Massey, Philip National Optical Astronomy Observatories, Tucson, Arizona.
Prato, Lisa Lowell Observatory, Flagstaff, Arizona.
Aller, Lawrence H. Formerly, Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of California, Los Angeles, California.
Last reviewed:October 2019
- Resolving power
- Multiobject spectroscopy
- Echelle spectroscopy
- Coudé spectroscopy
- Integral field spectroscopy
- Infrared spectroscopy
- Fourier transform spectroscopy
- Precision radial velocities
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
The use of spectroscopy (the analysis of light as a function of wavelength) as a tool for obtaining observational data on the chemical compositions, physical conditions, and radial velocities of astronomical objects. Astronomical applications of optical spectroscopy from ground-based observatories cover the electromagnetic spectrum from the near-ultraviolet [wavelengths around 0.3 micrometers (μm)] through the visible (0.4–0.7 μm) and into the near-infrared (2 μm). Space-based observatories, such as the Hubble Space Telescope and the Herschel Space Observatory, extend spectroscopic observations from the far-ultraviolet (0.1 μm) to the far-infrared (200 μm). Work at shorter wavelengths (x-ray and gamma-ray spectroscopy) and longer wavelengths (submillimeter and radio wavelengths) requires techniques other than those discussed here. See also: Gamma-ray astronomy; Hubble Space Telescope; Radio astronomy; Submillimeter astronomy; Ultraviolet astronomy; X-ray astronomy
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