Herschel infrared light experiments, 1800

Herschel infrared light experiments, 1800

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This image is part of the sequence science and technology: Herschel infrared experiments

Credit: ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Herschel infrared light experiments, artwork. In 1800, the British astronomer William Herschel (1738-1822) carried out a series of experiments that led to his discovery of infrared light. Here, sunlight was split into its colour spectrum by refraction in a prism (top left). A lens (centre) is being used to focus the light on a thermometer (lower right). The hottest area was from the focusing of a light beyond visible red light, a light that became known as infrared radiation. This artwork (Plate XIV) is the seventh of ten illustrating the third of Herschel's four papers on this topic (read 15 May 1800), published in volume 90 of 'Philosophical Transactions' (Royal Society of London).

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