Seeing the Whole Symphony

Seeing the Whole Symphony
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light waves

Human eyes are capable of seeing only a small segment of the spectrum of electromagnetic waves that exist in the universe. Astronomy Professor David Helfand at Columbia University created a website and movie to explain how our eyes are tuned to see only a single 'octave' of the electromagnetic frequency spectrum. Taking advantage of humans' ability to hear several octaves of sound at once, Helfand uses Beethoven's Ninth Symphony to illustrate this concept. Helfand writes, "The history of the last fifty years in Astronomy has been one of expanding our vision, of opening new windows on the Universe by observing in the many octaves of the electromagnetic spectrum to which our eyes are blind. Entirely new constitutents of the Universe have been revealed, and our models for its origin and fate have been radically revised. At last, we are close to seeing the whole symphony." (via IR)
Submitted by elementlist on Sep 11, 2006
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