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George Carruthers – African American History Month 2019 #BlackHistoryMonth

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Born in 1939, astrophysicist George Carruthers invented the far ultraviolet camera, which was used in the Apollo 16 mission, Via Nasa

Dr. George Carruthers, right, and William Conway, a project manager at the Naval Research Institute, examine the gold-plated ultraviolet camera/spectrograph, the first moon-based observatory that Carruthers developed for the Apollo 16 mission. Working for the Naval Research Laboratory, Carruthers had three years earlier received a patent for a Far Ultraviolet Electrographic Camera, which obtained images in electromagnetic radiation in short wavelengths.

Apollo 16 astronauts placed the observatory on the moon in April 1972, where it sits today on the moon’s Descartes highland region, in the shadow of the lunar module Orion. Asked to explain highlights of the instrument’s findings for a general audience, Dr. Carruthers said “the most immediately obvious and spectacular results were really for the Earth observations, because this was the first time that the Earth had been photographed from a distance in ultraviolet light, so that you could see the full extent of the hydrogen atmosphere, the polar auroris and what we call the tropical airglow belt.”

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