DR JUERG ALEAN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR JUERG ALEAN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Pleiades emission spectra. These multicoloured bands are obtained by recording what wavelengths of light (each seen as a different colour) are emitted by each star in the open cluster Pleiades. White light is a combination of a range of light wavelengths and can be separated into its components using a prism. The dark vertical lines within these bands (called Fraunhofer absorption lines) show that some wavelengths of light emitted outwards from the hot interior of the star were absorbed by atoms within the cool gases that make up the star's outer layer.
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