A View from Space
The author was first drawn to Sirius over twenty years ago while working on the Voyager mission that explored the outer solar system. At that time one of my jobs was to find interesting astronomical objects to observe with the spacecraft’s ultraviolet spectrometers, as the two Voyager spacecraft traveled between the planets. The ultraviolet spectrometers (one on each spacecraft) were rather small instruments, about the size of a shoe box, and were designed to observe the upper atmospheres of the giant outer planets in extreme and far ultraviolet light. In spite of their small size, these spectrometers were quite unique at the time in also being able to observe stars at these very short wavelengths. I would select hot stars at which to point the spectrometers, in order to obtain spectra in the 500 Å to 1700 Å region. Since many of these stars had never been observed before in the far ultraviolet, the Voyager spectra were of some considerable scientific interest. After a while I gradually became familiar with the appearance of the spectra of various types of stars at these wavelengths.
KeywordsWhite Dwarf Hubble Space Telescope Bright Star Stellar Atmosphere Angular Diameter
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