Study the light and know the universe

(02-17-2011)

Information about the universe comes to us in light. The more light analysis - the more information gathered. Join Dr. Randy Emmons, emeritus professor of physics, for Adams State College Science Saturday, at 9 a.m. February 26 in Zacheis Planetarium, to explore the topic of spectrums.

With just your eyes, you can tell the direction to the object. You might be able to tell the star color, generally red. This tells you a little about where the star is in its life cycle. To learn more, you need to analyze the light. A simple start to the analysis is to pass the light through a diffraction grating which shows its colors in the form of a spectrum. With just this simple technique, astronomers are able to know the composition, age, temperature, mass, generation, luminousity, and relative speed of the star. For such a simple tool, spectral analysis provides a wealth of information.

All ages are welcome to attend the February 26 Science Saturday, beginning with an introduction to some of the dominate constellations in the night sky. A short visual presentation of the history and impact of spectral analysis is next. The audience, following a short break, will meet for the second half of Science Saturday in Porter 120 for experiments involving spectra.

Science Saturdays are free and open to people of all ages. The nature of the topics and experiments makes the activities of interest to all. Children under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult. For further information, contact Emmons at rwemmons@adams.edu.