ASTR 1230 (O'Connell) Lecture Notes


7.2 ASTRONOMICAL SPECTROSCOPY


Solar Spec

Spectrum of the Sun (wrapped) from near-ultraviolet (lower left) to near-infrared wavelengths (upper right). From NOAO.


A. INTRODUCTION

Spectroscopy is the study of how the EM energy released by a cosmic source is distributed over wavelength. This distribution is known as a spectral energy distribution or more simply the "spectrum" or the source.

Typical astronomical spectrographs use prisms or diffraction gratings to disperse light according to its wavelength. The drawing below illustrates a prism spectrograph:

PrismSpec


B. THE POWER OF SPECTROSCOPY

How is this useful?


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Last modified May 2019 by rwo

Spectral class/absorption feature diagram © M. Briley. Text copyright © 2001-2019 Robert W. O'Connell. All rights reserved. These notes are intended for the private, noncommercial use of students enrolled in Astronomy 1230 at the University of Virginia.