Stellar Guides!

Come Identify the Elements in Outer Space

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How Can I Identify Elements in the Stars?

  • As an electron moves to a lower energy level, it emits electromagnetic radiation at a certain wavelength.
  • To tell which elements exist in a star, you look at the brightline spectrum of the star and compare the results to spectras from elements we already know
  • From there identification should be simple
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Helpful to Our Astronomers

  • Spectroscopy is a powerful tool in astronomy. From it, we can often get information about the temperature, density, composition, and important physical processes of an astronomical object.
  • Astronomers use emission lines to identify the atoms or ions that send out light from the Sun and Stars (This is similar to how a detective uses fingerprints to see who has touched a certain object)
  • Once the astronomers have determined what ions are present on the sun and stars, this gives them and immediate indication of what elements are present.
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  • Hydrogen
  • Helium
  • Aluminum
  • Nitrogen
  • Oxygen
  • Magnesium