Sunday, November 26, 2006

Color calibration? Only on Maui

I'm headed back to Maui again in the morning until Thursday. My major project, other than looking at my two stars, is to calibrate the wavelengths (colors) seen by my spectrograph. I take pictures of these lamps to do it:

The these lamps have gasses in them that have been well characterized (Th, Ar). We know all the emission lines that come from them. It's a lot like looking at a Neon sign - knowing that it's got neon in it, and knowing what light neon emits you can tell if your camera is taking the right picture because it's supposed to be a certain shade of red. Anyways, I get a picture like this:

My job is to write software that finds the bright lines on each part of the image, and gives a proper color (wavelength) to them. I'm going to need lots of coffee to focus on this at 4am.....


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