Spectral imaging is a branch of spectroscopy and of photography in which a complete spectrum or some spectral information (such as the Doppler shift or Zeeman splitting of a spectral line) is collected at every location in an image plane. Applications include astronomy, solar physics, planetology, and Earth remote sensing.
Various distinctions among techniques are applied, based on criteria including spectral range, spectral resolution, number of bands, width and contiguousness of bands, and application. The terms include multispectral imaging, hyperspectral imaging, full spectral imaging, imaging spectroscopy or chemical imaging. These terms are seldom applied to the use of only four or five bands that are all within the visible light range.
Spectral images are often represented as an image cube, a type of data cube.