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?


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.


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 '11 at 1:51

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