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Life on MarsWhat to Know Before We Go$
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David A. Weintraub

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780691209258

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: September 2021

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691209258.001.0001

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Misty Mars

Misty Mars

(p.55) 5 Misty Mars
Life on Mars

David A. Weintraub

Princeton University Press

This chapter considers the invented craft of spectroscopy as one of the important research techniques used by mid-nineteenth-century astronomers to the study of Mars. It details how the tools of spectroscopy led to the discovery of proof for the presence of water on the surface and in the atmosphere of Mars. It also discusses that the knowledge that water exists on Mars made astronomers believe they had proof that Mars had an Earth-like climate and that the red patches on Mars were vegetation. The chapter explains that spectroscopy involves channeling a beam of light from any source through a prism or a grating, which spreads the light out into its constituent colors, allowing scientists to study the details of brightness and faintness of the different colors. It mentions William Huggins and William Allen Miller, who suggested that the Mars's red color is a consequence of its inability to reflect violet and blue light.

Keywords:   spectroscopy, astronomers, Mars, Earth-like climate, William Huggins, William Allen Miller

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