JULIAN BAUM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JULIAN BAUM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Astronomy and the infrared (IR) spectrum. The IR part of the electromagnetic spectrum runs from far red (lower left) through near IR, mid-IR, far IR & submillimetre wavelengths (1-1000 micrometres). Much of the IR spectrum is absorbed by the atmosphere, so detectors in satellites and space observatories are used. Some IR waves can be detected on mountains and in aircraft. Detectors in the mid-IR range can be affected by the heat glow emissions (red band) of their surroundings. Sources of IR include new stars (far left), starburst galaxies (upper left), cool interstellar clouds (upper right) and the background radiation left over from the Big bang (far right).
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