Star Spectra Cover Image

This AAPT Digi Kit integrates physics and space science as students use balloons filled with buttons to model star spectra. Every chemical element emits light at a characteristic set of wavelengths. Astronomers call these the "spectral fingerprints" of a celestial object, and it allows them to determine the object's composition. The colored buttons represent photons. For each color, students will determine wavelength and calculate the energy of a single photon of that color. The Digi Kit also provides links to vetted digital simulations, free spectral analysis data, digital labs on cosmic spectra and atomic emission spectra, and comprehensive background information on star classification systems, the role of energy in emission and absorption phenomena, and instruments used for detection of star spectra.