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Explain what is meant by the term "blackbody radiation" and describe the basic properties of such radiation. Tell how we can determine the temperature of an object by observing the radiation that it emits. Show how the relative motion of a source of radiation and its observer can change the perceived wavelength of the radiation, and explain the importance of this phenomenon to astronomy. Astronomical objects are more than just things of beauty in the night sky. Planets, stars, and galaxies are of vital significance if we are to understand fully our place in the big picture—the "grand design" of the universe.

In this chapter we begin our study of how astronomers extract information from the light emitted by astronomical objects. HTM (2 of 3) [14/12/2002 2:33:32] Astronomy Today concepts of radiation are central to modern astronomy. HTM (1 of 3) [14/12/2002 2:33:34] Astronomy Today (Background) When a prism is placed in the path of light captured by a telescope, the resulting photograph can look almost psychedelic. Each of the stars and other sources of radiation in the picture has had its light split into its component colors, from red to violet.

However, in 13,000 years' time, Orion will be a summer constellation. HTM (8 of 8) [14/12/2002 2:33:37] Chapter 1, Section 4 The Moon is our nearest neighbor in space. Apart from the Sun, it is by far the brightest object in the sky. Like the Sun, the Moon appears to move relative to the background stars. Unlike the Sun, however, the Moon really does revolve around the Earth. It crosses the sky at a rate of about 12° per day, which means it moves an angular distance equal to its own diameter—30 arc minutes—in about an hour.

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