Title

Variable Temperature Virtual Star

Presenter Information

Ernest Skousen

Document Type

Oral Presentation

Location

SURC 140

Start Date

16-5-2013

End Date

16-5-2013

Abstract

This project was aimed at developing a virtual star that can be used for qualitative measurements of the surface temperature of a telescopically observed star. The surface temperature of a star plays a fundamental role in stellar astrophysics. The spectrum of a star and hence its apparent color is primarily determined by its surface temperature through the physics of the blackbody spectrum. Through an understanding of the blackbody spectrum and the use of the 1931 CIE Color System which characterizes the response of the human eye to color, it was found that the light emitted from a RGB (Red-Green-Blue) L.E.D. (light emitting diode) with wavelengths 620nm, 515nm, and 480nm (when mixed) could mimic the apparent color of certain stars ranging from 5,000K to 50,000K. Using an optical collimator, optical fiber, and other optical equipment, this apparent color could be coupled into the eyepiece (star diagonal) of a telescope to produce a pin point source of light which can be seen and compared telescopically adjacent to an actual star. Our design includes the ability to vary the color characteristics of our virtual star in response to a virtual temperature dial operated by the user so that the stars can be manually color matched. This color matching performed by the user will correlate to a virtual temperature which will indicate a qualitative measurement of the surface temperature of the real star.

Faculty Mentor(s)

Michael Braunstein

Additional Mentoring Department

Physics

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May 16th, 1:10 PM May 16th, 1:30 PM

Variable Temperature Virtual Star

SURC 140

This project was aimed at developing a virtual star that can be used for qualitative measurements of the surface temperature of a telescopically observed star. The surface temperature of a star plays a fundamental role in stellar astrophysics. The spectrum of a star and hence its apparent color is primarily determined by its surface temperature through the physics of the blackbody spectrum. Through an understanding of the blackbody spectrum and the use of the 1931 CIE Color System which characterizes the response of the human eye to color, it was found that the light emitted from a RGB (Red-Green-Blue) L.E.D. (light emitting diode) with wavelengths 620nm, 515nm, and 480nm (when mixed) could mimic the apparent color of certain stars ranging from 5,000K to 50,000K. Using an optical collimator, optical fiber, and other optical equipment, this apparent color could be coupled into the eyepiece (star diagonal) of a telescope to produce a pin point source of light which can be seen and compared telescopically adjacent to an actual star. Our design includes the ability to vary the color characteristics of our virtual star in response to a virtual temperature dial operated by the user so that the stars can be manually color matched. This color matching performed by the user will correlate to a virtual temperature which will indicate a qualitative measurement of the surface temperature of the real star.