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

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23
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2answers
537 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
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2answers
1k 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
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3answers
454 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 ...
13
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1answer
257 views

Does my green laser pointer emit three distinct frequencies, or is my measurement flawed?

I was playing around with a cheap diffraction grating and my set of laser pointers, and I noticed that while the red and the blue pointers produce a single point in the spectrum, my green laser ...
13
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2answers
6k 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 ...
12
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3answers
1k views

Why do lines in atomic spectra have thickness? (Bohr's Model)

Consider the atomic spectrum (absorption) of hydrogen. The Bohr's model postulates that there are only certain fixed orbits allowed in the atom. An atom will only be excited to a higher orbit, if ...
11
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2answers
495 views

Sun spectroscopy - Home experiment

We let the sun light run through a 5x3x3cm triangular glass prism and we examined the formed 'rainbow' in search of Fraunhofer lines. However, even though we looked close enough (even with a ...
10
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1answer
4k 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
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3answers
2k 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
640 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
170 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
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1answer
1k 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
236 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
909 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
79 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
788 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
309 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
12k 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
654 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
2answers
2k 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
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
1answer
127 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
3k 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
171 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
234 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
828 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
633 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
91 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
638 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
524 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
109 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
352 views

How are problems in astronomical spectroscopy solved?

Astronomers based on the ground telescopes, watch the stars and make predictions about them based on the spectrum of light. But when the light from those stars reach the telescopes through the ...
4
votes
1answer
531 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
58 views

How to measure temperature of a laser cooled sample at picoKelvin temperatures?

I'm reading about laser cooling.. my question is: how can the temperature of the sample be measured? (using laser cooling we can reach $10^{-12}K...)$
4
votes
2answers
463 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
214 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
260 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
560 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
432 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
92 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
2answers
2k views

Energy shift between hydrogen and deuterium

Stated: The atomic spectra of hydrogen and deuterium are similar however shifted in energies. So im trying to explain why it is that the emission lines are shifted and how they are shifted. Since ...
4
votes
1answer
231 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
57 views

Why does the refractive index not mirror the Lorentzian peak shape of the absorption index?

In the characterization of materials, there are many methods used: One of them is infrared spectroscopy. In a lab we saw the indices of refraction and absorption of a certain (semiconductor) solid ...
4
votes
1answer
1k 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
3answers
2k views

Why is spectrum obtained by sunlight, said to be continuous?

My sir spoke about atomic spectra today. Sir said that, unlike the spectrum obtained by analyzing the sunlight, the spectra of atoms are not continuous. I got a doubt here, i,e even the sunlight ...
4
votes
1answer
28 views

Converting spectra to rgb colour

I am having trouble obtaining RGB colour values from the spectra of an object. I have the specific flux $F_\nu$ as a function of $\nu$ for each pixel of the image I'd like to make, but am unsure of ...
4
votes
1answer
35 views

What causes this IR emission in UV 365nm LED?

I've just got access to spectrometer and measuring spectrum of everything. But when I took a look at 365nm UV led from chinese UV flashlight I got something really strange - it had some IR at exactly ...
4
votes
2answers
112 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 ...