telescope captures the spectrum of light from a star

The light spectrum corresponds to the star called HD 222925. Photo: Gemini Observatory.

The Gemini onone of the most productive and powerful optical-infrared telescopes in the world, through the high-resolution optical spectrograph Gemini or GHOST of the Gemini Observatory, captured the spectrum of light from a star called HD 222925.

GHOST managed to capture the first light image by making observations of an extraordinarily bright and chemically complex star located more than 1400 light years awaya.

“This is an exciting milestone for astronomers around the world who rely on Gemini on to study the universe from this exceptional point of view in Chile”, said Jennifer Lotz, director of the Gemini Observatory.

“Once this next-generation instrument is put into service, GHOST it will be an essential component of the astronomer’s toolbox,” Lotz said.

The spectrographs they are among the most important scientific instruments in all of astronomy. Unlike high-resolution cameras that capture stunning detail of distant stars and galaxies, spectrographs precisely analyze the spectrum of light emitted by these objects, revealing detailed information about their chemical composition, motion and rotation, and ancient counterparts on the edge. of the observable universe.

The light that we can actually see emitted by stars is full of hidden details that describe the features of the distant sun. It can show us whether a star is moving by the way light changes from one end of the spectrum to the other, while variations in brightness can reveal internal oscillations, which can be analyzed by asteroseismologists.

The full spectrum of the star also reveals what it’s made of, which in turn can be used to learn all sorts of things about it, like how old the star is and where it formed.

That’s because different elements absorb and re-emit light differently. When astronomers look at a star’s spectrum, they can look for the brightest and dimmest wavelengths and use that information to determine what elements are present in the star’s atmosphere.

It is expected that GHOST be available to the astronomical community during the first half of 2023.