Space observation would stuck at a certain point if people have not discovered the usability of the infrared radiation which has a great potential for space exploration than visible light. Visible light allowed people to get the information about the space through the optical telescopes. The old technology can be compared to optical microscopes which are a way less powerful than the modern devices based on the electron emission technology. With such instruments people are working with the information based on the emission of energy or light rather than a direct picture of the observed subject which can be recognised by human eyes.
The importance of the technology based on infrared rays
You can imagine how much information about cosmic structure is encrypted by the light of the length people are not capable of seeing. This means that the development of the technologies which allow people to utilise infrared waves is similar to deciphering some of the hidden information. Using this rich source of information scientists can unravel a way more than the usual optical telescopes. You can certainly understand now how limited was the field for observation for scientists whose only tool were optical telescopes.
The nature of infrared rays
The infrared waves are located at the end of the visible spectrum. The red end of the visible spectrum to be precise.
This radiation stays there with the coverage of 700 nanometres or 700 billion of a millimetre to 1 millimetre in the electromagnetic spectrum. The one millimetre of length is the next type of waves in the spectrum which has radio waves.
Infrared rays – usage
Astronomers came to divide the infrared waves into four categories. Currently, the classification of the infrared waves includes near, mid, far and submillimetre waves. This division helps astronomers to point the wavelengths. The differences in the length determine a category of a wave.
It remains as a constant struggle if astronomers or anyone wants to study infrared waves from the Earth’s surface. The Earth’s atmosphere is covered with carbon dioxide and water vapours suck in the infrared waves from this low end. At the same time, if we care able to reach to the high mountains, we may still be able to pick up on infrared waves. Some of the shorter and longer wavelengths still reach to the mountain tops.
By the way, infrared light is used not only for space observation. One of the other ways of utilising these waves on the Earth is the technology used in remote controllers which are applied to controlling remote devices. Another common usage is in optical fibres. These are a special type of fibres which can be found in telecommunication lines as well as the lines of your internet. In addition to it, infrared waves allow people to get a thermal image of a body with special cameras useful for detecting body heat. These are a couple of examples of using infrared rays by people.