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The Spectrum of Helium
The Spectrum of Helium

Photograph Information Photographer's Comments
Challenge: Periodic Table II (Advanced Editing VII)
Collection: 2012 Challenge shots
Camera: Canon EOS-7D
Lens: Canon EF 24-105mm f/4.0L IS
Date: Dec 6, 2012
Date Uploaded: Dec 6, 2012

[Dec. 13th, 2012 10:45:10 PM]

ok. So my husband is a physicist. He must have some incredibly wonderful ideas, right? Busy?? Finals?? Sigh. No liquid nitrogen? Sigh...

So he plops me down in front of this tube, which is glowing, but is really quite dull. And hands me some glasses. And I see some colored lines.

That's it???


Oh well.

Hmmm... if you put the glasses down and shoot through them, it's kind of funky... and if you flip it upside down you get an alien! Ok. That's kind of cool. I have a helium alien. :D

Ok: here's the official explanation from my husband, in case you were looking for anything more than "helium alien":

The yellow-orange light in the middle is helium gas sealed into a glass tube with electrodes on each end. The gas is excited to a high temperature by flowing an electrical current through the gas, This is the same thing that makes neon lights work (which has neon gas that glows red).

the color each element gives off is different but made is up of a series of emission lines with specific wavelengths. After passing the light through a prism, you can see the component colors. In this case you are seeing them through diffraction grating lenses on a pair of glasses used in an introductory astronomy laboratory experiment. The pattern of colors is a fingerprint that is unique for each element. This is how astronomers can tell the chemical make up of an astronomical object without sending an instrument to visit. Helium was first discovered in the atmosphere of the Sun since there was a pattern seen in the solar spectrum that didn't match any know element (hence the name of the gas).

Place: 19 out of 54
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Views since voting: 388
Views during voting: 195
Votes: 90
Comments: 3
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02/15/2014 06:46:18 PM
Both the photo and the explanation are well-done!

At The Crucible they teach people to make/work with inert-gas lights at an Open House I've seen a display where they have a sample piece of light using each of the gasses to show the different colors they produce.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/14/2012 03:44:15 AM
good story as well....
  Photographer found comment helpful.
 Comments Made During the Challenge
12/10/2012 11:26:55 AM
I like it! Very nice.
  Photographer found comment helpful.

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