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In astronomy, the optical window is the optical portion of the electromagnetic spectrum that passes through the atmosphere all the way to the ground. Most EM wavelengths are blocked by the atmosphere, so this is like a window that lets only a narrow selection of what is out there, though the Sun is particularly active in the passed wavelengths. It is called "optical" because the wavelengths we can see are all in this range. The window runs from around 300 nanometers (ultraviolet-C) at the short end up into the range the eye can use, roughly 400-700 nm and continues up through the visual infrared to around 1100 nm, which is thermal infrared.
Additional recommended knowledge
In medical physics, the optical window is the portion of the visible and infrared spectrum where living tissue absorbs relatively little light. This window runs approximately from 650 nm to 1200 nm. At shorter wavelengths light is strongly absorbed by hemoglobin in blood, while at longer wavelengths water strongly absorbs infrared light.
Optical window can also mean a (usually flat, sometimes optical flat) piece of transparent optical material that allows light into an optical instrument.
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Optical_window". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|