ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
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. In these experiments, light from various sources was split into its colours by refraction in a prism, and thermometers were used to investigate the heating effects of different colours. The hottest area, beyond visible red light, became known as infrared radiation. This artwork (Plate XII, figure 2) is the second 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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