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Calibrating a New Spectrometer Using Arcturus

Presentation #547.18 in the session “Education, Outreach, and Public Engagement”.

Published onJan 11, 2021
Calibrating a New Spectrometer Using Arcturus

While traditional photometric measurements can tell us a lot about astronomical objects, a whole host of information is embedded in their spectrum. For stars, the spectra can give us information on parameters such as temperature, Doppler shift, chemical composition and more. In order to better measure these stellar parameters, we integrated a high-resolution optical grating spectrometer at the University of St. Thomas (UST) observatory in St. Paul, Minnesota. Initial calibrations of the instrument included mapping the relationship between grating angle and wavelength, and calculating the resolution and dispersion across the spectrum. Next, we acquired data of the star Arcturus with the spectrometer and a portable 8” telescope and compared it to archived spectra to test the performance of the spectrometer. As a final check, we calculated the temperature of Arcturus using our data and the results were in agreement with the accepted temperature of 4286 K. In the future, the spectrometer will be mounted onto the 17” telescope at the UST observatory to be used for upcoming student research.

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