What we see

At temperature above absolute zero, all objects radiate electromagnetic energy by virtue of their atomic and molecular oscillations. The total amount of emitted radiation increases with the body's absolute temperature and peaks at progressively shorter wavelengths. The sun, being a major source of energy, radiation and illumination, allows capturing reflected light with conventional (and some not-so-conventional) cameras and films.

The basic strategy for sensing electromagnetic radiation is clear. Everything in nature has its own unique distribution of reflected, emitted and absorbed radiation. These spectral characteristics, if ingeniously exploited, can be used to distinguish one thing from another or to obtain information about shape, size and other physical and chemical properties.

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