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Natural Science - Year II

Unit 49: Observing Light Spectra

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Lab Assignment for Unit 49


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Unit 49 Laboratory Activity: The Wave Nature of Light

Goal: To Observe the Spectrum

Follow the instructions at the Patterns in Nature site for the making your own spectrometer in their Prisms and the Spectrum Lab.

Since you don't have the optics kit mentioned, you will need to find a diffraction grating and colored filters (both of which are available from a photo supply store, science museum shop, or one of the science supply houses listed for the class). You can also use colored cellophane for the red and blue filters.

The prism listed at the website is required only for the first section; if you can find one, experimenting with different sources of light is rather fun, but a prism is not necessary for the spectrometer.

After you make the spectrometer, see how many sources of light you can find and identify as different. Household incandescent light bulbs, fluorescent bulbs, and street lights (both sulfur and mercury) are a good start. Use the wavelength scale to estimate the position of the emission spectrum lines. In your lab report, explain how you could use these lines to identify the type of material from which they come. II