May 10, 2023

How do scientists determine the compositions of planets and stars?

Posted by in category: space

Cristina Montes Muntinlupa, Philippines

The most common method astronomers use to determine the composition of stars, planets, and other objects is spectroscopy. Today, this process uses instruments with a grating that spreads out the light from an object by wavelength. This spread-out light is called a spectrum. Every element — and combination of elements — has a unique fingerprint that astronomers can look for in the spectrum of a given object. Identifying those fingerprints allows researchers to determine what it is made of.

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