A stellar-mass black hole

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Astronomy: Stellar Spectra

Only until December 2019 Sydney Observatory Enquire Now

This is the perfect hands on activity for Physics students working on Module 7: The Nature of Light and Module 8: From the Universe to the Atom. Working scientifically, in teams, they will conduct a physics investigation like a professional astronomer using simple low-resolution stellar spectroscopy. Learners will use 100 line per mm blazed gratings on our telescopes to collect spectra from several different main sequence stars, before using specialised software to calibrate and analyse their spectra. They will identify key absorption features such as the Hydrogen Beta line on A0 stars, peak wavelengths and then use that data to reveal the spectral class and other key characteristics including the evolutionary stage, surface temperature, colour and luminosity. Weather permitting, learners will also learn to control and drive the telescopes to observe several objects visible on the night.

Please note: 5:00 pm session is available May through to July. The 6:30 pm session is available April through to September and the 8:30 pm session can be booked all year.


Learner$1590 minute program
Session$240 minimum
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Plan Your Experience

All the information you need to plan your visit is available on the Sydney Observatory venue page, including:

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Learning Resources

Curriculum Links

Physics Stage 6 Board of Studies 2002, p.43

Link Description
PH12-15explains and analyses the evidence supporting the relationship between astronomical events and the nucleosynthesis of atoms and relates these to the development of the current model of the atom
PH12-5analyses and evaluates primary and secondary data and information
PH12-6solves scientific problems using primary and secondary data, critical thinking skills and scientific processes
PH12-7communicates scientific understanding using suitable language and terminology for a specific audience or purpose
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