About This Chapter
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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Other chapters within the DSST Astronomy: Study Guide & Test Prep course
- History of Astronomy Basics
- How Scientists Think and Work
- Overview of Newton's Laws in Astronomy
- The Orbits of Celestial Bodies
- The Earth, Sky, and Moon Basics
- The Moon: Formation & Phases
- The Sun's Structure & Components
- The Solar System: Layout, Formation & Dating
- Characteristics of Our Solar System's Planets
- Small Celestial Bodies & Satellites in Our Solar System
- Measurement of Star Qualities
- Star Types and Significance
- The Birth and Life of Stars
- Basics of Star Death
- Neutron Stars & Black Holes
- The Milky Way Galaxy
- Galaxies: Properties & Characteristics
- The Universe: Key Concepts & Theories
- Intro to Life in the Universe
- Celestial Navigation & Timekeeping
- Overview of Telescopes
- DSST Informational Resources
- DSST Astronomy Flashcards