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  • Starlight Xpress Spectrograph
    Starlight Xpress Starlight Xpress Spectrograph with Lodestar Guide Camera - SPECTROGRAPH
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Using a spectrograph is fascinating, but it is also not for the amateur astronomer. This unique device acts like a camera, except instead of resulting in an image, a spectrograph shows you the light wavelengths transmitting through your telescope. The spectrograph dissects and itemizes each wavelength that the sensor reads. It is designed like a prism in order to break down each wavelength for the user to see.

Therefore, a spectrograph can help the experienced astronomer determine the chemical composition of an object. No celestial object shines the same, therefore the color light an object gives off is determined by the gases that make up the object. For example, the Sun’s chromosphere is only visible along the Hydrogen-Alpha line, emitting a deep red color because of the chromosphere’s high level of hydrogen atoms. A spectrograph can help you access the what filter is best to use for viewing or imaging a particular object, such as an H-alpha filter for viewing the Sun’s chromosphere.

The spectrograph also can be used to determine the surface temperature of a celestial object. Each color on the light wavelength spectrum emits a unique brightness which can affect your viewing experience. The device is helpful in figuring out the speed and rotation speed of stars to give you more context in regards to what you are looking at. With all of this useful information a spectrograph user receives, it may take some getting used to in order to figure out what information is relevant and useful to your specific needs. Although it poses a significant learning curve, a spectrograph can be a joy to use and enhance your views of the stars.

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