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 this? Pitfalls? And perhaps most importantly, what kind of initial outlay would I have to make?


2 Answers 2


There's ready made equipment already out there, such as SBIG's Deep Space Spectrograph and Self-Guiding Spectrograph. Excluding the cost of a telescope you're looking at $3-4k to get into spectroscopy, though you can go cheaper if you buy a used CCD imager or if you DIY the spectrometer.

As far as resources, you're pretty much wading into deep water on this. Sky & Telescope had an article by a devoted amateur spectroscopist which has some useful tips. Additionally, there is a community of Amateur Astronomical Spectroscopy enthusiasts.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ See my answer below. While Wedge is correct that it can cost more than three thousand dollars to get into high resolution spectroscopy, a $190 Star Analsyer grating and some software is all the you need (other than a camera - even a DSLR will work!). See my answer below for additional links. $\endgroup$
    – Robert Frank
    Jun 23, 2011 at 1:51

It's surprisingly easy and inexpensive to do astronomical spectroscopy.

There is an active and growing amateur astronomical community that can coach you. See the Yahoo forums like http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/staranalyser/?yguid=446659582.

You need not spend much a lot of money to get exciting results.

For a good introduction see this topic, see the video interview made recently at NEAF:


Also see the August 2011 issue of Sky & Telescope Magazine for an article on this topic.


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