Infra-red Astronomy – 28th June 2001

Dr. Helen Walker, who has worked for many years on the ISO project, gave a talk entitled Infra-red astronomy in which she explained that IR is used in many areas of astronomical research, such as determining the composition of the atmospheres of the other planets, seeing through the dust in our own and other galaxies, and as a tool for determining the chemistry of material in interstellar space. She made it clear that the incredible Hubble pictures only gave part of the story, and very different information was gleaned from the IR and sub millimetre wave bands. The difference between IR images of the Milky Way and the Andromeda galaxy was striking. Andromeda has no hot centre, implying no central black hole!

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