DATABASE:Standardizing the Spectrum

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Science  07 Feb 2003:
Vol. 299, Issue 5608, pp. 795
DOI: 10.1126/science.299.5608.795a

Astronomers clock speeding galaxies and spinning stars with spectrographs, which dissect light coming from the distant object. Spectral Atlas Central provides astronomers, physicists, and other spectrograph mavens with the data to calibrate their instruments. The 4-year-old site from the National Optical Astronomy Observatories in Tucson, Arizona, holds standardized spectra for three kinds of lamps commonly used for calibration: thorium-argon, iron-argon, and helium-neon-argon. For a particular range of wavelengths, the site marks the location of major peaks so users can know where they should appear on their own equipment during calibrations.

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