How do we do spectroscopy?

Spectroscopy by SPICE

SPICE is a spectrometer, which means that it separates and measures the light spectrum. The light that we receive from the Sun has many components: Newton, with his famous prism experiment, showed this:

We basically get to do Newton's experiment, but in space, and with actual measurements! 

A very simple experiment would be as the image: a source, a bench, a slit, a prism, a lens and a spectrum collector:

This an overview of the different hardware contributions from different institutes:


For SPICE, the light that comes from the source is detected by an optical unit, the telescope mirror, shown here. 

Then, instead of a prism, the light components are split thanks to a grating (pic1). The image of the ‘split’ light is then collected on a detector. (pic2).

And finally, this is where SPICE is on the whole spacecraft! Tucked in with all the other telescopes, protected by the thermal shield. 

For more advanced information, here is a link to the scientific paper presenting SPICE & its operation:

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