University of Virginia
Physics Department

Visible Spectrum

A Physical Science Activity

Student Activity

Materials

Procedure

  1. Point the slit of the spectroscope toward the light source. Get the spectrum to line up with the scale in the scope.
  2. Draw a picture of the spectrum that you see in the spectroscope. Draw the picture carefully, showing the relative sizes of the colored bands and any bright lines that you may see. Use the scale to help you determine the relative sizes of bands.
  3. Repeat steps 1-2 for all of your light sources. NEVER LOOK DIRECTLY AT THE SUN WITH THE NAKED EYE, you may look next to the sun for your spectrum.
  4. When you have finished with all of your unfiltered spectrums get a colored filter and hold it up to one of the light sources and draw what the spectrum looks like now.

Data Sheet

Light source:

 

Light source:

Light source:

 

Light source:

Light source:

 

Light source:

Light source:

 

Light source:

Assessment

 

  1. Which spectra are the most similar? The most different?







  2. What does the filter do to the light?







  3. What is the difference in the spectrum between incandescent and fluorescent light?







  4. Which spectrum had the most even distribution of colors?







  5. Which spectrum had a bright purple line at about 4 and a bright green line at about 5 ?







  6. Which spectrum did you feel was overall the brightest?







  7. What was the independent variable in this experiment?







  8. What was the dependent variable in this experiment?







  9. How could this information that certain lights produce certain spectrums be used, what would be an application of this knowledge?