Faculty Research at Morehead State University


A Simple Demonstration of Absorption Spectra Using Tungsten Holiday Lights

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In a previous paper submitted to the Demonstrations section Birriel 2008, Astronomy Education Review, 7, 147, I discussed using commercially available incandescent light bulbs for the purpose of demonstrating absorption spectra in the classroom or laboratory. This demonstration solved a long-standing problem that many of astronomy instructors face trying to demonstrate how astronomical objects, such as stars, exhibit absorption spectra. In this paper, I briefly describe using a strand of tungsten holiday lights to demonstrate absorption spectra and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of using a holiday light strand versus the previously discussed, full-sized incandescent light bulbs.