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How does Astronomy involve Chemistry?

There is actually quite a lot of Chemistry used in various areas of Astronomy.

One big application is in the identification of spectral lines. Each element and molecule emits light at very specific frequencies, so we can use this fact to try to identify the composition of Astronomical objects from the light they emit. This can be hard, as there will be lots of things mixed in together all emitting different spectral lines (a famous astronomer once likened it to trying to reconstruct a piano from the noise it makes as it falls down the stairs!).

Areas where chemistry is particularly important is in studies of our Solar System, where the bodies can have very interesting composition. Another area is looking at Molecular Clouds (clouds with molecules in them) from which it is believed that stars form.

September 2004, Karen Masters (more by Karen Masters) (Like this Answer)

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