Questions tagged [infrared]

Questions about infrared astronomy, both observations (in the broadest sense) and instruments. The infrared part of the electromagnetic spectrum has a longer wavelength than visible light, but shorter than sub-mm or radio waves.

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Why aren't ground-based observatories using adaptive optics for visible wavelengths (circa 2016)?

Adaptive Optics (AO) techniques allow ground based observatories to dramatically improve resolution by actively compensating for the effects of Astronomical Seeing. The atmospheric effects are quite ...
uhoh's user avatar
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8 votes
2 answers
367 views

What makes small interferometers useful? Like NIRISS on JWST

NIRISS is an instrument on the James Webb Space Telescope. It has a "non-redundant aperture mask" which obviously covers most of the area of the sensor. It seems to be advantageous for high contrast ...
LocalFluff's user avatar
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11 votes
1 answer
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Was GRAVITY built to look at one star?

GRAVITY (shown below) is a interferometric combiner of near infrared light from four very large telescopes called The Very Large Telescope in order to make careful astrometric measurements near the ...
uhoh's user avatar
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6 votes
0 answers
200 views

How far have stars been seen beyond the center of the Milky Way?

What lies near the center of the galaxy is of great interest and in recent times the motion of dozen(s) of stars at the center of our galaxy orbiting around Sgr A* have been measured in great detail. ...
uhoh's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
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Why is the "green" comet C/2014 Q2 (Lovejoy) red in this picture?

In this nice NYTimes 'survey article' "Our Vast Solar System and Its Many Explorers" there is a NEOWISE image of Comet C/2014 Q2 (Lovejoy). See here also. The NASA description of the image says: ...
uhoh's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
171 views

Can the WISE telescope detect black holes?

Black holes are hot, aren't they? With its infrared scan, could the WISE telescope also detect a black hole? The hypothetical planet beyond the Kuiper belt could actually be a primordial black hole. ...
user30007's user avatar
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10 votes
1 answer
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Why was helium hydride (HeH+) the universe's first molecule?

The abstract of the new Nature paper Astrophysical detection of the helium hydride ion HeH+ tell us that infrared spectroscopy from SOFIA detected ...rotational ground-state transition of HeH+ at a ...
uhoh's user avatar
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10 votes
1 answer
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V471 Tauri's circumbinary brown dwarf non-observation; Applegate, or over-restrictive assumptions?

tl;dr Has the brown dwarf observation been disproven? I have just started reading about the interesting object V471 Tauri. The first two sentences of the introduction to The V471 Tauri System: A ...
uhoh's user avatar
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8 votes
1 answer
148 views

Is there any correlation between the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) and the distribution of distant galaxies?

The Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) is remarkably isotropic but does exhibit a distinct dipolar Doppler shift and also much smaller but measurable fluctuations in intensity and polarization. ...
Roger Wood's user avatar
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7 votes
0 answers
140 views

Can terrestrial infrared telescopes see through clouds or haze, sometimes at least?

My answer to Could UV-A imaging sensor reasonably see a total eclipse in progress through clouds? suggests that while clouds blocking visible light observation of the (partially) eclipsed solar disk ...
uhoh's user avatar
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5 votes
2 answers
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Which kind of strategy should we take to discover Planet 9 and other KBOs?

What are the differences between the discoveries of Sedna, 2012vp 113, and the supposed Planet 9? All need deep infrared surveys at the ecliptic plane, but P9 needs a much deeper survey?
questionhang's user avatar
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4 votes
1 answer
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Can we see atomic positronium lines in space? What could be learned from it and what are current challenges to doing so?

This answer to Have we detected spectra of exotic atoms in stars?1 currently ends: Estimates for observing lines corresponding to transitions between different bound states of positronium are not ...
uhoh's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
184 views

What does the celestial sphere look like in thermal IR?

The Space SE question JWST detector heat load asks ...what is the heat load from the collected radiation of the main mirrors on the detector, and how does that vary depending on what objects or ...
uhoh's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
328 views

What exactly is the risk to any JWST instrumentation when looking at objects that are "too bright"?

This answer by pela to question #48317 at one point states The star should be bright, but probably not too bright (like Betelgeuse), since we don't want to burn MIRI off from the beginning A comment ...
Nij's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
108 views

How can a 1-pixel image of a rotating asteroid be used to measure its thermal inertia?

Phys.org's Observatory in Chile takes highest-resolution measurements of asteroid surface temperatures ever obtained from earth discusses imaging of millimeter wave imaging of the surface of asteroid ...
uhoh's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
106 views

Is Sofia a radio telescope proper?

I usually think of SOFIA, the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy as an infrared optical telescope: SOFIA uses a 2.5 m (8.2 ft) reflector telescope, which has an oversized, 2.7 m (8.9 ft)...
uhoh's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
98 views

What telescopes used 1000+ pixel Microwave Kinetic Inductance Detectors (MKIDs) for multispectral, single photon counting (time + energy of photons)?

This excellent answer to What would “the next GAIA”-like instrument be like? Could it simply be a 3 to 5x scaled-up version of the same beautiful system? is worth a thorough read-through, but it and ...
uhoh's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
89 views

How do the stars in the near-infrared (NIR) radiate?

Let's say we are studying the integrated near-infrared (NIR) light of a distant spiral galaxy. We would expect most of this light to be dominated by red giants stars and dwarfs. I assumed these stars ...
Astroturf's user avatar
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1 vote
2 answers
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How is IR spectroscopy used to determine the composition of asteroids?

I am trying to understand how spectrometers or spectroscopy can be used to calculate the surface composition of asteroids for the purposes of asteroid mining.
Stuti Sharma's user avatar