The One with Infrared Light
Did you hear? That composer, stargazer extraordinaire, William Herschel, (who could definitely stand to look away from his telescope once in a while if you ask me), discovered yet another thing. Talk about starting off the 19th century with a bang here in England. You think at 62 years old, he would have something better to do than gaze at the skies with his poor sister, Caroline. She’ll never have a husband, but will have the comets she discovered, bless her heart.
Anyway, word on the street is that after discovering that planet of his, he wanted to figure out if heat changed passing through the different color filters he used to observe the sun. He thought that there might be some heat contained within the colors so he went to that laboratory to investigate.
He put up one of those lovely prisms -- oh you know, Mr. Seddon on the High Street sells them in his shop. Oh, they are so lovely, especially when the afternoon sun comes in just in time for tea. Have you heard about Mr. Seddon's trip to the United States? Oh, well that’s a story for another time, dear.
Where was I? Oh yes, William hung that prism up, let the sunlight pour in, and stuck thermometers in each of the colors coming from the prism. What he found was not only did each color have a higher temperature than the ones measuring the ambient conditions, but different temperatures as well, increasing from violet to red. And the craziest bit? Well he had one control after the red end of the prism and it was the hottest of them all! Now he is going around with this newfangled idea he is calling “calorific rays” saying there is light that we cannot see all around us that behaves similarly to the light we see. Can you believe that? Well I just don’t. Next he is going to say that he found an eighth planet when all this attention subsides, you just wait.
Anywho, I’m just going to take a walk in this sunshine. Hopefully I don’t get too much of a tan, but I just love the feeling of the heat on this beautiful summer day!
Like sand through a No. 4 sieve, so are the days of our labs.