Catalogue of visual spectroscopes

Reading diffraction spectroscope

No. 2447, bought from Ealing Beck in 1970
Notes: A high dispersion instument with a wavelength measurement error of only a couple of Angstroms. Calibrated by fitting a 3rd order polynomial to measurements of a mercury vapour lamp. This has been used, with a 3-inch refracting telescope, to observe prominences on the Sun. The drawing, made with Adobe Illustrator, shows the mounted spectroscope. The calibration curve and the calibration data are shown.

[An outline drawing of the Wavelength Prism Spectroscope]

Direct vision diffraction spectroscope

No. 2426, bought in Brunnings, Holborn, London in about 1971
Notes: A compact device with quite a large angular field. Suffers from more scattered light than the prism instruments.

[A photograph of the diffraction spectroscope]

Wavelength prism spectroscope

No. 2522, bought from Ealing Beck in 1974
Notes: My favourite device since it produces a very bright spectrum with little scattered light. The wavelength scale can be set quite precisely. There is a comparison prism which can be inserted to cover half the slit. A template for sketching spectra with a prism spectroscope is available.

[An outline drawing of the Wavelength Prism Spectroscope]

Cylindrical lens attachment

No. 2496, for concentrating light from a point source on the slit.

OPL diffraction grating spectroscope

From Gemmological Instruments Ltd., Saint Dunstan's House, 2 Carey Lane, London EC2V 8AB

Japanese eyepiece prism spectroscope

Slitless with focussing telescope (bought in Sydney, Australia in 1975)

GOTO Kogaku Star Spectroscope

Slitless prism eyepiece instrument with three differently powered cylindrical lens attachments.

RAS thread astronomical spectroscope

By John Browning, 146 Strand, London: prism train with adjustable slit and focussing telescope (bought in Campkins, Cambridge in July 1996 and restored). See a higher resolution photograph.

[A picture of the Browning spectroscope on its box]

Rayner multi-slit prism spectroscope

Designed to fit in a microscope eyepiece (from Gemmological Instruments Ltd., Saint Dunstan's House, 2 Carey Lane, London EC2V 8AB)
Last update: 21 December 1996

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