Engaging Minds, Transforming Lives

King Creativity at Southwestern

Low Cost Variable Use Spectrograph

Vincente Estrada-Carpenter
Advisor: Mark Bottorff

The goal of this project is to increase the astronomical research capabilities at Southwestern University by designing and fabricating a low cost variable use spectrograph for use at the Fountainwood Observatory. A spectrograph is a device that allows researchers to analyze the composition of celestial objects, as well as their relative velocities. It can do this because a spectrograph takes in light from a source and uses a prism or diffraction grating to separate it. This will yield a spectra, which will provide the information necessary. Spectrographs usually take a lot of tinkering, which makes them difficult to use for students with little to no knowledge of the instrument. The spectrograph I am designing will be accessible to students at all levels and should only require minimal instruction to use. It will also include a built in system that will allow students to swap out specialized filters, which will give the device greater flexibility. Ultimately I want to give students who wish to study astrophysics a larger range of topics, which they can research. With the spectrograph I am designing they will be exposed to different areas of research not currently available to them.