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2A Light and Matter Astronomy: The Science of Seeing.

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Presentation on theme: "2A Light and Matter Astronomy: The Science of Seeing."— Presentation transcript:

1 2A Light and Matter Astronomy: The Science of Seeing

2 2A How do you do Astronomy? How do Chemists do Chemistry? –Make solutions, mix chemicals … How do Biologists do Biology? –Breed fruit flies, (and whatever else biologists do). They devise and conduct experiments in their labs. But how do you do that for astronomy?

3 2A Light Astronomy is a “passive” science. We can’t (yet) go to the stars or other galaxies. The Universe must come to us. We rely on light exclusively!

4 2A But what does it look like from the back?

5 2A What you see is all you get! So you need to squeeze EVERY last drop of information out of the light we get. This semester we’ll see how we can use light to: Weigh a planet. Take a star’s temperature. Tell what’s in the center of a star a thousand light-years away. Tell what our Galaxy look like from the outside.

6 2A Tonight We’ll Learn: What is light? How is it produced? –Continuum Blackbody radiation (this lecture) –Line radiation (next lecture) How do light and matter affect each other? How are we able to learn about the Universe from this light?

7 2A The “Visible” Spectrum When you think of “light”, what do you think of?

8 2A What is Light? Light is an electromagnetic wave. Propagates through a vacuum. Travels at the speed of light (a CONSTANT): c = 3 x 10 10 cm/s The wavelength ( ) and frequency ( ) are related: c = The energy is inversely proportional to the wavelength (where h is a constant): E = h E = hc/

9 2A

10 2A Radio Optical and infrared X-ray UV  -ray

11 2A What’s the Wavelength? Arrow 93.1 FM 93.1 MHz (Mega Hertz) = 93.1 x 10 6 cycles/sec c = 3 x 10 10 cm/sec = x 93.1 x 10 6 cycles/sec = (3 x 10 10 cm/sec)/(93.1 x 10 6 cycles/sec) = 322 cm =3.22 m How big is your radio antenna?

12 2A To Sum Up… Radio waves, microwaves, rainbows, UV waves, x-rays, etc are ALL forms of electromagnetic waves. They ALL travel through space at the speed of light. c The higher the frequency, the shorter the wavelength. c = The higher the frequency, the more energetic the wave. E = h

13 2A Most objects emit light at more than one wavelength, thus producing a spectrum. Why? One Reason: Temperature! The Sun

14 2A Matter Atoms consist of a positively charged nucleus surrounded by a negatively charged cloud of one or more electrons.

15 2A Atoms in Motion Everything is composed of atoms which are constantly in motion.

16 2A Temperature The hotter the object, the faster the average motion of the atoms. HOTTER COOLER

17 2A Atoms and Light As atoms move they collide (interact, accelerate). Collisions give off energy. But light IS energy. E = h

18 2A Light and Temperature The hotter the object the faster the average atom and the more energetic the average collision. The faster the atoms the more collisions there are.


20 2A Energy and Intensity The more energetic the average collision the bluer the average light that is given off. –Since E = h The more collisions that occur the more light that is given off.

21 2A Blackbody Laws Put another way: Wien’s Law for peak wavelength ( peak ): peak is proportional to 1/T Stefan-Boltzmann Law for total Flux (F): F is proportional to T 4

22 2A Graphically peak  1/T F  T 4 Hot Hottest Hotter

23 2A Result HOT toasters are BRIGHTER than cool toasters. HOT toasters are BLUER than cool toasters. What is the peak wavelength for something at room temperature (a cool toaster, or a cool person)? peak = k* 1/T peak = (2.898 x 10 -3 m/K) * 1/ 300 K peak = 9.6 x 10 -6 m IR

24 2A Blackbody Radiation Light given off by an object due solely to its temperature. Don’t confuse with reflected light: –Buses are yellow not because they are hot enough to emit visible radiation but rather they reflect the yellow light given off by the Sun. What kinds of blackbody radiation do we see in our everyday life?

25 2A The IR World Since everyday objects (at everyday temperatures) emit blackbody radiation in the IR, this is why we perceive IR as HEAT.

26 2A The IR Universe Everyday things that are hot radiate in the IR: Dust – There are interstellar clouds of dust. Orion – by IRAS

27 2A The IR Universe Molten Rock – There are lava flows on a moon of Jupiter. Orion – by IRAS Io from IRTF.

28 2A The IR Universe Differences in composition lead to differences in temperature. Orion – by IRASThe Moon in eclipse.

29 2A The Greenhouse Effect Why is my car hot on a summer day? At T = 6000 K, the Sun radiates mostly visible light. Windshield is transparent to visible light. Car seat absorbs this visible light and warms up to 400 K. At T = 400 K, my seat radiates mostly at longer wavelengths in the IR. Windshield is opaque in the IR. Result: Energy is TRAPPED inside the car!

30 2A Venus and Earth Certain gases act the same way as your windshield: Carbon Dioxide (CO 2 ). Venus – Runaway greenhouse effect. Earth – Could that happen here?

31 2A The Multiwavelength Galaxy Wave TypeSource RadioCool gas InfraredWarm dust VisibleStars X-raysHot gas  -rays Plasma

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