Questions tagged [spectroscopy]

Questions about the measurement of light waves whereby the wavelength is classified by its position in the electromagnetic spectrum.

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15
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3answers
2k views

Is it possible to measure galactic red shift using consumer telescope equipment?

I was wondering if it would be possible to measure red shift from distant galaxies using consumer grade telescope equipment and spectroscopy filters. (like this one) I imagine it would require a ...
12
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2answers
5k views

How does one determine the effective temperature of a star from its spectrum?

Determining effective temperature of a star is in general a non-trivial task. Simple reason for this is that we can only study the electromagnetic radiation from a star, but not the temperature ...
11
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1answer
895 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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1answer
242 views

Is any consensus forming on the solution to the “Lithium Problem”?

The "Lithium Problem" relates to the fact very-low-metallicity stars appear to have a Li/H ratio approximately one third of what would be expected. The ratio should be the same as the prediction from ...
9
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1answer
212 views

Was the discovery of six exoplanets around one star as “easy” as counting six peaks in the FT?

The phys.org article Scientists make huge dataset of nearby stars available to public describes the release of a publicly accessible database of Echelle radial velocity measurements; The LCES HIRES/...
8
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3answers
689 views

Why does Gaia use only calcium NIR lines for stellar radial velocity measurements?

I was reading this overview article about the Gaia spacecraft and I saw the following statement: These spectra provide radial velocity information that are used to study the kinematic and dynamic ...
8
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2answers
725 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
160 views

Phosphine on Venus?

For the purposes of this question, let's assume that the team really have detected phosphine. My question is how do we know that phosphine is on Venus, and not closer to home? I've just found out a ...
8
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1answer
144 views

What are the prospects for follow-up observations of phosphine on Venus?

Today, it was officially announced that astronomers have detected phosphine on Venus via the $\text{PH}_3(0\to1)$ transition (Greaves et al 2020). While the line was found by both the James Clerk ...
8
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2answers
405 views

How well can we in principle determine $T_{\textrm{eff}}$ of a star?

This is a question about the basics of astronomy, which I have never happened to see a good discussion for. It is about how well would we be able to measure effective temperature of a star, if we had ...
7
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1answer
690 views

Blue color of ion (plasma) comet tails

What exactly is the cause of blue light of ion (plasma) tails of comets? Somewhere I have read that the source of blue light are CO+ ions which has just acquired the missing electron and became ...
7
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1answer
389 views

Why is H_delta prominent in type A stars?

I understand factually that H$\delta$ lines are most prominent in type A stars and less so in more extreme types of stars on the H-R diagram. However I was wondering the reason for why they are not ...
7
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1answer
122 views

Is it conceivable that the presence of chlorophyll (or similar) could be distinguishable from other chemicals on an exoplanet?

If an Earth-like exoplanet had a sufficiently extensive plant biosphere (i.e large forests, aquatic algal mats etc), is it at all conceivable that scientists could spectroscopically detect the ...
6
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1answer
271 views

How to search SIMBAD using identifiers?

I'm trying to get some data about the moon from SIMBAD (specifically, radiation spectrum in certain wavelengths), and I encountered an unexpected problem: I can't find the Moon. In SIMBAD, I can ...
6
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1answer
115 views

What forces expelled these huge clouds, then blocked further progress, yet allowed it to maintain its threads?

From Wikipedia and NASA: Caption: NASA: S74-15583 (July 1973) --- A huge solar eruption can be seen in this Spectroheliogram obtained during the Skylab 3 mission by the Extreme Ultraviolet ...
6
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1answer
730 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 ...
6
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1answer
120 views

What are realistic and unrealistic values for the high energy gamma ray spectral indices of pulsar wind nebulae?

This summer, I was working on a project fitting very high energy gamma ray spectra of the Crab Nebula, a pulsar wind nebula. At energies about $\sim$1 TeV, a simple power law suffices, i.e. $\phi(E)\...
5
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1answer
707 views

What is the temperature of the solar atmosphere (the corona) and how is it measured?

The temperature of the Sun's atmosphere, also referred to as the solar corona, is known to be hot even hotter than the Sun's surface. What is its temperature and how is it measured? How does it ...
5
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1answer
57 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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2answers
418 views

What does the ']' in the spectral line “CIII] 1909 Å” mean?

The above emission line, as I understand, is a useful probe of early star-forming galaxies. However, I do not understand what the ']' to the right of the 'CIII' means. I could not find any online ...
5
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1answer
73 views

Finding the Uncertainty in a Spectral Line

Currently, I am doing a lab in school on atomic spectroscopy. After taking readings of strong emission lines of various elements, I have fit the data using a Voigt Profile function from lmfit. The ...
5
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0answers
159 views

Does the current “fainting” of Betelgeuse show any spectral trends that differ from it's normal variability?

update: With all the newest news about including what the Dr. Becky video discusses as linked in How do magnetic fields mess with astronomers' observations? I'll bet this question can now be ...
5
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0answers
93 views

Need help understanding stellar spectroscopy data from ESO

The European Southern Observatory webpage has a web page that has tabular spectrogram data from A. J. Pickles, University of Hawaii. There are over 130 .dat files there. Each one represents a ...
4
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3answers
1k views

Solar visible light spectrum

So the visible light from stars can be used to identify the elements in that star by looking at the spectral emission lines and comparing those lines to emission lines of various elements (and their ...
4
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1answer
88 views

Why N$_2$ is a non-absorbing species in the spectrum of the Earth?

The transmission spectrum of the Earth atmosphere is like that (Kaltenegger & Traub 2009): As you can see, you can find many absorption lines related to some components of Earth's atmosphere: H$...
4
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1answer
218 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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1answer
44 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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2answers
72 views

Stellar electromagnetic signatures

By using only the electromagnetic signature of a star, could a star be distinguished with reliable accuracy from any other star? To elaborate a little, say we have a collection of about 200,000 stars. ...
4
votes
1answer
669 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
99 views

Is remote measurement of isotope ratios possible, or must a sample be aquired

Is it possible to measure to measure isotopic abundance of remote astronomical objects - ie measurement without having a sample to feed into a mass spectrometer? Do different isotopes show any ...
4
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1answer
4k views

How can I convolve a template spectrum with a photometric filter response spectrum?

Suppose I have a template stellar population spectrum (say, from Bruzual & Charlot 2003) which runs from like 1000 Angstroms to 160,000 Angstroms and which has x-axis wavelength units of Angstroms ...
4
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1answer
77 views

Can visible wavelength spectroscopy study an exoplanet's chemical composition directly?

I know spectroscopy of light in visible wavelengths is very effective for studying and determining the chemical composition of bodies within the solar system and bright objects outside of it. However, ...
4
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1answer
123 views

Why do spectroscopic binaries have approximate circular orbits?

So for an assignment I have to answer the question what I can conclude concerning the shape of the orbit, knowing that it is both an eclipsing and spectroscopic binary. Now, I think the answer I ...
4
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1answer
149 views

Gaia: What is the difference between CCDs used for astrometry, photometry, and spectroscopy?

My knowledge of CCDs is that these are sensors which collect photoelectrons. That's about it. What is a difference between CCDs used for astrometry, spectroscopy, and photometry? As an example, each ...
4
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0answers
54 views

How significant is the effect of galactic rotation on line broadening of carbon monoxide?

In class the other day, we were discussing observations of rotational transitions of carbon monoxide, namely, the $J=1\to0$ and $J=2\to1$ lines. We originally had assumed that both lines would have ...
3
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2answers
412 views

How do astronomers detect the 'metals' in a star? If the atoms are presumably completely ionized?

Atoms and molecules usually emit their characteristic wavelengths because of the electrons' energy levels.... Do the completely ionized ('naked') nuclei absorb and/or emit EM radiation? If so, at what ...
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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1answer
64 views

Were radio spectroscopic observations ever used to first measure a distance successfully?

Usually, especially for an extragalactic object, its redshift is determined by optical spectroscopic redshift. But the angular resolution of early radio observations is poor and an optical counterpart ...
3
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1answer
39 views

What is a “21cm/mm absorption system” in the context of measuring old photons from quasars?

This answer links to Wikipedia's Time-variation of fundamental constants which cites Further Evidence for Cosmological Evolution of the Fine Structure Constant (J. K. Webb et al. 2001), the abstract ...
3
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1answer
132 views

Have we Observed Continuum Emission from Neutron Stars?

Have we detected continuum optical emission from any rotating neutron stars that do not have an accretion disk dominating the light? I ask because I know we have observed Doppler broadening of ...
3
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2answers
129 views

Any cheap (<100 euro) tools for observing the lines in solar spectrum?

I am now reading the book ''The story of Helium and the Birth of Astrophysics''. I really want to observe the lines (dark or bright) in the solar spectrum. Any easily available tools for an amateur?
3
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1answer
64 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
56 views

What is the difference between emission line and recombination line?

When an electron jumps from higher level to lower level a photon is emitted. This is seen as an emission line. But what exactly is a recombination line? I found them similar. Can you please tell me ...
3
votes
1answer
113 views

What is the dimensions of the smallest object detectable by an optical fiber from a specific distance?

Optical fibers are well-known to observe astronomical objects, say, galaxies, to generate massive spectroscopic surveys. The galaxies are often very far from the optical fibers of a telescope. However,...
3
votes
1answer
690 views

Why do linear velocity redshifts correspond to linear pixel shifts when the spectra are binned in constant log wavelength?

In Tonry & Davis (1979), they describe spectroscopic redshift measurement via correlating with templates at known redshift. In Section IIIa, they say "Because the spectra are binned linearly with ...
3
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1answer
355 views

Choosing a diffraction grating

I am interested in doing some solar spectroscopy on my own for fun. How do I go about choosing the appropriate diffraction grating?
3
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2answers
132 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
227 views

What is a pupil slicer, and how does it work with anamorphic optics in VLT's ESPRESSO Echelle spectrograph?

This excellent answer points to ESPRESSO, - Echelle SPectrograph for Rocky Exoplanets and Stable Spectroscopic Observations. From there I looked at the Instrument Description and Performance page. ...
3
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2answers
438 views

Signal-to-noise in inverse angstrom for spectroscopy?

In a paper I came across the description of the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) for observations with a spectograph. This was reported as $10\:1/\mathring{A}$. I am rather new to spectroscopy, so could ...
3
votes
1answer
74 views

Extracting kinematics from stellar spectra. Why are template stellar spectra necessary?

I am trying to understand how to extract stellar velocity and velocity dispersion maps from spectral cubes, but with no success so far. To be more precise, I do not understand why people use stellar ...