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Sirius emission spectrum

Sirius emission spectrum

C003/1665

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Credit

DR JUERG ALEAN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR JUERG ALEAN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Sirius emission spectrum. This multicoloured band is obtained by recording what wavelengths of light (each seen as a different colour) are emitted by the star Sirius (Alpha Canis Majoris). 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 (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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