Mid-infrared Lines as Astrophysical Diagnostics: Two Decades of Problems and Promise
I arrived in Berkeley in August 1976 with an introduction to Charles Townes from my undergraduate advisor, 70 dollars, and the idea that 0.9 μm was pretty far into the infrared. Forty-eight hours later I was at Lick Observatory with John Lacy and Fred Baas and a large and unwieldy spectrometer, looking for an ionic species ([NeII]) I had never heard of, at a wavelength (12.8 μm) that seemed unimaginably long. And in complete disregard for all my preconceptions the [Nell] came booming in so strongly from every HII region we looked at that we could see it on the voltmeter. That first venture into the middle-infrared convinced me that it was the spectral region of the future, and although there have been ups and downs in the last two decades I still think so.
KeywordsPlanetary Nebula Metal Abundance Infrared Space Observatory Very Large Array Stellar Temperature
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