The Next Big Thing for Infrared Astronomy

infrared heating, infrared, the launch of infrared, astronaut

The launch of infrared

Space is a radiation dominated environment. There is no air for convection heating to occur so what orbits the universe instead?

 At Jigsaw we are beginning to connect the aspect of space with our Infrared heating panels. Believe it or not infrared is used and circulates the solar system more than you think. And it is not just as simple as the infrared light from the sun! About one half of the energy produced and emitted throughout the history of the Universe has been absorbed and re-emitted as infrared light. Our question is why can the solar system, space shuttles, and astronauts survive with infrared? and why isn’t it being used down on planet earth with us more frequently?

Step into space and see how infrared changes the way astronauts and scientists at NASA explore our universe.

Are infrared rays found on earth?

The simple answer is yes infrared rays are found on earth. Infrared radiation, or infrared light, is a type of radiant energy. It is used in everyday life without realising. Even though we can feel it as heat it is invisible to the human eyes. All objects in the universe emit some level of Infrared radiation, but two of the most obvious sources are the sun and fire. These are far-infrared waves as they radiate thermal temperature. No, Infrared heating panels are not as harmful as the sun’s rays. However, they do work in the same way. They also transmit far-infrared waves. The difference between far infrared rays to normal convection heating is that this type of heat doesn’t rise. Just like stepping out into the sun on a sunny day the heat is direct onto objects or materials.

Infrared heating on earth

There are different wavelengths of infrared heating found on earth and in space that is in the electromagnetic radiation spectrum. Near, mid, and far. The further along the infrared spectrum there are lower frequency waves with longer wavelengths and have a lower transmission therefore, more easily to be absorbed. All infrared radiation heats objects directly. When we talk about far-infrared that is the infrared that our Jigsaw infrared panels radiate. It is often referred to as comfort heat. This radiation is safe, and it also has been associated with an overall improvement in health.

We use Far infrared because it requires less wattage to run, and it is more energy efficient. This is because our bodies are designed to naturally feel the warmth from the sun so our body will absorb the heat much quicker. Which is great for our energy bills as they don’t need to be left on as long. Therefore, the heating won’t need to be on for as long. Down on earth we choose not to use near and mid infrared for our panels because the wavelengths are shorter, so it won’t heat rooms up as fast. However, as they transmit visible light it is great to be used in space.

earth

where do we use infrared rays?

Scientists are beginning to unlock the mysteries of cooler objects across the universe such as planets, cool stars, nebulae, and many more, by studying the infrared rays they emit.

Infrared waves have longer wavelengths than visible light and can pass through dense regions of gas and dust in space with less scattering and absorption.

The art of forming a star. Everyone has seen a photo of the amazing variety of colours of stars. This represents different wavelengths of infrared light. Different wavelengths of light reveal different natural occurrences, and the infrared is important in the process. One of the advantages of using near infrared is that dust is transparent to it because infrared is a longer wavelength that can pass through the particles easily. Therefore, an optical telescope by itself would be unable to see a star covered in dust, whereas near infrared can detect its emission so the dust can become more observable. Earth's atmosphere blocks most infrared wavelengths, and in addition it also produces its own infrared radiation.

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Who uses Infrared rays in space?

More than the eye can see. Observing dust particles with infrared rays can stop the dust from altering any equipment or even creating health issues for astronauts. However, if there is a health problem Infrared studies have shown to have multiple benefits in space helping with prevention of bone and muscle atrophy, ability to improve cellular function and combat the effects of living in zero gravity environments. This is because the infrared rays help repair new muscle cells this is because it penetrates the body with the long wavelength, therefore, promotes blood flow bringing oxygen and nutrients to injured tissue.

Furthermore, in space the astronauts use the infrared radiation in space for thermal balance. As their spacesuits are insulated against radiation heat loss by reflecting the infrared radiation back into their body.

Astronaut in space, infrared rays

How does Infrared orbit space?

This heat is emitted from Earth in the form of infrared radiation. Without infrared the earth’s climate can’t be regulated by the energy absorbed by the sun and the loss of energy to space. Now we know that the sun emits infrared radiation the earths emission is also mostly through infrared because everything in the atmosphere like water evaporation, carbon dioxide, and methane absorb the longer wavelengths of far-infrared radiation. This then emits all the infrared radiation to bounce off all surfaces towards the earth. We all know that the earth can’t orbit without the sun, and we all enjoy feeling the warmth. So, why can’t we feel this heat all year round even in our homes and properties. Well, we can. Stepping into the sun in your home hasn’t been easier and it is even great for the environment too with our Jigsaw low carbon emission infrared heating solutions.

Moreover, NASA scientists use infrared to help predict weather. "Approximately half of Earth’s emission to space occurs within the far-infrared region of the spectrum. It will improve our understanding of the climate system by enabling quantification of the far-infrared contribution to the Earth radiation budget’’ The role of infrared is to predict current and future climates in space. Its main role is to measure the greenhouse effect and understand the energy balance within the planet. Scientists need to measure the greenhouse effect as we all know our climate is way above the 1.5 degrees that we need to hit. Therefore, the earth’s greenhouse effect is getting stronger as we add more greenhouse gases to the atmosphere.

space craft

Space craft thermal

Temperature control is essential to guarantee the optimal success of a space mission. The heating of the space craft is not much different to how our infrared heating panels work. A thermostat, similar to the one in your home, switches on the electric current to the heater only when the temperature falls below a selectable point. As much as 300 watts of power are used to run heaters on different parts of the spacecraft. How we control our Jigsaw panels is with a Genius kit. This also controls and adjusts the temperature to what is required through an app. This is through considering the external temperatures to optimise heating controls. Yes, our panels can be controlled much more easily than a space craft. However, infrared is controlled in a much similar way.

 Infrared radiation is used to help all around the universe. That’s why at Jigsaw we believe that using infrared to heat properties is the future of heating to half global emissions by 2030.

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