Studying the Sun – Essay Example

The paper "Studying the Sun" is a great example of an essay on astronomy. The Universe is a vast embodiment of unknown knowledge in which our tiny planet is apart of the giant picture, which makes individual humans insignificant in the grand scheme. However, humans are natural inquirers when it comes to the unknown. Civilization has come up with technology, which allows us to examine far and diverse celestial objects. Sometimes, however, observation cannot merely occur at just the visible level. Scientists are interested in the composition of these objects, especially stars due to the fact that nuclear fusion allows them to create denser elements in the core, which can serve as an indicator for how old the star is. One of these methods is through the use of spectroscopy. Spectroscopy is a method of looking at the composition of a star or other celestial object by observing differences in the electromagnetic radiation patterns that are picked up. Different elements vibrate at different wavelengths; therefore each element shows a different color when a spectrometer is picking it up. This is how scientists can tell what elements are and are not present in a star. These series of lines are unique to each element. For example, helium produces one red line, one yellow line, one green line, three blue lines, and four purple lines. This pattern is inherent to only helium, therefore it will show/not show up if it is present/not present. Atomic emission spectra look at the differences in energy that are absorbed when a photon goes through changes in energy levels. Thus when the photon is absorbed, the electrons jump up in energy levels because they become more excited. This jump in energy is what scientific instruments pick up. This is achieved through lines. Absorption spectra look at the “holes” that are left when that electron is moving up and down energy levels. Basically, both are looking at atomic energy levels, however, they are observing two different effects of energy at the quantum level.