Barry Rice

- doing science on a terrestrial planet -

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Essential Physics and Spectroscopy

Review any of the topics that strike your fancy, or read the sections sequentially. Is there something missing that you would like described? Email me questions or comments at the Invasive Species Team (bamrice(at) and I will do my best to answer them for you.

The physics of light: This defines wavelength, frequency, the speed of light, and tries to explain just what a photon is anyway.

Types of photons: The electromagnetic bestiary, from radio waves to gamma rays.

Color: A more profound, tricky and complicated topic than you might expect.

Continuum spectra: What the term means, and what we can learn from such things.

Absorption spectra: The meat and drink of remote sensing, this is where it all happens.

Atmospheric windows: A little about how the Earth can complicate remote sensing (and is related to why astronomers love to launch telescopes into space).


4 February 2009