What is Astronomical Spectroscopy?

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What is Astronomical Spectroscopy? – Have you ever wondered how those scientists or maybe astronomers precisely, find and learn more about space? They use the study subject which is called Astronomical Spectroscopy. This is the technique or learning method that reveals many mysteries of space. But, to understand more about this subject, here we have the explanation that you can use as a reference.

What is Astronomical Spectroscopy?

Astronomical Spectroscopy in simplest way is the way to study space by using spectroscopy technique. Spectroscopy technique is a method that you use to measure many factors, such as the spectrum of electromagnetic radiation, radio wave, and other energy that come out from a star or other object in the space.

By using all of those factors, astronomers can find different information from the stars and space object. For example, they can measure the chemical composition, density, mass and even temperature, from very far away.

This is plausible because they use the Doppler shift measurement. Because of this technique capability, many astronomers have successfully found a lot of information about planets, galaxies, nebulae and other space objects that looks like impossible to measure from Earth.

Astronomical Spectroscopy
Spectroscopy | Credit: eso.org

The Methods in Astronomical Spectroscopy

As we mentioned above, Astronomical Spectroscopy is a method for measuring several different factors. However, this is not one method for measuring all factors. There are several different methods in Astronomical Spectroscopy technique to measure different factors. Here are they.

  • Optical Spectroscopy

Optical spectroscopy is a method that uses a prism to measure the spectrum of light that comes out from stars or other space objects. The first person that uses this method was Isaac Newton. However, the real usage of the prism to measure the light spectrum was done by J.S. Plaskett at the Dominion Observatory in Ottawa, Canada in 1900s.

However, Plaskett didn’t use a prism-like Newton. He used a unique grating of mirror that can collect the light, which gives him a much clearer image. This image is very useful to know the detail of space object much better. This tool then is developed into the holographic grating, which produces a much better image with high detail. Therefore, astronomers can easily learn the space with this image.

  • Radio Spectroscopy

Karl Jansky found this method in the early 1930s. Then, it was developed by many astronomers and scientist, such as JS Hey, who has successfully captured the radio wave from the Sagittarius constellation in 1942. Then, the radio wave is used by sending it to the target object. And, the reflected wave that the Earth receives will tell many things about that object.

  • X-Ray Spectroscopy

Using photon energy, it has a similar concept like radio spectroscopy. By emitting the photon to the object, the wavelength can tell many things to the astronomers. In fact, this method provides more data than the two other methods. However, all of those methods need to be used at the same time, to get more detailed information that can help the research.

Those are a small portion of Astronomical Spectroscopy. Actually, there are many more that you can learn and need to know. One thing for sure, they are important in the effort to reveal the mystery about the universe.

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