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Chapter 6:
Sweeping Through the Spectrum: Comparative Imagery
As we have toured the known spectrum of light, from radiowaves to gamma rays, we have seen that the tiny slice of the spectrum that our unaided eyes see is a fairly specialized band that permits vision in our water-drenched world, yet gives an incomplete picture of the physical universe. Imaging technology permits us to transcend the limitations of our anatomy and see the universe with alien vision. What would it be like if human eyes had an adjustable color response? Our eyes automatically adjust their focus and their sensitivity in response to varying object distance and light levels, yet their color response is fixed by their chemical structure. We can overcome this limitation with artificial eyes, each designed for a particular waveband of the electromagnetic spectrum. Consider a familiar object, a human face. The appearance of the face is highly dependent on wavelength - there are many “faces” to a face. I have been imaged in many wavelengths of light, from the millimeter-wave to the x-ray band. My familiar face, the one I see in the mirror, is only one of a set.
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