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Introduction to Spectroscopy

Introduction to Spectroscopy

Even though it is said to be a complex art, spectroscopy can be very useful in helping scientists understand how an object like a black hole, neutron star, or active galaxy is producing light, how fast it is moving, and even what elements it is made of. From spectral lines astronomers can determine not only the element, but the temperature and density of that element in the star. Emission lines can also tell us about the magnetic field of the star and how fast the material is moving, giving us information about stellar wind. The spectrum will give the information necessary to estimate the mass and size of the star system and the companion star. This site explains mechanisms by which an object like a star produces electromagnetic radiation, including continuum emission, synchrotron radiation, bremsstrahlung, and compton scattering.


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