Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Quantitative Analysis Spectroscope

If you need a stocking stuffer for your junior physicist or chemist, consider Edmund Scientific's affordable spectroscope.

It will allow you to analyze light wavelengths from 4000Å to 7000Å in both emission and absorption spectra. In combination with a spectrum analysis chart and spectrum tubes (or a less expensive set of acrylic filters), a young experimenter will be able to learn a lot about the visible part of the electromagnetic spectrum.

Even without the charts and spectrum tubes, the spectroscope is a lot of fun around the house.

Here are a couple of different views of the inside of the spectroscope, aimed at different light sources around my house.

It's hard to tell from the pictures, but there's a scale atop the diffracted bands of light. A good household experiment might be to look at the different wavelengths from incandescent bulbs and fluorescent bulbs. If there are any old sodium lights in your town, check them out. The next thing to check out would be neon lights. How about the light from the television, or computer monitor? I wouldn't recommend looking at sunlight with this spectroscope.

If that last experiment sounds up your alley, check out Edmund's Night Spectra Quest Spectrum Card. It has a complete lesson plan that will help you learn about light pollution in your area and identify the different kinds of lights you encounter.

Edmund's Scientific has a lot of other great gift ideas for the holiday season. The little icky boy in me would love to play with Bug Watch. It's a double viewer that lets you look at any insect specimen from both top and bottom. Kewl! Or as we say in Maine, some old wicked!



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