How to Identify Elements

Using a Spectrometer!

A Spectrometer, What is it?

A Spectrometer (also know as a spectroscope) is an instrument used to measure certain properties of light and reflect it onto an electromagnetic scale, which can be read and identified.

This device is often used in spectroscopy, which is the study of the interaction between matter and electromagnetic radiation. Specifically in spectroscopy, the spectrometer is used to produce spectral lines and then their wavelengths and intensities can be measured.

Identifying Elements

This handy dandy spectroscope can be use to identify elements in different stars all across the atmosphere. You may ask, how is this done?

Well, each element has specific characteristics and light patterns. Contained elements are observed in labs for their specific light characteristics. Scientists then compare these samples' patters to the ones they get from the stars. After comparing and contrasting the samples, the scientists are able to identify the elements in the stars.

In hopes of becoming an Astronomer?

The spectroscope is an important tool in your work, it will help you a lot! This tool allows astronomers to split light from space and observe it to figure out what different elements are being emitted or absorbed. Density, temperature, wavelength, and intensity can be measured. So... if you are considering becoming an astronomer, pick up one of these today! You can find links below on how to make your own spectroscope, where to buy one, and tutorials on how to use it.

Some basic elements and their light characteristics on the spectrometer above! ^ (click on picture for more details)

Make your own Spectroscope
Simple explanation of the Mass Spectrometer.