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Lightcurves, Spectra, and Images

Try this!

You can observe the component wavelengths of light by holding a CD up to the light. A rainbow will appear.

Cut a slit in a piece of dark construction paper about 2 millimeters wide and 3 centimeters long. Hold a CD under the slit paper at about a 30 degree angle. You will see a spectrum reflected on the CD. You can point it at the Sun or a normal incandescent light, and you will see a continuous spectrum. If you point it at neon signs found in store windows, you will see the spectrum of whatever gas or gases are in the neon tubes.


This activity was developed by Jacqueline Slay, Largo High School, Largo, MD

Imagine the Universe is a service of the High Energy Astrophysics Science Archive Research Center (HEASARC), Dr. Alan Smale (Director), within the Astrophysics Science Division (ASD) at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.

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Acting Project Leader: Dr. Barbara Mattson
All material on this site has been created and updated between 1997-2012.

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