Monday, July 19, 2010
Here's a page to keep in mind whenever a story about a telescope in a different wavelength besides the visual spectrum, especially when a friend of yours or a commenter below the story asks what would be the big difference between that and a regular telescope. Going from visible to far IR for example shows in one glance the difference between what we can see with our eyes (not very much due to all the dust) and what is really out there (lots and lots of heat). Also note that you can use the keyboard to switch from one view to another instead of moving the slider, so hit v for visible or f for far IR, m for microwave and so on.
I'm not usually all that interested in reporting on stories about concepts such as galaxies, quasars and the like, not because they are uninteresting but because they are such esoteric concepts for us at the moment and IMO the best way to increase interest in space is to focus on the familiar - small asteroids, planets like our own, places that could have planets like our own, and so on. But this page is a very good way to demonstrate in one fell swoop what the difference is between one wavelength and another, and thus why certain telescopes work better in some areas than others.