Wednesday, June 19, 2024


 Hey, Space Placers!

Transmission Spectrum of an Earth-Like Atmosphere: Graph of light blocked versus wavelength of light in nanometers, for an Earth-like atmosphere. Light blocked on the y-axis increases from bottom to top. Wavelength on the x-axis ranges to 20,000 nanometers, marked in equal increments of 5,000 nanometers. The graphed line is irregular, with numerous peaks of various heights and widths. Peaks for ozone, carbon dioxide, methane, and water are labeled. Select View Description for more details.

A transmission spectrum of an Earth-like atmosphere shows wavelengths of sunlight that molecules like ozone (O3), water (H2O), carbon dioxide (CO2), and methane (CH4) absorb. (Notice that on this graph, the y-axis shows amount of light blocked by Earth’s atmosphere rather than brightness of sunlight that travels through the atmosphere: Brightness decreases from bottom to top.) 

Transmission spectroscopy is used to study the atmospheres of planets orbiting distant stars. An understanding of the atmospheres and spectra of Earth and other planets in the Solar System is crucial for accurate interpretation of transmission spectra of exoplanets. A transmission spectrum is a type of absorption spectrum.

Model transmission spectrum from Lisa Kaltenegger and Zifan Lin 2021 ApJL 909

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