Rainbow Optics Star Spectroscope - Visual & Imaging
A Rainbow Optics Visual/Photo/CCD Star Spectroscope consists of two components: a grating cell and a lens cell. The grating cell, which screws into a 1.25" eyepiece or star diagonal, contains a glass, blazed diffraction grating. Its delicate grating surface is protected by a second glass disk. The blazed grating directs most of the light into one of the first-order spectra, resulting in a bright spectrum. The second spectroscope component, the lens cell, contains a spectrum-widening lens and is secured to the top of a 1.25" eyepiece by nylon thumbscrews. This spectroscope design allows its user to adjust the length and width of a star's spectrum to maximize the visibility of spectral lines.
Rainbow Optics Star Spectroscope
When a star is brought into the field of view and the spectroscope is properly focused and adjusted, you will see a beautiful spectrum with the colors of the rainbow spread out along its length. Depending on the spectral type and luminosity class of the star you may see hydrogen lines cutting perpendicular across the spectrum, or many fine lines of metals, or wide absorption bands of molecules. These lines and bands in stellar spectra have been called the "fingerprints of the stars" because their patterns identify the elements in a star's atmosphere and indicate a star's temperature. These spectral features are easy to see in some types of stars and less easy to see in others. The visibility of spectral features also depends on variables that most amateur astronomers are familiar with: stellar magnitude, telescope aperture, seeing conditions, and the experience of the observer.
Rainbow Optics Visual/Photo/CCD Star Spectroscopes have been used by amateur astronomers to image the spectra of stars, planets, comets, novae, planetary nebulae, quasars, and solar eclipses.
"Clear absorption lines popped into view, spaced at intervals across the blue end of a clear and colorful spectrum of Castor. Cooler Pollux showed a very different set of lines. The field test showed that the Star Spectroscope does what it claims to do and more. It is well made, durable, and certainly capable of extended use. In addition to the fun of trying something new, astronomically savvy teachers with telescopes might find that Rainbow's device offers a welcome change from textbooks and the indoor laboratory routine. The ability to see stellar spectra in the night sky might even turn some amateur astronomers back into stargazers!" -- M. Barlow Pepin - Sky & Telescope, October 1995
"These spectra were captured by simply putting a Rainbow Optics trans??mission grating into the nosepiece of an Axiom AX 2 Viper camera. I came away from my first evening of CCD spectroscopy fascinated by the promise of this technology. Alas, if only there were more hours in a night!" -- Dennis di Cicco - CCD Astronomy, Fall 1995
"The Rainbow Optics spectroscope is the first affordable, easy to use, well manufactured and documented instrument that introduces the amateur astronomer, first hand, to stellar spectroscopy. I highly recommend it to anyone who wishes to broaden their regular observing program, to educators who encourage their students to learn using a hands-on approach, and especially to those who would like to get their feet wet in this "new" area of amateur astronomical research." -- Barry D. Malpas - The Practical Observer, Vol.7#2 1996
Rainbow Optics Product Number: SPEC
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