Jump to content

Stargazers Lounge Uses Cookies

Like most websites, SGL uses cookies in order to deliver a secure, personalised service, to provide social media functions and to analyse our traffic. Continued use of SGL indicates your acceptance of our cookie policy.

sgl_imaging_challenge_banner_android_vs_ios_winners.thumb.jpg.803608cf7eedd5cfb31eedc3e3f357e9.jpg

jsandse

Amateur Astronomical Spectroscopy

Recommended Posts

Hi all,

I am an experienced amateur astronomical spectroscopist and can give detailed talks on my experiences in this field.

You can see some of my work here:

Stargazers Lounge - jsandse's Album: Spectra

You may not be aware of this but this is a thrilling area of amateur astronomy which has really taken off in Europe - France and Germany in particular but with one or two notable exceptions is not practised in the UK.

I have been able to:

- watch activity on stars like Deneb - and measure the terminal velocity of the wind of the star

- look at exotic stars such as Wolf-Rayets and compare my results with what is in the professional literature

- observe spetroscopic binaries such as Mizar and Menkalinen

- observe Be stars and contribute my findings to the BESS database

- capture spectra of stars and compare them to synthetic stellar spectra based on stellar models which I run on my computer

- contribute spectra to pro-am campaigns such as the Delta Scorpio and Epsilon Aurigae campaigns from last year.

And by doing all the above it is helping me to learn about the nature of stars.

I am a very passionate amateur astronomer - after work and family it has my complete devotion and I can make a talk that will appeal to any level of audience.

I definitely would never charge for any talks but would appreciate some help with transport costs if the talks are outside the south-east.

If anyone wants to have me do a talk or are just interested in spectroscopy and want to know more you can either send me a private mail or ring me on 0208 35388737

I assure you providing you are willing to learn once you learn about what you can do as an amateur in this field of work you will get hooked.

By the way no problems with light pollution for our field of work I was successfully doing spectroscopy with a friend in very light polluted East london on Saturday night.

kindest regards

John

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

John,

I only wish I had someone around like you when I started out.

Sounds like a great deal for amateurs and amateur societies in your area.

I wish you (and any newcomers to spectroscopy) all the best.

Spectroscopy is one of the long overlooked areas of amateur astronomy. We can contribute to many of the professional projects and suppliment their data a bit like the AAVSO/ BAA Variable star section currently provide. Remember, spectroscopy as a science was started by UK amateurs like Huggins and Lockyer - we stand in their shadow.....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi John

This is interesting, however I wouldn’t know where to start. What’s minimum equipment required? How to read all your cleaver graphs? What are the procedures to generate such a professional looking graphs? I have many other questions, but perhaps we should start from beginning.

regards

Adam

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

iv been interested slightly mainly due to the astro course im currently studying, but where would i start, is it as expensive as AP? and is it suituable for heavely LP skys?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Gaz,

The good news is that it's easier (!!!??) than astrophotography....and probably works out cheaper as well in the long run.

Light pollution isn't a problem! May limit your ability to find some of the fainter target starts but with proper processing it can be removed from the spectrum.

We have guys/gals doing some excellent work from very close to city centres (ie London, Paris, Melbourne etc)

The easiest starting point is with a simple diffraction grating like a Star Analyser, this will let you obtain sample spectra for calibration and processing.

Later you may want to "crawl up the learning curve" and use a "proper" slit spectroscope for higher resolutions. You can either, easily, make your own or pruchase one of the commercial units from SBIG, Baader or Shelyak.

Onwards and Upwards

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

what kinds of results would i get merlin? one of the main things i find is when im doing my AP or my cameras chugging away that what im doing dosent really benifit any one. where id like to help, or get the satisfaction that i am doing somthing to benifit the community instead of (currently :( showing off my fairly rubbish photos:P)

is spectro with imaging or visual?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Spectroscopy is 99.9% imaging....

Over on the other thread John has outlined some of the current projects being undertaken by amateurs.

I had something like 15+ years of astrophotography; spent endless hours with Hypered film and OM-1 cameras and decided that I'd taken enough photos of M42!!!

and wanted not only a new challenge but to get into something "worthwhile" for the astronomy community. Spectroscopy was the answer for me.

It's not a "30s sound bite" - it does take time and effort and rigor but believe me you'll feel much better for the exercise!

Starting with a grating won't set the world on fire...but it might, just might, contribute to the indentification of a new nova and/ or supernova by type. This is important to the professional trying to work out the "mysteries of the Universe"

Softly, softly, practise and grow in confidence. I have members as young as 16 YO who are doing very good work, as well as a mature (>70 YO) clan who also show they can still pull their weight.

It's for young and old...all you need is the basic equipment, patience and an open mind.

Onwards and Upwards.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Starlight the programs I use for the data you see are:

1) audela - spcaudace which can be found at: Home [AudelaA Free, Open Source Astroimaging Software]

I have even done a very amateur video of how to process spectra in this software which can be found at:

2) Vspec -which I don't really use any more but some of my earlier spectra were processed with it and you can download this software from here:

Visual Spec - home page

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Gaz,

Glad to see you are doing an OU course and are interested in learning about spectroscopy.

As Ken says light polluted skies are no problem.

If you want to have a talk about it either give me a ring (my phone number is in the first mail) or if you'd prefer pm me your land line number and i'll call you.

Its good to talk and we can explore what it is you really want to do.

cheers

John

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

BTW John has persuaded me to move from Vspec (after many, many years!) to the SPC aud'Ace...I just running some comparative data.....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Very pleased to say that John is coming to the Wadhurst AS in East Sussex on July 18th to tell us all about spectroscopy.

Should be a cracker!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well done!

I'm sure everyone will enjoy it...the more converts we have to the "Rainbow side" the better....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Star analyser has arrived :D

And bought and just finished Ken's book: Astronomical Spectroscopy for Amateurs: How to Build and Use Spectroscopes Patrick Moore's Practical Astronomy Series: Amazon.co.uk: Ken M. Harrison: Books

That was a great read Ken, thank you. I've got a much better understanding of the subject now. :(

Just need a clear night to have a go.

Cheers

Ian

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ian,

Glad to be of assistance.

Getting started in Spectroscopy can be relativily simple - the Star Analyser gives you the opportunity to record spectra on your first night out....

The challenges come in understanding and processing the data.

Like other aspects of astronomy once you get "hooked" you'll want to improve the equipment and this means larger spectroscopes and more resolution!!!

I'd also recommend Keith Robinson's "Spectroscopy - Key to the Stars" as a good introduction to astronomical spectra and the theory behind them.

Onwards and Upwards!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

John, thank you very much for your support. I also find spectroscopy more interesting than imaging -although being able to show my wife pretty pictures of the night sky helps justifying all that money spent in equipment!

Although I'm pretty new to all this, I've read a good few books and I more or less understand the basic physics behind the discipline. The problem is that I don't know where to start. I have a SW200P on an EQ5 modded which can take guided images. I also have a star analyser grating and a canon 350D.

Could you give me some advice as to camera settings, exposure times, etc? I don't really know where to start; all my previous experience came from using a dobsonian with a SPC 880 webcam and Rspec.

thanks for your help. i really appreciate it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, John came and spoke to us at Wadhurst AS, and what an informative evening it was.

He was a very knowledgeable and enthusiastic speaker and answered the many questions with authority.

I didn't realise I knew so little!

Many thanks John.

Brian Mills

Observing Director

Wadhurst AS

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would like to get into this branch of astronomy, and have been trying for years to acquire a spectrograph that I can afford. It seems that there are very few that come up on the s/h market and new ones are simply too expensive. I recently missed out on a L200 kit, which appear to be the only low cost ones with any flexibility for improvement anywhere in the world.

I can see those who follow this section are frustrated with the lack of exposure of amateur spectrometry in the UK - but I suspect there is a large group of amateurs who are equally frustrated at the lack of affordable spectrograph options. Chicken and egg maybe, but there are just no suitable spectrographs available.

If L200 kits can be made for $900 (£600) in the US and appear to sell out as soon as a batch is made, surely there are opportunities for some company to bite the bullet in this country? I also have tried to get a french kit spectrograph, at a much higher price, but they too are unobtainable.

Has anyone got a design that could be assembled from available parts with just the case having to be constructed? I would be less phased by having to make the case if I knew I was working with a proven design where the slit, grating, lenses etc could be acquired from reliable suppliers.

Of course, if anyone has or knows of a L200 that I could purchase please contact me..........................

Ian B

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

First of all, the Spectra-L200 Kit was designed in Australia, the main laser cut components manufactured in Wales, the CNC machined components also manufactured in Wales, the pick off mirror from the UK, the gratings from USA, the slit assembly from USA/India, the micrometer head from China, stainless steel fastenings from UK and final assembly in Belgium,

They are shipped all over the world!

It just takes dedication and commitment (and lots of $$$$) to design and manufacture a spectroscope.

The Spectra-L200 Kit is only available to the Yahoo group Astronomical_Spectroscopy members and is sold to them at cost. That's my "thank you" for fifty years of great astronomy.

If it were on a commercial basis, and fully assembled the price would more than double!

I'd recommend building your own.....there are details of both a Classical and Littrow design in "Astronomical Spectroscopy for Amateurs", Buil has lots of useful info on his website.

Elliott has started to produce and sell a "basic" slit spectroscope....

http://stargazerslounge.com/topic/159105-elliott-instruments-ccdspec-spectrograph/

http://www.elliott-instruments.co.uk/ccdspec.html

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ian,

I sent you a PM.

If you are desperate to get into high resolution spectroscopy I can sell you my L200 pilot spectroscope to you - as long as you promise to use it and take spectra with it :0)

Ken fyi I will be offering it at the price I bought it from you as I dont want to make a profit from it - i'd rather see another astronomer getting into spectroscopy.

cheers

John

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.