Sunday, February 3, 2008

What is Optical astronomy?

Astronomy is one of the greatest things to be invented by scientists. Long time back from today even before the birth of Jesus Christ scientists starts studying the atmosphere in outer space and motion of celestial objects in the solar system and galaxy. By observing night sky through naked eyes, scientists of medieval used to make calendars and calculate the size and distance of sun and moon from the earth. Numerous theories about the cosmos and solar system were created by scientists and with the invention of telescope some of the ideas were proved to be wrong. The use of telescope made observing the sky and outer space for people.

Today the concept of astronomy has changed a bit. Astronomy is no more confined within observing outer space only through telescope but electromagnetic radiation and infrared radiation detectors are also used by astronomers for better study of of celestial objects. However, observational astronomy of optical astronomy is still the most important part of this wonderful scientific study.

Optical astronomy is the oldest forms of astronomical observation and its main aim is to observe wide variety of things in the outer space through telescope. Optical astronomy includes observations of objects that are within the range of light and that is why visible light astronomy is the other name of optical astronomy. Different wings of physics like imaging, spectroscopy, polarimetry and photometry are important parts of optical astronomy.

Photometry is used to measure the amount of light coming from an object and spectroscopy is used to measure the distribution of light with respect tom its wave length. Polarimetry is needed to measure polarization of the state of light coming from an object. On the other hand, optical astronomy is also deeply inter-related with infrared astronomy and that's why instruments like solid state digital detectors, lenses and mirrors are used for studying celestial objects.

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