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Spectrographs

The Harps Spectrograph

Spectrographs are complex astronomical instruments that, rather than taking a picture of an object, split the light up into all the different colours of the spectrum.

This can be very useful because the exact amount of each colour can tell astronomers a great deal about the physics of the object. For example, you can measure the temperature of a star from its spectrum, or work out what different elements a star has, just by looking for narrow lines at particular colours.

Spectrographs are highly complex, expensive pieces of equipment that produce a significant amount of the science that is being done today. They consist of a number of mirrors, prisms, filters, lamps and CCD detectors, and produce image data that can be analysed on computers.