescope Facility Herschel Experiment Ideas  Makes a great science fair activity:

13 Space InfraRed Telescope Facility The Importance of Infrared  How is infrared light used in our daily lives?  Why would astronomers put a telescope in space to look at infrared light?

14 Space InfraRed Telescope Facility Infrared Measures Heat Every object with a temperature above absolute zero radiates in the infrared.

15 Space InfraRed Telescope Facility Infrared in Society  Oceanography  Firefighting  Commercial Applications

16 Space InfraRed Telescope Facility Infrared Astronomy: Detecting “Cool Objects” Finding “brown dwarfs” helps us measure the mass of the universe. Debris disks – signs of other solar systems?

17 Space InfraRed Telescope Facility Infrared Astronomy: Viewing the “Invisible” Dust absorbs visible light and re-emits it in the infrared. Some galaxies emit most of their light in the infrared.

18 Space InfraRed Telescope Facility Infrared Astronomy: Exploring the Early Universe Visible light from very distant objects is shifted to the infrared. Just as the pitch of a train whistle changes as it passes an observer, the observed wavelength of light emitted by a moving object also shifts.

19 Space InfraRed Telescope Facility Why a Telescope in Space? Infrared light is mostly absorbed by our atmosphere.

20 Space InfraRed Telescope Facility For More Information… Michelle Thaller SIRTF Science Center, California Institute of Technology sirtf.caltech.edu Space Science Education Resource Directory Teachspacescience.org Origins Education Forum Origins.stsci.edu Click on “Educator Resources”, and then select “Curriculum Support”

21 Space InfraRed Telescope Facility

22 What is Infrared? Remote controls use infrared light. Our eyes see only part of the electromagnetic spectrum…

23 Space InfraRed Telescope Facility Planning Checklist Materials:  Glass prism  Three alcohol thermometers  Flat black paint or a permanent black marker  Scissors or a prism stand  Cardboard box  Blank sheet of white paper  Tape  Binders, books, or blocks  Observation chart  Pencils or pens Preparation:  Acquire materials  Blacken thermometer bulbs  Cut out notch in box for prism  Identify location and time for experiment  Try experiment

24 Space InfraRed Telescope Facility Visit Our Web-Site for More!  Much more available at sirtf.caltech.edu. Click on the “Education” button.


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