What Does the Spectrum of a Star Tell Us about Its Temperature?
ES2803  Line Spectra and Peak Emission Wavelength

Another way to study starlight is to examine the intensity of light emitted at various wavelengths. The intensity of each color of light can be shown in a graphical representation of a spectrum. The graphical spectra show intensity on the y-axis and wavelength along the x-axis.

  !   Move your cursor over each visible spectrum to see a graphical spectrum for the same star. Examine how the visible spectrum and graphical spectrum are related for each of the four standard stars.
Larry Kendall

The wavelength reported at the peak of each graphical spectrum is the wavelength at which the star emits the greatest amount of energy. The peak emission wavelength is related to the star's color. For example, if a star emits most of its energy at wavelengths in the red part of the spectrum, that star would appear reddish in color.

4. Record the peak emission wavelength for each of the four standard stars.

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