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An introduction to exoplanets
An introduction to exoplanets

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4.6  DIY chemical fingerprints

This is an optional section for those of you who would like to experience the power of spectroscopy yourself. The video will tell you more about the spectra of stars even if you don’t have time to make a spectrometer.

Activity 9  Make your own spectrometer

Timing: Allow about 1 hour, plus time for experimentation

If you want to really see what a spectrum is like, you can very easily make your own spectrometer – a device that allows you to split up the light coming from a source to see what colours are present. Watch the following video for instructions and ideas about what to look at.

Make your own CD spectrometer [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)]

You will need:

  • an old CD you don’t want anymore
  • a cereal box
  • scissors
  • tin foil
  • sticky tape.