Definition of Spectroscopy

Word of the Week: Spectroscopy

The study of how electromagnetic radiation – such as visible light, heat or x-rays – is absorbed or reflected by matter. Scientists use spectrometers to split the energy reflected by an object into different wavelengths (spectra) to reveal information about the object.

OSIRIS-REx has three spectrometers – OTES, OVIRS, and REXIS – which will analyze thermal, visible and infrared, and x-ray energy from Bennu. The spectra they produce will help the team understand the asteroid’s thermal properties and which minerals and elements are present on its surface.

Credit: University of Arizonaaster


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