Theory of Spectra

  • Ken M. Harrison
Part of the Patrick Moore's Practical Astronomy Series book series (PATRICKMOORE)


The application of Kirchhoff’s laws to astronomical spectra allowed Huggins and others to understand the nature of stellar atmospheres. Here are the laws:
  1. 1.

    An incandescent solid or a gas under high pressure will produce a continuum spectrum.

  2. 2.

    An incandescent gas under low pressure will produce an emission-line spectrum.

  3. 3.

    A continuous spectrum viewed through a low-density gas at low temperature will produce an absorption-line spectrum.



Emission Line Full Width Half Maximum Main Sequence Star Dwarf Star Stellar Spectrum 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ken M. Harrison
    • 1
  1. 1.CobhamUK

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