The visible part of the spectrum only gives us access to a small fraction of the radiation given off by astronomical objects. For centuries, however, this was the only information available to astronomers. We will see throughout this book that observations in other parts of the spectrum have revealed entirely new types of objects or provided us with information crucial to understanding objects that are already observed in the visible. In discussing other parts of the spectrum, we start with ultraviolet observations, because the techniques are very similar to those in optical observations.
In many ways, we can think of ultraviolet observations as being short wavelength visible q
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