Each element emits and absorbs its own unique set of spectral lines (or colors).
Therefore, by studying the absorption spectrum of a star, we can measure the wavelengths of the dark absorption lines and determine what elements are in the atmosphere of the star. Similar techniques help us understand the atmospheres of planets in our solar system and composition of rocks on Mars.
For this lab activity, you will investigate the emission spectra of various elements. Follow this link to a periodic table of the elements that will display the emission spectrum for an element when you click on it. Look at the spectra for the following elements:
- hydrogen (H)
- helium (He)
- nitrogen (N)
- oxygen (O)
- sodium (Na)
- magnesium (Mg)
- iron (Fe)
- calcium (Ca)
WebAssign -- LAB Spectra. Go to WebAssign and answer questions based on this lab activity.