RSpec / Real-time Astronomical Spectroscopy

A colorful spectrum like the one at the top of this page can rightly be called a “fingerprint of a star.” Spectra like this one reveal the composition, temperature, and movement of stars. In the past, only professionals had the skill and equipment to study spectra. Recently, the cost and complexity of the necessary hardware and software has dropped enormously. Today, you can easily study the spectra of stars and planets with a minimum of expense. If you have a telescope and a CCD camera (even a webcam or DSLR), then all you need is an inexpensive Star Analyser grating and the RSpec software. It’s an exciting pursuit. We invite you to join the growing number of amateur astronomers who have discovered the thrilling adventure of  spectroscopy!


Pardon our smile!



We’re pleased that Sky & Telescope Magazine awarded our RSpec software their “Hot Product ” award.  The award is given for product excellence and technical leadership. Our customers tell us the award was well-deserved because our ground-breaking software allows you to easily capture and process the spectra of stars.


Video Interview

See Tom Field, the author of RSpec, our real-time spectroscopy program interviewed by Sky & Telescope Magazine’s Dennis diCicco. Hear how easy it is to get started and the wonderful results you can get with a DSLR or a small backyard telescope. Dark skies and big telescopes aren’t necessary!  You can probably get great spectra with your current setup, even from the suburbs. Watch this video:



“Introduction to Spectroscopy” presentations for club meetings and classrooms


The founder of Field Tested Systems, Tom Field, is a Contributing Editor at Sky & Telescope Magazine.  For many years, Tom has been a spectroscopy evangelist, introducing the  field to amateur astronomers and educators.  He has been a speaker at more than 100 club meetings and conferences, including NEAF,  NEAFIC, Winter Star Party, Advanced Imaging Conference, and others.  He’s available in person or via live video conference over the web, to speak to your club. Click this link to see a sample of his presentation and some testimonials.

Now you can easily capture the spectra of stars

Our RSpec software is a program that enables you to rapidly go from a FITS, DSLR, or video image to a calibrated spectrum graph – in real-time. Now you can see a star or planet’s spectrum graph instantly, right at your telescope!  No more waiting until later to see if you got the spectrum you hoped for.

Getting started in spectroscopy is easy. Attach either an inexpensive grating (a Star Analyser (link) or Rainbow Optics Star Spectroscope) to almost any camera or telescope. You’ll be able to easily see the spectra of distant stars.  You can even use an unguided DSLR camera — no telescope needed.Don’t take our word for it — the video below shows the spectra of a bright star taken at 5 frames/second using just a video camera!

Better yet, check out our sample results page that shows what amateurs just like you have done: link.

In the past, creating an graph from a star’s spectrum was a painful trial-and-error process. But, now, because RSpec displays your profile graph immediately, it’s painless.

It’s time to unleash your inner scientist!   Haven’t you always wanted to “do a little science” with your telescope?  Now you can easily:

  • detect Neptune’s methane atmosphere.
  • determine any star’s OBAFGKM star-type and temperature from its spectra curve.
  • identify the composition of a star or nebula from its emission and absorption lines
  • detect the cosmological red-shift of a distant quasar!
  • measure the blue-shift of a supernova’s expanding shell as it races towards us at millions of miles/hour.

No one likes the drudgery of  complicated image processing. Astronomy is supposed to be fun!  With RSpec, you can go from a raw image to a calibrated profile graph in a few seconds. See a star’s spectrum in real-time at your telescope!

Click the image below to watch a one-minute video that shows a live spectrum in RSpec:

Want to see what else you can do in spectroscopy? Check out our Sample Project page.

See RSpec in the news: link.

To view additional videos, click here.

To read more about RSpec, click here.