Stellar spectroscopy is a really interesting field, and since I have never been content on doing one thing and always being fascinated by things I don’t understand I decided to look into it. Stellar spectroscopy is the study of the spectrum of light being emitted or reflected by an object in space. This can tell you a lot of things, for example what the chemical makeup of a star is (which tells you the star type), or the speed at which an object is moving towards or away from you. My primary reason for wanting to look into this is to learn more about the stars themselves instead of just imaging them. In my mind spectroscopy and stars seem to naturally go together. To this end I ordered a Star Analyser 100 from Rspec Astro, great guy to deal with, you can visit his website at http://www.rspec-astro.com. Once I received the grating filter I have to try and figure out how to use it, so I made an exposure chart to see what the spectral lines (or stellar lines) look like. This is the stellar spectra of Arcturus:
Stellar Spectroscopy and star types
There are many different types of stars. Each star type or stellar classification can be determined through spectral analysis. As light passes through the filter a specific pattern of light emerges, including bands of darkness called absorption lines. Reading these patterns and comparing them to the known star types allows someone to identify the type of an unknown star.
All the different types of stars fit into seven basic classifications of typical stars, and a few more for stranger types which we believe are far less common. As I learn more about stars I plan on being able to come to my on conclusion about what type of a star my target is, and then compare it to what the real scientists say. Hopefully I will be able to match my results with theirs. Even if I don’t start off that way, it should be a lot of fun learning stellar spectroscopy!
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