Image: Marinco Kojdanovski, MAAS.

All onsite learning programs are currently suspended. Use our booking form for enquiries, or discover our Video Conference offer, online collections and learning resources.

Stage 6 Astronomy: Stellar Spectra 

Duration: 90 minutes

This is science! It 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.

In this program learners will:

  • Work scientifically to conduct a physics investigation like a professional astronomer using simple low-resolution stellar spectroscopy. Using a 100 line per mm blazed gratings on our telescopes, learners will observe the first order spectrum of a target star
  • Use specialised software and a calibrated instrument response curve to analyse and classify a previously collected spectrum
  • 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.

Every group will:

  • Look through a telescope, weather permitting, at the surface of the Sun during the day or the Moon and planets at night. Using a blazed grating they will see the first order spectrum of at least one star.
  • Experience pristine dark sky in the digital planetarium where clouds never ruin the view


Please bring a USB drive with a minimum size of 16GB to allow you to take the data you collect back to your classroom.


Please note:

The 5:00 pm session is available May through to July.

The 6:30 pm session is available April through to September.


Learner$15Groups of 18 or more
Session$240 minimumGroups of 17 or less
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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

NSW Incorporating Australian Curriculum

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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