Water Vapor Gets Excited

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Science  09 Aug 2002:
Vol. 297, Issue 5583, pp. 943-945
DOI: 10.1126/science.1075934

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Water vapor plays a key role in the absorption of solar radiation and the trapping of thermal energy in the atmosphere, and has been detected in solar sunspots, cool stars, and brown dwarfs. But as Bernath explains in his Perspective, it has been difficult to calculate exact absorption spectra for water vapor because the experimental data used to test the models were insufficiently accurate. He highlights the report by Callegari et al., whose novel method provides highly accurate measurements of water dipole moments for comparison with models.