Ch 3: Overview of Light in Astronomy

About This Chapter

If you need to review the fundamentals of light for an upcoming astronomy exam, class project or homework assignment, then you're in the right place. In this chapter, you'll find a series of short video lessons and multiple-choice practice quizzes that can be accessed at any time that's convenient.

Overview of Light in Astronomy - Chapter Summary

For a high-level overview of light in astronomy, check out this collection of bite-sized video lessons. The chapter offers expert instruction on basic light concepts, including wavelengths, the electromagnetic spectrum, blackbody radiation theory, quantum physics, photons, Wien's law and much more. When you're finished with the chapter, you should be able to:

  • Compare several wave parameters
  • Define light, the speed of light and the nature of light
  • Identify sources of electromagnetic waves and the major regions of the electromagnetic spectrum
  • Explain blackbody and blackbody radiation theory
  • Summarize the Stefan-Boltzmann law and Wien's law and use these laws to make calculations
  • Evaluate major topics in quantum physics
  • Assess photon energy and wavelengths

At the end of each lesson, you'll be able to take a short quiz that's designed to reinforce your understanding of the information. You can work through the chapter at your own pace using any device that has a connection to the Internet. Be sure to take the chapter exam, and feel free to reach out to our astronomy experts if you have any questions about the material.

11 Lessons in Chapter 3: Overview of Light in Astronomy
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
Wave Parameters: Wavelength, Amplitude, Period, Frequency & Speed

1. Wave Parameters: Wavelength, Amplitude, Period, Frequency & Speed

How do we measure and describe waves? How do waves differ based upon their shapes? This lesson will guide you through the five wave parameters - period, frequency, amplitude, wavelength, and speed - that we use to characterize waves.

What is Light?

2. What is Light?

This lesson will define and describe what light is from both technical and more common-use perspectives, discuss what the different kinds of light are, and explain why it's called radiation.

The Speed of Light: Distance & Light-Years

3. The Speed of Light: Distance & Light-Years

This lesson will tell you what the speed of light is, what a light year is, what lookback time is, and why it is that we see many objects in space as they were a long time ago.

The Nature of Light: Origin, Spectrum & Color Frequency

4. The Nature of Light: Origin, Spectrum & Color Frequency

This lesson introduces the basics of visible light and color. Learn how the visible light spectrum is divided into the six color ranges. We'll also discuss why different people name colors in different ways.

Electromagnetic Waves: Definition, Sources & Properties

5. Electromagnetic Waves: Definition, Sources & Properties

In this lesson, learn the basics of electromagnetic waves and how they make up the electromagnetic spectrum. We will explore the major trends and categories within the spectrum, as well as the various sources of electromagnetic waves.

The 7 Major Regions of the Electromagnetic Spectrum

6. The 7 Major Regions of the Electromagnetic Spectrum

This lesson will walk you through each of the major regions of the electromagnetic spectrum. Explore the unique characteristics of X-rays, microwaves, radio waves, UV rays, infrared, gamma rays, and of course, visible light.

Blackbody & Blackbody Radiation Theory

7. Blackbody & Blackbody Radiation Theory

This lesson will go over the perfect absorber and emitter of radiation, something called a blackbody, as well as the concept of blackbody radiation and electromagnetic radiation.

What Are Wien's Law & the Stefan-Boltzmann Law?

8. What Are Wien's Law & the Stefan-Boltzmann Law?

This lesson will explain why an object glows and why it changes color with temperature as we take a look at blackbodies, electromagnetic radiation, Wien's Law, and the Stefan-Boltzmann Law.

Calculations with Wien's Law & the Stefan-Boltzmann Law

9. Calculations with Wien's Law & the Stefan-Boltzmann Law

This lesson will go over the equations, as well as some calculations, for Wien's law and the Stefan-Boltzmann law. You will learn what factors these laws depend upon and what they reveal.

Quantum Physics: Definition, Theories & Topics

10. Quantum Physics: Definition, Theories & Topics

While exploring this lesson, you will learn what quantum physics, otherwise known as quantum mechanics, is, examine some of its theories and topics, and discover the weird consequences that go along with it. A short quiz will follow.

What is a Photon? - Definition, Energy & Wavelength

11. What is a Photon? - Definition, Energy & Wavelength

In this lesson, we will learn the definition of a photon. We will also explain Planck's constant and its relationship to the photon energy and wavelength. The calculation of photon energy is also demonstrated.

Chapter Practice Exam
Test your knowledge of this chapter with a 30 question practice chapter exam.
Not Taken
Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
Not Taken

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