Cracking starlight’s hidden code


Hugh Allen

Oakhill, Somerset UK

8″ Meade LX90 telescope. Alpy 600 spectroscope from Shelyak. Atik 314L mono camera. Images processed in RSpec to synthesise the colour spectra used in the composition.

I created a new ‘star’ from some of my astronomical spectra including (clockwise from the top) Barnard’s Star, AG Pegasi, Vega, Shelyak, S Monocerotis, Wolf-Rayet WR133, The Sun, and 28 Tauri. By carefully spreading starlight into a rainbow with a spectroscope a fingerprint of dark or bright lines appears. A magical world of chemistry and motion is revealed, unmasking binary stars, gas clouds and explosions. And it’s all within easy reach for amateur astronomers!