Spectroscopy for Everyone
Spectroscopy is the art of analyzing the colorful rainbow spectrum that a device like a prism produces. Spectroscopy is the primary research tool used in the majority of modern astronomical research. However, until the last few years, spectroscopy has been too expensive and difficult for all but a few amateurs. Today, though, new tools make spectroscopy accessible to almost all of us. You no longer need a PhD, dark skies, long exposures, or enormous aperture! With your current telescope and camera (or even a simple webcam) you can now easily capture exciting spectra, including the atmosphere on Uranus or the red shift a quasar. This talk, with lots of interesting examples, will show you what it's all about, and how you can get started in this exciting pursuit.
Tom Field has been an amateur astronomer for more than 20 years. Several years ago, a bit jaded on visual imaging, he decided he wanted to do some real science with his equipment. Frustrated by the software tools that were available for spectroscopy, Tom wrote his own, which is now in use on six continents. Tom says, "My goal is to light a fire under the butts our amateur community, most of whom have no idea how easy and incredibly exciting spectroscopy can be." Tom's article on spectroscopy appeared in the August 2011 issue of Sky & Telescope Magazine. He is an amusing and compelling speaker, making his topic interesting and accessible.
"What's Up?" in this month will be presented by Chris Butler