1. Not finding help here? Sign up for a free 30min tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Spectral index

  1. Apr 27, 2008 #1

    Can anybody please explain to me (in everyday language) what spectral index is? The wikipedia entry doesn't shed much light, and a lot of the textbooks give very convoluted explanations for its derivation.

  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 28, 2008 #2
    In radio terms (in my experience), spectral index applies to synchrotron sources which have brightness, S, which changes with for different frequencies, [tex]\nu[/tex], such that [tex]S \propto \nu^{\alpha}[/tex]. For a negative [tex]\alpha[/tex] this means that when a synchrotron source is observed at higher frequencies, it will be fainter. The opposite is true for positive [tex]\alpha[/tex].
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2008
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?