Chapter 5 Summary - M05_BENN0885_05_SE_C05.qxd 12:43 PM...

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Chapter 5 Light: The Cosmic Messenger 135 are often built in pairs (such as the Keck and Magellan telescope pairs) or with more than one telescope on a common mount (such as the Large Binocular Telescope) so that they can be used for infrared and visible- light interferometry. In addition, astronomers are testing technologies that may allow interferometry to be extended all the way to X rays. Someday, astronomers may use telescopes in space or on the Moon as giant interferometers, offering views of distant objects that may be as de- tailed in comparison to Hubble Space Telescope images as Hubble’s im- ages are in comparison to the naked eye’s. the big picture Putting Chapter 5 into Context This chapter’s main purpose was to show how we learn about the uni- verse by observing the light of distant objects. “Big picture” ideas that will help you keep your understanding in perspective include the following: Light and matter interact in ways that allow matter to leave “finger- prints” on light. We can learn a great deal about the objects we ob- serve by carefully analyzing their light. Most of what we know about the universe comes from information that we receive from light. The visible light that our eyes can see is only a small portion of the complete electromagnetic spectrum. Different portions of the spec- trum may contain different pieces of the story of a distant object, so it is important to study all forms of light. There is far more to light than meets the eye. By dispersing the light of a distant object into a spectrum, we can determine the object’s composition, surface temperature, motion toward or away from us, and more.
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