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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17
votes
2answers
972 views

Problem regarding the absorption lines of the sun

Some of the wavelengths of light that are emitted from the sun will be absorbed by atoms in the outer layer of the sun and also the atmosphere of the sun, and we see this as absorption lines in the ...
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 ...
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 ...
13
votes
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
907 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
253 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
votes
3answers
749 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
243 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
votes
4answers
2k 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
votes
1answer
421 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 ...
8
votes
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 ...
8
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2answers
180 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
votes
1answer
162 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
votes
2answers
482 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
votes
1answer
715 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
votes
1answer
94 views

What effect does stellar granulation to have on a chemical analysis of a star's spectrum?

The spectrum from stellar granules will obviously be for hotter gas, while the spectrum from the lanes between them will be for cooler gas. Does this "average out" so that an average ...
7
votes
1answer
126 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
votes
2answers
163 views

Why does Earth have a dip in the CO2 absortion spectrum from 14 to 16 micron?

This paper shows that there is a dip in the CO2 absorption spectrum of Earth. In essence the trough of the absorption of CO2 for Earth is cut into two separate troughs instead of 1 large trough. Why ...
6
votes
2answers
506 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
votes
1answer
401 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
votes
1answer
813 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
737 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
135 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
votes
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 ...
6
votes
1answer
903 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
votes
1answer
158 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
votes
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
votes
1answer
71 views

Are there any spectral lines with smaller frequencies than the hydrogen line?

The 21 centimeter hydrogen line originates from the hyperfine transition of neutral hydrogen. Are there any bigger wavelengths that originate from this method? Radio emissions from rotating stellar ...
5
votes
1answer
74 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
votes
1answer
116 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
votes
0answers
189 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
99 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
votes
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
votes
1answer
94 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
votes
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
votes
2answers
52 views

Why would someone choose a lower resolution grating over a higher one when performing spectroscopy?

The higher spectral resolution grating would reduce the spectral range. Besides that, would a higher resolution grating reduce the signal per pixel? I thought I heard someone mentioned this to me a ...
4
votes
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
votes
1answer
793 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
80 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
791 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
votes
1answer
76 views

What is the significance of the velocity resolution in spectral line observations using radio interferometry?

I've always struggled to conceptualize the term "velocity resolution" in spectral observations. In principle, it is simple to calculate. For example, one can take the spectral width and ...
4
votes
1answer
330 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. ...
4
votes
1answer
109 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
votes
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
votes
1answer
206 views

Convolve a SED with a filter. Is convoluting the mathematical operation?

I know that in order to get the Flux of a star (or something else) in a particular filter from its SED (luminosity per unit wavelength), I need to convolve the spectrum (SED) with the filter response. ...
4
votes
1answer
87 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
votes
1answer
151 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
votes
1answer
173 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
votes
0answers
140 views

A simple echelle spectrograph for viewing solar spectrum

On the Astrosurf website here, someone has designed a deceptively simple echelle spectrograph for viewing solar spectrum. Briefly, light from an optical fiber falls on an echelle grating and which is ...
4
votes
0answers
62 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 ...