LASP Project: Explore Saturn and Titan with Spectral Data
This interactive activity displays spectrographic data obtained by the Ultraviolet Imaging Spectrograph (UVIS) instrument onboard the unmanned Cassini spacecraft. Cassini explored the wavelengths and intensities of light coming from Saturn, its rings, and its moons. 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. This activity gives learners a "mission" to examine the spectral lines found in Saturn's rings and compare these to spectra of Saturn's moon, Titan. Students must determine the element(s) present in each from the spectral data, then answer questions requiring them to support their claims. Now available in iPad and Android apps.
NASA: Student HERA
Student HERA is an interface developed by the Goddard Space Center to provide secondary students with authentic satellite data and analysis tools used by NASA scientists. The data is available in three categories:
1) Timing -- Use data to estimate orbital period, type of orbit, and light curves.
2) Imaging -- Study supernova remnant data in different energy bands and analyze gamma ray data to detect a new supernova.
3) Spectroscopy -- Determine elemental composition and model the spectrum with X-ray emission and spectral lines.
Note: The program can be accessed via browser after installing a 7.3mg program. This eliminates the need to download large data sets to your local computer.
LASP Project: Features of the Sun
We want to capture images of the sun, but how are the images affected by use of different filters? This interactive uses data generated from SDO, the Solar Dynamics Observatory. SDO was launched in 2010 as the first mission of the "Living with a Star" program to investigate solar variations and how they influence Earth. We guarantee students will be engaged by the distinctive types of phenomena captured by using filters that generate images in different bands of wavelengths. (Did you know that solar flares are best seen in Extreme UV, while coronal holes appear most prominent in X-ray images?) Fascinating and easy to use!
LaserStars: Gas Discharge Spectra
This web page provides color-coded spectra of elements undergoing electrical discharge excitation. Choose from 15 different elements to see how their spectra would appear using a good-quality spectroscope. NOTE: This is a Java program. The full functionality of the program can be viewed only by manually entering an "Exception" to your security settings. The complete data sets are available only in the Java version. In the alternative, you can view a static image of the spectral lines in the HTML version. Either visualization would be useful in the classroom.
website  -  details
Photoelectron Spectra
This interactive from the University of Arizona Department of Chemistry allows the user to view energy level distributions for the first 21 elements in the periodic table. It can be viewed in mono mode or in dual mode to compare two elements side-by-side. It could be a useful way to help students understand why spectral lines appear in characteristic patterns.