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Using HERA for Spectroscopy

Spectroscopy is one of the most powerful tools that an astronomer can use to study objects near and far. By mapping how much energy is put out at different wavelengths of light, astronomers can tell what kinds of processes are producing the light they see. In addition, they can figure out what elements are present in distant objects, from nebula to galaxies, stars to accretion disks around black holes.

We have two spectroscopy lessons:

Before proceeding with the lessons, we recommend that you beef up on spectroscopy and mathematical modeling. For both investigations you will be using spectra – find out more about spectra using the "What is Spectroscopy?" link below. You will use a mathematical model to point the finger at suspected elements – learn more about models using the "What is a Model?" link below and determine how good your case against those elements will be using the "How Good is the Model?" link below.

When you are familiar with spectroscopy and mathematical models, choose an investigation below:

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
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