The Infrared Space Observatory… or ISO for short. Launched in 1995 by a European Ariane Rocket and funded between ESA, NASA and an agency that’s now part of JAXA, the ISO was state of the art at the time. It spent three years in orbit, taking images, photometric measurements and taking stellar spectra before it’s superfluid helium coolant ran out.

ISO made some fantastic discoveries actually. Water molecules around stars, silicate crystals, hydrogen fluoride in interstellar clouds, intergalactic dust, planet formation around dying stars… Actually, ISO was probably one of the things that really kicked astrochemistry into becoming the field it is today.

The amazing thing is that all of those observations are archived and freely available on the internet. Not just that, but the data is all still very useful. It’s strange actually. For all of the measurements made with ISO, it seems like in most cases, they just processed the data and left it there for someone else to find.

Makes you wonder what you might discover if you look hard enough…

About Invader Xan

Molecular astrophysicist, usually found writing frenziedly, staring at the sky, or drinking mojitos.
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7 Responses to ISO

  1. madsophia says:

    I have seen the effects of color IR film, however, I’ve never seen it for sale. the color IR film requires the use of different color filters to get those effects, but I don’t know anything about it.

  2. invaderxan says:

    You, my friend, are a photography guru. :)
    Thanks for the tip! I’ll defintely have to try and get some of that film and monkey about with it. I’ve used other Ilford films plenty of times before. They do iso-25 for stupidly long exposures and iso-1600 which got me some really cool streetlit industrial shots.
    I love the dense shadows and the misty burnt out highlights that IR film gets…
    BTW, have you seen the colour IR film? It makes foliage go all magenta and turns people green! :D

  3. madsophia says:

    no not yet. it’s still in my camera
    try out the ilford SFX. it’s not true infrared, but it’s got the good qualities and none of the bad. you will need a red filter also to block out as much of the visible spectrum as possible.
    real infra red will give you more pronounced effects, however it is extremely heat and light sensitive. it must be kept under refrigeration and loaded/unloaded in the dark. it is also harder to find a place to process it. it is not coated the same way regular film is, and that contributes to the crappy handeling.
    the sfx is coated and still gives good effects. you can process it anywhere that does b&w and it’s just easier.
    adorama sells a pack of three rolls with a super dark red filter. you can probably find that same pack in england (ilford is made in england). you don’t need the super dark red filter, you can just use a regular red. but you will get better results with the dark red. but it is sooooo dark that you are going to need very long exposures, and hence, very bright sunlight. that is ok though, infrared is at it’s best with sky and vegetation. it does well with portraits also.
    it’s been about 10 years since I shot this film, so it’s pretty exciting!

  4. invaderxan says:

    Ooo! Infrared film! :D
    Got any prints yet? I’ve been meaning on playing with some IR film for years now…

  5. madsophia says:

    don’t be sorry. you have a lot more knowledge than I do and therefore a more sophisticated understanding of this stuff. I still like to read about it.
    I love food!!!
    and, I just so happen to be shooting infrared film right now:)

  6. invaderxan says:

    Hehe… You see? Infrared is cool! :)
    And I’m sorry if I’m difficult to understand. I don’t mean to be.
    Perhaps I should do a few more food-related posts… Something we can all enjoy!

  7. madsophia says:

    I watched a program on Nova last night that was dealing with super massive black holes and how they found them and the stars orbiting them through the intergalactic dust by using infrared. I don’t know much about physics or astronomy, so it was pretty cool when I see stuff like that and then I can kinda understand some of your posts. awwww.

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