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This edition: The Science of Starlight





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Episode Details

“Starlight, star bright, the first star I see tonight...” are the opening words to a simple poem we learn as children, but few people know the enormous amount of information contained in each beam of starlight. This lesson deals with the hidden data embedded in the electromagnetic emissions of stars and galaxies and how astronomers extract that information, revealing the mysteries of the cosmos. Students learn how “light” is generated and how observing the resulting spectrum can show chemical composition, temperature, motion and direction of the emitting object. The video concludes with Dr. Geoff Marcy explaining how he uses the Doppler effect to detect the presence of unseen planets around distant stars.