RSpec in the News

RSpec in the Astronomy Picture of the Day

Beautiful Albireo AB with RSpec and a Star Analyser was featured here.

AstroGear Today reviews RSpec

This review of RSpec will interest you because it describes the learning curve and the excitement of capturing scientific data on a small telescope. Full article here.

AstroGear Today has become one of the more respected sites in the astronomy community for their astronomy industry news and reviews.

AstroGearToday Review of RSpec


A great review of hands-on spectroscopy

This wonderful article shows the spectra and scientific results that a new user captured with just a small telescope and Star Analyser.  Full pdf.

Low cost equipment for astronomical spectroscopy

Evolution of a Nova

Markus Kohl captured images of an erupting nova over a period of nine months to produce the series of spectra below.  A nova is typically caused by a thermonuclear explosion on the surface of a white dwarf star that is accreting matter from a binary-star companion” (APOD, link).

Notice the changes over time of the Helium in the green boxed-in region below.  This is a classic P Cygni profile with an absorption and emission feature to its right. The changes that are visible in the shape of this profile over time show the changes to the gases surrounding this star during nine months. The full-scale image is  here.

Markus used a slit spectrometer, not a slit-less Star Analyser.

Equipment used:

  • Skywatcher Esprit 150 Triplet APO f/7 on Skywatcher AZ-EQ-6
  • Shelyak Alpy 600 with 10micrometer slit and guiding – module ZWO ASI 071 (a BW-camera would be more useful here, but none was available with this FOV) at -10 to  -5°C sensor temperature
  • QHYII-5-mono guiding-cam
  • All spectra were recorded at 150x20s sub-exposures using the FireCapture-software and PHD-Guiding, stacked in “Fitswork”, little noise-reduction in Photoshop

Evolution of a Nova

Our Periodic Table of Spectra Poster on SOFIA

Below: Our Periodic Table of Spectra (link) that was displayed onboard the NASA SOFIA Boeing 747 observatory until it was retired.

You can see the poster (in 2 pieces, printed on metal) on the wall on the left. The telescope is in the background.

See more about our popular poster here:


Poster on SOFIA

RSpec reviewed in Sky & Telescope Magazine

We’re pleased to see this review of RSpec in Sky & Telescope Magazine.    Written by Contributing Editor Rod Mollise, the review praises the software and the fun of capturing spectra with a small telescope. (Full article: Screen version: link. Printable version: link)

S&T Review

Solar Limb Darkening

Bob Gill uses RSpec in a novel, “off-label” way to measure the limb darkening on the Sun. Read his full report: link. (pdf)

Asteroid Research

Congratulations to RSpec/Star Analyser user Giovanni Battista Casalnuovo for his recent exciting work studying asteroids.  See his site for details: link.

National Geographic Recognizes Educational Work being done with RSpec

A recent posting on the National Geographic site mentioned RSpec being used by high school students at a summer space camp: link.


Noted Author Rod Mollise takes RSpec out for a test drive and comes back smiling

Well-known blogger and author Rod Mollise (a.k.a. “Uncle Rod”) recently took RSpec out for a series of tests using our Star Analyser grating and a ZWO video camera. He wrote about it in Amateur Astronomy Magazine. For the complete article (pdf), click on this link.



A Young Astronomer’s Remarkable Achievement


At a recent American Astronomical Society conference, we were approached at our booth by a high school student named Piper Reid. She came by to tell us that she had used our software on a project she recently completed, which had been accepted for the conference poster session. Her project was to measure the physical properties of a binary star system using photometry and spectroscopy. She measured the rotation period, separation, radius, and mass of BB Pegasi and 57 Cygni. For more information and a downloadable copy of her paper, see this link.

We’re also told (and, frankly, are somewhat envious!) that at the AAS Conference, Piper had the opportunity to explain her poster to COBE researcher John Mather (2006 Nobel Laureate in Physics) and also to physicist John Grunsfeld, a five-time Shuttle astronaut! Congratulations, Piper, on your project! We look forward to seeing more great things from you in the years to come.



Article on how to use Webinars for Remote Presentations.

Whether you’re in an astronomy club, or a high school classroom, Tom Field, the founder of Field Tested Systems can entertain and educate your group with a live video webinar on the amazing field of astronomical spectroscopy. High school physics classes love Tom’s humorous and slightly wacky antics. ) Tom’s article on using webinars for remote presentations appeared in the March issue of Sky & Telescope.

Tom is available for free to speak to your club. See link for details.



Remote Spectroscopy with RSpec at SSON

The Sierra Stars Observatory Network has begun to do spectroscopy with its network of professional observatories around the world.



Astronomy Technology Today publishes an article by an enthusiastic user of the RSpec software

Long-time RSpec user Rick Hiestand has had his article on RSpec published in the US magazine Astronomy Technology Today. Right-click this link to save a pdf of the article to your computer. Or left-click to read it in your browser.



NEAF Winner!Benjamin-254x300


At the NEAF astronomy conference this Spring, we had a drawing at the RSpec booth for a giveaway of a Star Analyser and a copy of the RSpec software. We were excited that the winner was Benjamin Palmer. Benjamin lives near the NEAF conference site in New York State. He’s passionate about astronomy. And, although he’s only 16 years old, he’s already quite well-informed on astronomical topics. We really enjoyed meeting and chatting with him. His excitement is contagious.

Benjamin enthusiastically says, “I can’t wait to undertake my newest research project, ‘A Spectroscopic Study of Alpha Cygni Variables’ using RSpec and my new Star Analyser grating.” We’ve exchanged several emails with him since the NEAF conference and we’re happy to say that Ben remains very excited about his plans for the upcoming summer observing season. Congratulations, Benjamin! We look forward to hearing more about your spectroscopic adventures! We predict a bright future for Ben! He’s shown in the photo with his 4.5 EQ reflector.





An RSpec User Blogs his first experiences in Spectroscopy

Iain Petrie is an amateur astronomer who lives in the UK. He has blogged his experience getting started in spectroscopy. Click on this link to go to his first of many articles:




RSpec Booth is a big success at NEAF!

Our booth at NEAF was jammed with attendees fascinated to discover how easy it is for amateurs to do spectroscopy with RSpec. Below is a write-up by Nick Howes in the June issue of the UK-based Astronomy Now Magazine. (link)


RSpec Presentation

The Seattle Astronomical Society invited RSpec’s Tom Field to speak at their club meeting, hosted at the University of Washington. Greg Scheiderer was there and wrote about his experience in the article below, which is no longer online.



RSpec in Costa Rica!

Alberto Villalobos is a chemist who lives in Costa Rica. He has a blog named “On the Shoulders of Giants.” (Isn’t that a great name for an astronomy blog?!) Alberto used RSpec with a home video camera to capture spectra. Here’s his review: link. (Translated from the original Spanish by Google.)




RSpec at the Iowa Robotic Observatory

The University of Iowa’s Department of Physics and Astronomy has posted some nice comments about RSpec and spectra that they processed using the program: link.


RSpec at the American Astronomical Society (AAS) Conference



Interview on Share Astronomy site

Ken Hudson recently published this interview with Tom about RSpec and the world of spectroscopy: link.



CosmoQuest 365 Days of Astronomy Podcast

A popular astronomy podcast featured RSpec and Tom Field in where they discussed how to get into spectroscopy and how RSpec fits into the big picture: link.



The Imaging Source

One exciting aspect of RSpec is that you can view spectra from a live video camera, including the astronomical cameras from The Imaging Source, who published this link.


Sky & Telescope Magazine article on spectroscopy

The August 2011 issue of Sky & Telescope Magazine contained a four-page article by Tom on spectroscopy. Download pdf: link.


RSpec being used in Pro-Am Collaboration

Jeff Hopkins [deceased] was an amateur astronomer who studied Be stars. He was part of a still growing community of amateurs working with the pros. His Zeta Aurigae campaign site (no longer available) had some nice examples of RSpec being used to study Be eclipse data.