Questions tagged [spectra]

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

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21
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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 ...
14
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3answers
1k views

Formation of elements in the Sun other than helium

I just learned that the Fraunhofer lines of the Sun's spectrum indicate that the Sun contains various elements other than just hydrogen and helium (for example, Na and Fe) but don't the Sun's p-p ...
14
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1answer
937 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 ...
13
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3answers
2k 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
904 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 ...
10
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2answers
556 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 ...
9
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1answer
890 views

Why does the Sun deviate from a typical blackbody spectrum in the S band?

This is sort of a follow-up to this question, and my answer to it. The graph I see here details the radio (and other frequencies) emission of the sun. What's most notable and interesting to me is the ...
8
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4answers
1k views

Why doesn't the Sun produce an emission spectrum?

I have read that the reason why the Sun produces an absorption spectrum is because the temperature drops as you go away from the center, such that as the various layers of the atmosphere of the sun ...
8
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2answers
752 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 ...
7
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1answer
648 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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2answers
494 views

What is the best database for identification of spectral lines?

What is the best database for the identification of spectral lines? For instance, I have a red spectrum of A0 star and I would like to recognize the most prominent lines, where to find them? Many ...
6
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1answer
487 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. ...
6
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1answer
160 views

Clarification of radio spectrum terminology

For a radio spectrum, when is it called thermal emission, synchrotron emission, self-absorbed synchrotron emission and inverted spectrum? They are all power-law and their difference is power-law index?...
6
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1answer
189 views

Converting from $\mathrm{W \: m^{-2}}$ to $\mathrm{Jy \: km \: s^{-1}}$

Suppose I observe a spectral line with rest frequency $\nu_0$ and integrated flux density $F = 10^{-26} \mathrm{W/m^2}$. Is the following line of reasoning correct? $1 \: \mathrm{Jy} = 10^{-26} \: \...
6
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2answers
536 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 ...
6
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1answer
223 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 ...
6
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1answer
2k 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 ...
6
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1answer
890 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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2answers
284 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
363 views

Why is the flux density and amplitude different for galaxies than stars?

This might be a simple question, but I'm having a hard time answering it myself - or at least answer it correctly, I think. I'm sitting with different spectrals; many for stars and one for a galaxy. ...
5
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1answer
86 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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1answer
424 views

Why are the wings of many strong lines, including hydrogen lines and most metal lines, stronger in Dwarfs than in Supergiants?

What is the reason? Is it because Dwarfs have higher surface gravity (log g), in turn related to pressure, than Supergiants so there is more contribution from van der Waals and Stark broadening?
5
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1answer
73 views

What is the physical interpretation of the derivative of the emitted and observed wavelength?

The flux F of an event at redshift $z$ is related to its luminosity L as $$F=\dfrac{L}{4\pi d_L^2}\,,$$ where $d_L\equiv d_L(z)$ is the luminosity distance between us (the observer) and the event (...
5
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1answer
99 views

Understanding better the factors on $C_l$ in Angular power spectrum and Relation with Matter power spectrum

I am looking for an explanation on the angular power spectrum. I found this extract that is interesting but not fully understood for me (I will cite the step that I didn't understand) "what is ...
5
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1answer
151 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
242 views

Identifying common galaxy spectral lines

How does one identify the common galaxy absorption lines (e.g. Na, Mg, K, etc.) and emission lines (H-alpha, O III, S II, etc.) by just looking at a galaxy spectrum (like the one below)? I need to ...
4
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2answers
208 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 ...
4
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1answer
60 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
89 views

How to extract galaxy spectra for different radii in Python for spectra taken by long slit spectrograph?

I am trying to extract the kinematics from the elliptical galaxy NGC 4697 using the Fourier Correlation Quotient (FCQ) algorithm described by Bender (http://adsabs.harvard.edu/full/1990A%26A...229.....
4
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1answer
776 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
43 views

What leads an observer to choose a narrow slit over a wide one (and vice-versa) when observing?

In spectroscopy, a wide slit will lead to lower spectral resolution while too narrow of a slit will reduce incoming flux from the object. From what I read, it appears as though there is always a ...
4
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2answers
298 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 ...
4
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1answer
649 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 ...
4
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1answer
195 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 ...
4
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0answers
176 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). ...
4
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0answers
126 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 ...
3
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3answers
200 views

Spectrum of stars

If some specific metal is shown in a star's spectrum, does it indicate that the star has that specific metal? For example, the Sun, a G2 star, shows medium strength of Ionised Calcium in its spectrum, ...
3
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3answers
146 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 ...
3
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2answers
1k 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
797 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
183 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 (...
3
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2answers
151 views

When examining an exoplanet's atmosphere is the star's emission spectra or planet's light used?

My understanding of the main method we use to figure out an exoplanet atmosphere composition is that when a exoplanet transits their sun, visible light passes through the planet's atmosphere, and ...
3
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2answers
188 views

How does a cross dispersed spectrum look like in a reality (from echelle spectrographs)?

I am an analytical chemist with some interest in amateur spectroscopy. Since astronomers use echelle spectrographs to study the high resolution spectrum of the stars, someone suggested to post the ...
3
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1answer
133 views

Nebula and its colors

A Nebula has bright awesome colors that include red, blue, green, orange, white, etc? They're result of excitation of electrons. Is there a clear explanation as to which color is attributed to an ...
3
votes
1answer
149 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 ...
3
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1answer
47 views

What does the "a" at the end of a spectral type mean?

Looking at the chart for spectral type peculiarities (here), I noticed that the letter a was missing from the chart. This seems to be an error, as the star Vega has spectral type A0Va, with the a ...
3
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1answer
566 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
votes
1answer
54 views

How much does the equivalent width of a line change by the introduction of 5% scattered light?

How much does the equivalent width of a line change by the introduction of 5% scattered light? We know the equivalent width is defined as $W = \int_{-\infty}^{\infty} \bigg(\frac{1-F_{\nu}}{F_c}\bigg) ...
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 ...