Moonlight Is a Many-Splendored Thing

We see the Moon differently depending upon the wavelength in which we view it. Top row from left:

These are all photos of the Moon but photographed in a variety of different wavelengths of light. The images are arranged from longest to shortest wavelength. Top row from left: Moon in radio waves, submillimeter light, mid-infrared, near-infrared. Bottom row: Visual, ultraviolet, X-rays and gamma rays. Credits (top): NRAO-VLA/U. of British Columbia, Mike Kozubel/MSX Project/NASA-Galileo. Bottom: Bob King/Southwest Research Institute/NASA-ROSAT/Dave Thompson-NASA-GFSC

“By the Light of the Silvery Moon” goes the song. But the color and appearance of the Moon depends upon the particular set of eyes we use to see it. Human vision is restricted to a narrow slice of the electromagnetic spectrum called visible light. With colors ranging from sumptuous violet to blazing red and everything in between, the diversity of the visible spectrum provides enough hues for any crayon color a child might imagine. But as expansive as the visual world’s palette is, it’s not nearly enough to please astronomers’ retinal appetites.(…)
Read the rest of Moonlight Is a Many-Splendored Thing (956 words)

© Bob King for Universe Today, 2014. |
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