the practice of separating a signal by frequency (or sometimes energy or momentum) and analyzing the resulting spectrum.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

23
votes
2answers
504 views

Experimental observation of matter/antimatter in the universe

Ordinary matter and antimatter have the same physical properties when it comes to, for example, spectroscopy. Hydrogen and antihydrogen atoms produce the same spectroscopy when excited, and adsorb the ...
18
votes
2answers
984 views

What is the difference between the Balmer series of hydrogen and deuterium?

In my quantum mechanics textbook, it claims that the Balmer series between hydrogen and deuterium is different. However, I was under the impression that the Balmer series $$H_\alpha, H_\beta, ...
14
votes
3answers
313 views

What is the probability that a star of a given spectral type will have planets?

There is a lot of new data from the various extrasolar planet projects including NASA's Kepler mission on extra-solar planets. Based on our current data what is the probability that a star of each of ...
12
votes
2answers
5k views

Why is a plastic bag transparent in infrared light?

This is a classic trick to do with a IR camera: Bu why is the plastic bag transparent, while the glasses aren't? I've also heard that water is not transparent in IR light. What causes this ...
10
votes
1answer
3k views

How do we know the temperature on the planets?

I was watching a show and they were saying that the temperature of Pluto (I know it is not a planet) is about -300 degrees. I know that depends where in the orbit Pluto is, but how do we determine ...
9
votes
3answers
1k views

Is there a light source that emits all wavelengths of visible light at the same time?

Many light sources like LEDs and lasers only emit a single wavelength of light. Is there a light source that emits all wavelengths of visible light at the same time?
8
votes
3answers
448 views

Significance of letters in Hertzsprung-Russell (H-R) diagram

The Hertzsprung-Russell diagram that categorizes star types uses the letter codes O, B, A, F, G, K, and M to indicate a star's temperature/color. Hottest (blue) is O and coolest (red) is M. What do ...
8
votes
1answer
152 views

The effect of dark lines in the Sun's spectrum on reflected paint/ color

Its well known that the Sun's spectrum is not continuous, and that there are dark bands within the suns spectrum. Is it possible to produce a color of paint that is bright in, say, indoor lighting and ...
7
votes
1answer
826 views

What is mean by 'good quantum number' in spectroscopy?

In electronic spectroscopy of molecules, why some quantum numbers are considered to be 'good quantum numbers'? For example, $n$ and $l$ are said to be not good quantum numbers while $j$ is considered ...
7
votes
1answer
213 views

How would a physicist measure temperature of molten metals in 1850-1920s?

How would a physicist measure temperature of molten metals in 1850-1920s? What equipment would be used?
7
votes
4answers
685 views

What does ionization of neutral Hydrogen have to do with “transparency”?

Most accounts of the early history of the Universe make some reference to (re)ionization as being the reason that the Universe becomes transparent after a period of opacity caused by the absence of ...
7
votes
1answer
67 views

Precision of spectroscopy for astronomy

How precise can the measurements be when looking at spectral lines in astrophysics? For example, suppose I have a telescope in orbit, and I am looking at $H_\alpha$ lines coming from a star at 613 ...
7
votes
1answer
591 views

Emission line width units

What do these units mean: the large velocity widths of emission lines (in AGN) are 2,000 - 10,000 km s^-1? I've looked for the answer but keep getting swamped in myriads of details. I want to know ...
7
votes
1answer
280 views

Strange light polarization effect?

I spent a while working with MgF2-windowed xenon flash / discharge lamps. Primarily, I characterized their spectra with two normal-incidence spectrometers against a calibrated Deuterium lamp. In this ...
6
votes
3answers
9k views

What is a spectrometer, and why are they so useful in science?

I've heard reference to many telescope and spacecraft that have a device known as a spectrometer, and I'm curious, what is the purpose of these device? What's the working principal behind them and ...
6
votes
2answers
457 views

Homemade Spectrometer

Recently I have had ideas of how to build a spectroscope, but I'm not sure if it will work. As can be seen in the diagram, the experiment is simple: it consists of a laser that generates the light ...
6
votes
1answer
2k views

How do we determine what distant planets, stars etc are made of?

I remember this being covered somewhat back in school and I have casually read about it. I know it involves inferring from spectral analysis what physical properties an object may have right? Though ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

Galaxy Spectra: Emission and Absorption Lines

Spectra from galaxies include both absorption and emission lines. I do understand how both types of spectral lines are produced but I am not quite sure where each type is coming from when we observe a ...
6
votes
1answer
112 views

Meaning of generalized normal distribution

I asked a version of this question over on Math.SX, and never received a response… perhaps it will be more appropriate here. I'm looking at spectroscopic data (specifically a $T_2$ coherence decay ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

Converting between brilliance, intensity, and flux

This one should be a bit of a softball, but I can't find it explicitly stated anywhere on the internet, and my basic unit analysis doesn't seem to work. Suppose you have a beam of synchrotron ...
5
votes
2answers
2k views

Relation between total orbital angular momentum and symmetry of the wavefunction

My question essentially revolves around multi-electron atoms and spectroscopic terms. I understand the idea that the total wavefunction for Fermions should be antisymmetric. Consider as an example, ...
5
votes
2answers
159 views

Self-study: resources for understanding Gamma spectroscopy

I work in applied mathematics and have no background in atomic physics. I need to have a good understanding of the principle and application of Gamma spectroscopy. I am ok to spend the needed time but ...
5
votes
1answer
4k views

Newton's color Disk

How does Newton's color disk work? Newton's disk - Take a circular white color disk, make 7 equal intersections and paint section with respective VIBGYOR colors, now when you spin the disk in certain ...
5
votes
4answers
206 views

Atmospheric interference and ground based stellar observations

Stellar spectra captured from ground based equipment needs corrections to remove atmospheric spectral noise. Is there an Internet site that shows specific amplitude and wavelength differences between ...
5
votes
1answer
771 views

Selection Rules in electron spectroscopy

How to derive the selection rules $\Delta L= \pm 1$, $\Delta S=0$ for electron spectroscopy?
5
votes
1answer
443 views

How can we describe the electrons of multi-electron atoms (i.e. not Hydrogen) when equations/analytic solutions only exist for Hydrogen?

I've been digging into emission spectra of different elements and found that such things as the Rydberg equation, Bohr's model, and quantum mechanics can only fully describe the single electron in the ...
5
votes
1answer
59 views

Unknown peaks on RBS spectrum

I was given a sample, that it is supposed to be a medium thickness Rhodium on top of an infinite silicon waffer. The experimental RBS spectrum along with the simulation looks like that Apparently, ...
5
votes
1answer
343 views

Are CCDs approaching the sensitivity of photomultiplier tubes?

I still see photomultiplier tubes (PMT) used for even benchtop spectroscopy experiments. How much more sensitive are they to CCDs? I found a post which claims about 1.5 x more sensitivity for ...
5
votes
1answer
455 views

Why can free lithium atoms not take part in an Auger process?

Shouldn't it be possible for an incoming photon to excite one of the 1s electrons to a 2p state (or one of even higher energy) and then for the excited electron to drop back to 1s and kick out the 2s ...
4
votes
2answers
104 views

Metal Dilemma: Only very few civilizations per galaxy

This is a question in the area of extraterrestrial life. While life may be possible without it, space travel is probably impossible without metal. Metal is created in stars and heavy metals (above ...
4
votes
1answer
378 views

Very large absorption lines in stellar spectrum

I was puzzled by the wide absorption lines in a stellar spectrum I found. The following is what I expect absorption lines to look like - thin, crisp lines: However, I found this stellar spectrum, ...
4
votes
2answers
309 views

Polarisation of Light and Atomic Excitation

How does an atomic transition between ground and excited states depend upon the direction of polarisation of incident light?
4
votes
1answer
169 views

Absorption & emission spectra

The process of obtaining an absorption spectra involves passing a complete spectrum of light from the material under consideration. The material absorbs the specific wavelength and allows the rest to ...
4
votes
2answers
212 views

Why is there spectral lines at all?

My somewhat basic understanding of the concept comes from lectures I've attended about the Bohr-model, which explains the phenomena as arising from the fact that certain configurations of an atom can ...
4
votes
4answers
438 views

Is it possible to see Fraunhofer lines with amateur equipment?

Is it possible to see Fraunhofer lines with amateur equipment? Would it be possible (with reasonable effort) to identify elements or is this hard?
4
votes
2answers
315 views

Resources and requirements for amateur spectroscopy

If I wanted to move beyond just looking through my eyepieces and taking photographs of astronomical objects, what can I do do move into astronomical spectroscopy? Are there any good resources for ...
4
votes
1answer
62 views

Absorption lines in the context of identifying elements in far away celestial objects

I understand that absorption lines are used to identify elements but how are individual absorption spectrums identified in the light that is received by a telescope?
4
votes
1answer
221 views

Is it possible to determine timescales of electron dynamics from the natural linewidth of an electronic transition?

A lot of work has been done recently on electron dynamics using attosecond pump-probe techniques; for instance in this paper. In this particular paper, the authors photoionized the neutral ...
4
votes
1answer
685 views

Understanding the Selection Rules of a Spin-Forbidden, Magnetic Dipole Transition in Molecular Oxygen

I am studying the transition from the second excited electronic state of molecular oxygen, $b^1\Sigma_g^+$ , to the ground state, $X^3\Sigma_g^-$. I know that the ground state has total angular ...
4
votes
2answers
99 views

How hot is aurora?

Has anyone done research on how hot aurora is? I mean if it is plasma it should be hot and since it is emitting mostly green light due to nitrogen (~78%) in the air, could it then be considered that ...
4
votes
2answers
133 views

why do we get continuous intensity in spectra?

we know energy levels of a molecule is discrete. So we should get only sharp peaks for any spectra. But in most of the spectra I see a continuous intensity? why is so? In the following spectra the ...
4
votes
1answer
234 views

QM with complex eigenvalues

What class of theories/physical systems own finite/infinite complex eigenvalues? I do know that e.g., quasinormal modes of BH do have complex eigenvalues, but are they finite or infinite in number? ...
4
votes
1answer
46 views

Do XAFS excitations and subsequent relaxations lead to vibrationally hot molecules?

I'm in the process of trying to understand X-Ray Absorption Fine Structure (XAFS) spectroscopy, but I think this question is more fundamental than merely as it pertains to XAFS. I think I don't ...
4
votes
0answers
78 views

Interchange symmetry for states with identical particles

I was reading this web page about interchange symmetry for states with identical particles here: http://quantummechanics.ucsd.edu/ph130a/130_notes/node317.html The article states that the highest ...
4
votes
0answers
128 views

Is there a difference between “two photon absorption” and “double quantum transitions”?

Wikipedia has articles on two photon absorption. And a lot of NMR literature refers to double quantum transitions. But is there a difference? As far as I can tell, a double quantum transition is has ...
3
votes
3answers
307 views

How do NASA's Curiosity determine the elemental composition of Mars using spectrometer?

From this article on hindustantimes.com - Curiosity sends data about Martian surface: The resultant flash of glowing plasma is viewed by the system’s 4.3-inch aperture telescope, which sends the ...
3
votes
3answers
2k views

Why do stars have absorption spectra?

Absorption spectra are a result of light of a certain wavelength exciting an atom from a lower energy level to a higher one and at the same time being absorbed. However, the atom should eventually go ...
3
votes
1answer
78 views

Absorption line detected with a significance of $2.2\sigma$

What do we mean by the following statement? The SV $\lambda$ 786.46 line is detected with a equivalent width of $W = 22.7\pm10.2$ corresponding to a significance of $2.2\sigma$ How does one ...
3
votes
3answers
2k views

Why do we take the first derivative of EPR/ESR spectra?

Apologies if this question is a bit too chemistry-flavoured. In electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy, there's a practically ubiquitous convention of plotting the first derivative of the ...
3
votes
1answer
288 views

Suns emission spectrum

I learnt that in astrophysical spectroscopy, the emission spectrum of distant stars is used to determine what they're made of. So why is it that our own Sun is emitting the whole spectrum ? (or is ...