Questions tagged [spectra]

Questions about the observed frequency range of the electromagnetic radiation of a celestrial object.

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17
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2answers
2k views

Why are wavelengths shorter than visible light neglected by new telescopes?

The diagram below, which I stole from this post by @HDE226868, shows that angular resolution as a function of wavelength suddenly drops by three orders of magnitudes from visible to UV-light. The ...
12
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1answer
739 views

What is the Lyman Alpha forest Used For?

The Lyman-alpha forest is an interesting feature found in the spectra of sufficiently distant objects. This series of absorption lines extends over a range of frequencies, and are a result of the ...
11
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3answers
1k views

How to detect emission lines in optical spectra?

Is there any handy module to detect emission lines in a spectrum like one we get from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS)? You can see there are many emission lines like Ha,OI in the spectrum below. ...
11
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1answer
863 views

Recording Spectral Lines at Home

I was wondering if it would be possible to record the emission/absorption spectra of stars without expensive spectroscopy equipment. Would it be possible to somehow utilize diffraction grating? I own ...
8
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2answers
682 views

How exactly will DESI simultaneously capture individual spectra from 5,000 galaxies using optical fibers?

The BBC News article Telescope tracks 35 million galaxies in Dark Energy hunt says: The aim of the five-year programme is to shed light on Dark Energy - the mysterious force thought to drive an ...
8
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2answers
319 views

Typical wavelength of solar flare

I read that solar flares are customarily viewed in H-alpha light, as a temporary brightening of a small portion of chromosphere. What all can be interpreted from this? Is it because, energy of the ...
7
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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. ...
6
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1answer
848 views

Why are O III lines so prominent in the spectra of emission nebulae when the amount of oxygen relative to hydrogen is a million times smaller?

Looking at spectra of emission nebulae like the Lagoon Nebula, the $[\text{O III}]$ lines are prominent in intensity. However, the abundance of oxygen is minuscule compared to hydrogen. How then are ...
5
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2answers
241 views

Which measurements have shown that 2014 MU69 is red? (New Horizons' next target)

The recent NASA feature article New Horizons: Possible Clouds on Pluto, Next Target is Reddish MU69 is actually the smallest KBO to have its color measured – and scientists have used that data to ...
5
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1answer
312 views

Where can I find a database of galactic spectra?

I was wondering where spectra of galaxies at various redshifts are to be found. I'm looking for ones that can be used to find the recessional velocity of the galaxy and eventually the Hubble Constant. ...
5
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1answer
82 views

Is there evidence of super-heavy elements in the x-ray and gamma-ray spectrums of neutron stars?

It occurs to me, that between the surface and interior of neutron stars, gravitational pressure might produce super-heavy elements and that signatures of such elements might be detectable in the star'...
5
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2answers
247 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
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1answer
606 views

How do you estimate the error on the height/width of a Gaussian?

I'm trying to fit Gaussians to several lines in a spectrum that I have. Some of them overlap with one another, causing the fitting program that I'm using to not be able to give reasonable estimates ...
5
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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 ...
4
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1answer
38 views

How to model and subtract nebular emission lines from stellar spectrum

I have optical stellar spectra from a star forming region with spatially varying nebular background. I want to subtract the nebular lines from the stellar spectra (which are varying in intensity from ...
4
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1answer
566 views

What is an “arc” spectrum ?

I sometimes hear about astronomers using an arc spectrum to calibrate observations. For example a "He-Ar arc spectrum". What is an "arc" in this context? I assume it's nothing got to do with angles (...
4
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1answer
364 views

In galaxy optical spectra, why are Hbeta and Hdelta sometimes absorption lines?

I've heard that $\mathrm{H\beta}$ and $\mathrm{H\delta}$ lines in galaxy spectra might be either emission lines or absorption lines, is that correct? From Wikipedia, Balmer lines are usually emission ...
3
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2answers
643 views

How do we know which elements are in a galaxy spectra?

I know that each element has it's own distinct spectra (this is a good site that lists them: Periodic Table) but when looking at a spectra of a galaxy (or even a star) how do we match those elements ...
3
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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 ...
3
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2answers
186 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. ...
3
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2answers
263 views

Why isn't everything yellow(ish)?

I understand that - although appearing yellow - the sun is white. And that this is because the other light colours are scattered by the atmosphere. For example: Google image search for "The Sun from ...
3
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1answer
295 views

Why the forbidden lines of [OIII],[NII] and [SII],[OII] are sensitive to electron temperature and electron density, respectively?

I am trying to understand the topic of "Metallicity estimates", either HII regions or planetary nebula. For this latter, the electron temperature (and density) must be known. I am studying the ...
3
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1answer
2k views

How deep is the “A” Fraunhofer line in the solar spectrum? Is it from the Sun's or Earth's atmosphere?

Question: Where can I see - or even download - a fairly high resolution (~0.1 nm) solar spectrum at zero air mass - in other words from space without absorption and other features from the Earth's ...
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0answers
117 views

Strong orange line in wood fire spectrum?

I just built a DIY spectroscope using a CD and after making some tests, I noticed a really strong emission line located in the orange-yellowish zone of the fire spectrum (specifically, burning wood). ...
3
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1answer
130 views

How long do hot X-ray sources last?

Some X-ray sources in nebulae are caused by hot materials in the millions of degrees that formed in supernovae. What's the cooling rate of this stuff? How long does it stay this hot? If we would take ...
3
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0answers
113 views

Spectral analysis of AGN (velocity dispersion of galaxy absorption, doppler shifts)

I was wondering what parameters I need to know/measure to calculate the velocity dispersion of a galaxy, specifically an AGN. Also, I have spectra where there are blueshifted and redshifted ...
2
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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 ...
2
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3answers
109 views

Is there a far away probe that has recorded the light spectrum from Earth as if it were an exoplanet?

We analyze the light spectrum of stars and distant planets to know characteristics like: chemical composition, temperature, mass, etc. Starting from the same principle, a probe at the border of the ...
2
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2answers
463 views

How do I understand a brown dwarf with a M-type spectrum?

There are a large fraction of M dwarfs which are claimed to be brown dwarfs. Why do we still use M-type and not create a new stellar type like L, T and Y? The main signature of M is TiO absorption ...
2
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2answers
152 views

How to disentangle a very distant star's relative velocity vs. redshift distance

We measure a star's relative velocity towards or away from us via its Doppler-shifted spectrum. This is also how we measure the distance of very distant stars: measuring the shifts in the spectrum ...
2
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2answers
145 views

Using emission lines to determine redshift of a quasar

I am attempting this past paper question and am not sure how to tackle this, this is not homework! :) The spectrum of a distant quasar shows two broad emission lines with observed wavelengths of ...
2
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3answers
515 views

How to calculate the S/N of IFU or long-slit galaxy observations

I would like to calculate the Signal-to-Noise ratio (SNR) of long-slit or integral field unit (IFU) observations of H$\alpha$ emission. I can calculate the SNR or each individual spectrum, just fine. ...
2
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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$_\alpha$? ...
2
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2answers
141 views

absorption line from the chromosphere

If I understand correctly, the H-alpha and Ca II K lines are absorption lines of the sun and allow to see the chromosphere. Following the Kirchhoff-Bunsen law, an absorption line is produced by a gas ...
2
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1answer
63 views

Spectrum of star

I constructed a telescope and fixed my mobile's camera to the eye lens. I then viewed the sky via the mobile and I captured this image. This is the magnified version of it: I'm not sure if this ...
2
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1answer
112 views

wavelength-based IFU data cubes VS velocity-based IFU data cubes

I have 2 simulated IFU data cubes of the same observation, let's say A and B. The 3rd dimension of cube A is in wavelengths. In order to create cube B I just rebinned cube A in log-wavelengths and ...
2
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1answer
99 views

Invisible in visible light but visible in non-visible light?

This may be a stupid question, but I've been wondering this for a while and haven't yet found a solid answer. I'm worried the answer will be something along the lines of "of course not, you dummy" but ...
2
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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 ...
2
votes
1answer
126 views

In what manner is the spectrum of a black body really a continuum?

Usually they say the spectrum of a black body is a continuum and emits radiation at every frequency. Is it really a continuum like a line or are there (small) intervals? For example, can a body emit ...
2
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2answers
234 views

How to tell whether an optical spectrum is featureless or just with a low S/N?

A featureless spectrum and a spectrum low S/N are very similar. Is there a way to tell the difference between them?
2
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1answer
135 views

Broadband spectrum of Sun

Broadband spectrum is one which is inclusive of all the observed wavelength ranges. In the case of the BB spectra of our Sun, there is a sharp (non-differentiable) kink in the curve in the UV-range (...
2
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1answer
35 views

Where can I find a good solar irradiance chart for the infrared?

I'm trying to understand the results of the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter vs the Mars Express in terms of their abilities to find methane on the surface of Mars. The solution that I'm coming to is that it ...
2
votes
1answer
548 views

Definition question: continuum-subtracted spectrum

What is the exact definition of a "continuum-subtracted spectrum", such that one finds in SDSS spectra? http://classic.sdss.org/dr7/dm/flatFiles/spSpec.html#specmask Is there a definition somewhere?...
2
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1answer
71 views

In Chromoscope, what is the X-ray source between Ophiuchus, Libra and Scorpius?

Chromoscope is a nice toy. Pressing 'L' shows the constellations as guide. There's a bright X-ray source between Ophiuchus, Libra and Scorpius. In Hydrogen-Alpha there are two circular formations to ...
2
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1answer
229 views

How to correct observed flux densities for redshift

Say I have a spectrum of a galaxy at a redshift $z$, in flux density units of erg/s/cm^2/Angstrom. I'd like to recover the spectrum (in the same flux density units) at z=0, i.e. at its rest ...
2
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0answers
109 views

How does the black hole at the center of M87 look like in the visible spectrum?

I learned here that the picture of the black hole we saw all over the news was a false color image, based on the radio spectrum emissions. How would the black hole at the center of M87 look like when ...
2
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0answers
31 views

Spectra from Temperature and Emission Measure [closed]

Having the solar flare fluxes on the two bands of GOES (0.05-0.4 nm and 0.1-0.8 nm) I need to calculate the flux between 0.05 and 0.2 nm.
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0answers
57 views

Who first used two lambdas to typeset the wavelengths of a spectra line doublet?

Also what is the accepted or most common way to typeset the wavelengths of a doublet? e.g. lambdalambda-3727,3729 with or without a hyphen? and without the Angstrom symbol?
2
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0answers
88 views

Source for Identification of Balmer Hydrogen Absorption Lines

I'm working on an assignment, where I have to classify stars using the raw data of the telescope. I'm now trying to calibrate the pixel to armstrong ratio, and for that I need to identify the ...
1
vote
1answer
184 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?