Spectra of the giant planets

Spectra of the giant planets

. The radiation spectra of the giant planets at visible wavelengths photographed by Vesto M. Slipher at the Lowell Observatory in 1907. Slipher's work was discussed by Rupert Wildt in 1931, who interpreted some of the bands of Jupiter as absorption by ammonia and methane, the natural gas we use for cooking and heating. Multiples of methane's vibration frequency, n3, are given along the bottom of this figure. The Moon's spectrum is also shown to illustrate the dark Fraunhofer lines found in reflected sunlight and those introduced by the terrestrial atmosphere. The wavelength scale at the top of the figure is in the Angstrom units that were in common use when Slipher took his observations; just divide these numbers by ten to get the wavelength in nanometers.

Copyright 2010, Professor Kenneth R. Lang, Tufts University