Light & Telescopes Introduction

The background image in this picture is of the Keck Telescopes atop Mauna Kea in Hawaii. I had the privilege of seeing the construction of Keck I in 1991 and getting a copy of the first picture taken with its 8.2 meter mirror. During the summerof 2002, I had the privilege of revisiting this telescope, along with others atop Mauna Kea as part of the High Energy Astrophysics meetings. This unit deals with the properties of light and the tools that astronomers use to decipher the secrets of the Universe. The unit is divided into several short sections, and students are expected to work through the unit in the sequence found below, concluding with a lab exercise and a few questions that demonstrate you have begun to understand some of this material:

1) Properties of Light ... The Electromagnetic Spectrum

2) Measuring Starlight

3) Refracting Telescopes

4) Reflecting Telescopes

5) Radio Telescopes

6) Space Telescopes

7) Getting your own telescope

8) Star Observation

By the time you have completed your way through this unit, you should also have completed another observation and learned enough about starlight and telescopes to answer a few questions on a quiz and then go to a telescope store and get one for yourself. The place to start is with part 1 ... electromagnetic spectrum.


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