Infrared astronomy is the branch of astronomy and astrophysics that studies objects as they would appear in the infrared (IR) region of the electromagnetic spectrum. Infrared astronomy has helped scientists gain better insights into processes that occur during the birth and death of stars, as well as to observe brown dwarfs, extrasolar planets, and other sub-stellar mass objects. It has also aided the examination of dust grains in the Milky Way and other galaxies. The field of IR astronomy has greatly benefited from the development of highly sensitive IR detectors, the establishment of large arrays on the ground, and the use of satellite technology.
From a Unification perspective, several points can be made:
- Studies in infrared astronomy require superior mental faculties, which are connected to our spiritual dimension. These faculties reflect the higher intelligence of our Creator.
- Our efforts in the field of infrared astronomy spring from our inner desire to understand the natural world, regardless of whether the knowledge gained helps us for our practical, survival needs. These efforts distinguish the human species from all others that we are aware of.
- The value of human beings does not stem from the size of our population or location and distribution in the universe. Rather, our value is related to the internal faculties and talents that are endowed by our Creator.
- Through infrared astronomy, we work toward establishing harmony with the rest of the created world and stewardship (dominion) of true love over it. In Unification terminology, we work toward fulfilling God's "Third Great Blessing" to humanity.
- By sharpening our understanding of objects in space, infrared astronomy shows us that these objects are part of the larger picture of the universe and exist for the sake of the whole. Thus they provide us with an internal guiding principle: to live for the sake of others. When we live by this principle, we demonstrate God's nature in action, and we can create a world of harmony and peace, which is the desire of all people.