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2
votes
2answers
42 views

What does the opacity of a molecular transition mean?

In particular, what does it mean when a line (e.g, emission line in stellar wind) is optically thick or thin. I know what an optically think/thick medium is, but how does this concept compare to ...
1
vote
1answer
185 views

How to differentiate elements that have same spectral lines in a star?

Suppose that iron and calcium have a spectral line with the same wavelength. How would you determine which element is present in the atmosphere of a star if you found this line in its spectrum?
3
votes
2answers
187 views

Why don't we see purple stars

I know that we don't see green stars because in blackbody radiation star doesn't produce one spectrum. The stars that have peaks in the green spectrum produce other spectrum in nearly same amout. ...
5
votes
2answers
248 views

Temperature gradient in stars

It is a well known fact that in stars, there exists a temperature gradiënt. The observational reason is because we perceived spectral lines in the otherwise continuous spectrum of a star. If this ...
5
votes
1answer
132 views

Do narrow lines in the spectra of O- and B- type stars always indicate magnetic fields?

I was reading a paper on the differential emission measures of a set of hot O- and B- type stars. As the authors discuss in Section 3 (page 959), two stars, $\tau$ Sco and $\theta^1$ Ori C, have ...
2
votes
2answers
293 views

Can you identify a star's 'signature' from its spectroscopy?

I overheard a discussion between friends: If your spaceship was transported to a random location in our galaxy, you could identify nearby stars by their signature, and then triangulate your ...
7
votes
1answer
395 views

Why does higher surface gravity broaden spectral lines?

It's always made intuitive sense to me that a higher surface gravity leads to broader spectral lines from a star, but yesterday I realized that I don't have a physical explanation for why this is so. ...
1
vote
1answer
165 views

Are hot stars like O-type stars entirely composed of helium?

Hot stars like O-type stars show no hydrogen in their spectra. Does this mean they are made entirely of helium? Any explanation would be really helpful.
2
votes
2answers
555 views

about H$_\alpha$ and H$_\beta$ lines in astronomical objects' spectra

Generally there may be some line ratio between the two lines. If H$\alpha$ is strong, it is quite possible we can see H$_\beta$ too. Is it possible we can see H$_\beta$, but can not see H$_\alpha$? ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

How to measure distances to stars by means of spectroscopic parallaxes?

How to measure distances to stars by means of spectroscopic parallaxes on practice? What is the accuracy of measuring distances using this method compared with distances based on HIPPARCOS ...