Look to the sky Friday with CMC Sky Club
- “The bluer a star looks, the hotter it is.”
- “Spectroscopes use the same principle that makes rainbows.”
- “All space telescopes, including the Hubble, have spectrometers built into them.”
- “The first person to come up with the theory of how sunlight is made up of different colors was Isaac Newton.”
- “Most real-life astronomical spectroscopy is done by measuring colors of light that are invisible to humans.”
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS – Spectroscopy is often considered the “bread and butter” of astronomy.
“It’s the science of measuring the different colors of light that come from an object and using that information to deduce lots of information about the object,” said Paul McCudden, astronomy professor at Colorado Mountain College Steamboat Springs. “In the case of stars, for example, how far away they are, what they’re made of, how hot they are, how old they are and many other things.”
To help unravel the secrets of stars, CMC’s Sky Club will host “Reading Rainbows: Student Spectroscopy,” a stargazing and guided sky tour event at 7 p.m. Friday at CMC’s Albright Family Auditorium.
“If the skies are clear, we’ll look at some of the stars we’ve analyzed in the lecture and see if how they look (essentially what color they appear to be) matches what our spectroscopic analysis tells us about them,” McCudden said.
Stars like Betelgeuse, Capella, Alnitak and Sirius are a few that may come in to view as well as the planet Venus early in the evening and Jupiter late in the evening.
For the past few months, McCudden and sophomore Jayvin Krzych have been working on the content for the event as an extracurricular project of the CMC Sky Club.
McCudden said these type of hands-on astronomy projects give students a chance to be involved in exploring more quantitative data in addition to presenting their ideas and findings to the public.
“It’s a chance to learn about what professional astronomers spend their nights doing, and a chance to see how some of our talented CMC students are learning the same skills and putting them to use,” McCudden said.
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