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Exploring Stellar Spectra

In a continuing effort to learn new and different things about my hobby, I never exactly "stopped" with the diffraction gratings. After having had very good success with capturing solar spectra, I had to know if it was possible to catch stellar as well. For my experiments, I chose stars with the most recognizable pattern of absorption lines. Although in magnifying the spectral "rainbow", I have introduced pixelation into the image, I can still see absorption lines where they should be.

How about if I let you judge?



My studies also included learning to read that "rainbow bar code" and understand how the absorption lines denote chemical compositions. By no means are these total positive results... That would require actual burning onto a photographic plate... But like many things, I like to challenge myself using ordinary equipment and trying to achieve extraordinary results. In order for you to better understand what I'm trying to get you to look for, the following image is solar spectra.

Now we are seeing much "clearer" absorption lines that match even better with scientific data. Still not sure of what you're seeing? Then let's try flourescent light...

Hey, it's not exact "science"... Maybe because I'm not a scientist! I am nothing more than a person with a strong sense of curiousity, a spectral grating and a video camera. I continue to enjoy playing with the spectral grating, and I have found that just viewing a star in such a way as fascinating. By comparing what I see visually with actual spectral plates, I have found that where the colors are the boldest and broadest are where the absorption lines are the thinnest and closer together. The color band that tends to dim or be less prominent? Is the one where the lines are thicker and set further apart. It's actually a lot of fun! I dare you to try!! ;) Just contact me and I'll be happy to hook you up with a grating so you may experiment as well.