Stellar Guide

a dope guide for dope people

Understanding Electromagnetic Radiation

Electromagnetic Radiation is a range of energies that are categorized into different wavelengths. These wavelengths can be very strong to very weak. From longer to shorter wavelength, the various colors that your eyes can see are red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet. The colors around us are the only type of the electromagnetic radiation we can see. Each color has a different wavelength so that we can determine which color is which. This is called visible light aka the rainbow!
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Okay so what does that have to do with outer space?

"Spectroscopy — the use of light from a distant object to work out the object is made of — could be the single-most powerful tool astronomers use", says Professor Fred Watson from the Australian Astronomical Observatory.

Everything here on Earth is made up of atoms, just like the Stars and the Sun. Since there are 100 different elements, we have 100 different types of atoms. Therefore, every element on the periodic table can be found in a gaseous form and have a specific series of unique colors for the elements. Every element has a unique color that scientist can use to identify what a star or


atmosphere is like. This is a study called Spectroscopy.

Spectral Lines

Spectral Lines are basically what I said up there. Every different type of atom or molecule gives off light at its own unique set of frequencies; thus, astronomers can look for gas containing a particular atom or molecule by turning the tuning to one of the gas's characteristic frequencies.

There are three types of spectral lines:

  1. Continuous spectrum
  2. Emission spectrum
  3. Absorption lines.
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The Three Types of Spectrum Lines

  1. Continuous Spectrum is just unbroken up colors. Like a nice rainbow bracelet. It doesn't need to be EVERY COLOR it just needs to be a nice solid, connected colors.
  2. Emission Spectrum looks like colorful strobe lights. Solid vibrant lines that are unevenly spaced out in a black room. Also known as the Bright light spectrum.
  3. Absorption Lines is also known as the Dark line spectrum. It's literally just black lines disrupting the connection between colors in random places. This occurs when hot gas passes through the cooler outer layer of a star.

Here are some examples of elements in rainbow form (a spectrum)

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You may be asking, Why do I need to even care about this I'm never going to use this in real life

I asked myself that too. But then I realized that astronomers can use this information and modern day tools to discover a planet that we can totally move to. So if we ever need to, the human population can thrive all over the universe.