SWS - ISO's Short Wavelength Spectrometer
This is a picture of part of the short wavelength spectrometer.
It spreads out the infrared light from the object it is observing into a spectrum. Distinguishing the component wavelengths like colours of a rainbow, it then measures the amount of light of each wavelength. These observations will tell an astronomer some of the chemical elements or molecules that are present. SWS has a facility for making more detailed observations of part of a spectrum which will tell astronomers the temperature and other details of the material they are studying.
SWS has told us a lot about the chemistry of astronomical objects. Here it is identifying the chemistry of some dust.
The two visible light pictures show a binary star with an obscuring
band of dust around the middle. The images are shown on the background of
an SWS spectrum. The graph has bumps, indicated with tick marks, which
are identified with a type of rock called Olivine. It is found as a very fine
Last updated: 10 October 2001
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