# Spectrograph to measure the Sun's light

• Paulene Gueco
In summary, Paulene is researching a spectrograph to measure the sun's light and is unsure of what she could get out of it once she takes the measurements. She is also researching what research question she could formulate.
Paulene Gueco
Hi, everyone. I am researching on a variety of different Physics topics to conduct my Extended Essay on.

I was thinking, what if I made a spectrograph to measure the sun's light? Surely I'd be able to get emission and absorption lines which will more or less portray something about the sun's characteristics.

The things is, I'm not really sure what I could get out of it once I decide to push through with the experiment. What research question could I formulate?

Much thanks,
Paulene

I don't know of anything new that you might discover. However confirming what is known is a useful exercise.

I found this writeup that might provide you with some ideas:

http://sunearthday.nasa.gov/2006/materials/spectrabook_ver2.pdf

Any experiment you do, you could estimate the range of error in your equipment. take numerous measurements...

Paulene Gueco said:
The things is, I'm not really sure what I could get out of it once I decide to push through with the experiment. What research question could I formulate?

Composition of the Sun's atmosphere?

Speed of the rotation of the sun.

How do i measure the speed of the rotation of the sun using that experimental set-up?

Paulene Gueco said:
How do i measure the speed of the rotation of the sun using that experimental set-up?
If you have the angular resolution to do so with your equipment, compare the doppler shifts of the spectra from opposite sides of the sun.

You could use it to estimate the temperature of the Sun by looking at the amplitude of the spectral components. You could compare it with the spectrum of some of the brightest stars if your measuring equipment is sensitive enough (Digital camera?)
How about the scattering effect of the Earth's atmosphere? Looking at the sky at different elevations and at different times of day.
The sky's the limit har har!

If i remember correctly, you could estimate the temperature on the sun by watching the bordering of the spectral line. But is just a "crude" measurement ...

Clear Mind said:
If i remember correctly, you could estimate the temperature on the sun by watching the bordering of the spectral line. But is just a "crude" measurement ...
Oh yes. You need to do some measurements with some instrument if you want to improve on what you eyes tell you. The handiest instrument for most people is a digital camera. If you can turn the exposure control to Manual and turn off the auto colour balance then the Pixel (RGB) values from picture to picture can be more validly compared. Iy would be relatively easy to see the peak of the spectral curve of sunlight (roughly) and compare it with the curves of bright stars, tungsten lights, halogen lights.
But a camera has three sensor arrays and what you really need is a light sensor that has equal sensitivity to all visible wavelengths. But it could be a start for a useful bit of work.
I have just re-read your quote. Did you mean 'broadening', rather than bordering? I think you would need good resolution for your spectrograph and that is unlikely. If it were that good it would probably be a spectrometer.

Last edited:
sophiecentaur said:
Did you mean 'broadening', rather than bordering? I think you would need good resolution for your spectrograph and that is unlikely. If it were that good it would probably be a spectrometer.
:s Damn auto-correction! yhea, broadening of the spectral line. By the way, indeed she would need a spectrometer, i think it's quite impossible to measure the width of a spectral line with a spectrograph.

Maybe you could compare your results to those of a space telescope, and spectrographs from other parts of the world (I'm guessing these are available on line), to see what absorption lines are added, and therefore what elements are present, in the atmosphere at your location at the time of your measurement?

## What is a spectrograph?

A spectrograph is a scientific instrument used to measure and analyze the wavelengths of light emitted by a source, such as the Sun. It separates the light into different wavelengths, allowing scientists to study its composition and properties.

## How does a spectrograph work?

A spectrograph works by using a diffraction grating or prism to separate the different wavelengths of light from a source. The light is then focused onto a detector, such as a CCD camera, which records the intensity of the light at each wavelength. This data is then used to create a spectrum, which can be analyzed by scientists.

## What can a spectrograph tell us about the Sun's light?

A spectrograph can provide valuable information about the Sun's composition, temperature, and magnetic field. By analyzing the different wavelengths of light, scientists can determine the chemical elements present in the Sun's atmosphere, as well as their abundance and temperature. This data can also reveal information about the Sun's magnetic activity and help predict potential solar storms.

## How is a spectrograph used to measure the Sun's light?

A spectrograph is typically mounted on a telescope and pointed towards the Sun. The incoming light is then dispersed and recorded by the detector. The resulting spectrum is then analyzed to gather data about the Sun's light. Spectrographs can also be used to study other astronomical objects, such as stars and galaxies.

## Why is it important to measure the Sun's light using a spectrograph?

Studying the Sun's light using a spectrograph is crucial for understanding the behavior of our closest star and its impact on Earth. By measuring the wavelengths of light emitted by the Sun, scientists can gain insights into its structure, composition, and activity. This information is essential for predicting and preparing for potential solar events that could affect our planet.

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