If you're interested in how celestial objects reveal themselves simply by analyzing their light, you'll enjoy this free online international journal.

Spektrum front cover
Spektrum is a free online international journal about astronomical spectroscopy for professionals and amateurs alike.

For about 25 years the Spectroscopy Section of the German Amateur Association (Vereinigung der Sternfreunde, or VdS) has published a free journal called Spektrum (ISSN 2363-5894). Issued twice each year, it is aimed at amateur and professional astronomers who work with spectroscopic techniques. Importantly, it provides amateurs with an international communication platform to reach a professional audience.

Professional astronomers have used spectroscopic techniques for more than 100 years. Amateurs, though, began doing spectroscopy only about 25 years ago — with modest attempts and results. However, since then we have witnessed newly available off-the-shelf spectrographs, significantly lower equipment prices, and a dramatic growth of knowledge. Today even amateurs can produce scientifically useful results with homemade or purchased systems.

Our bilingual (English/German) journal is the only refereed amateur journal that includes articles by amateur and professional spectroscopists. It covers a broad range of topics — of course, there are articles on measurement of celestial objects from the Sun to quasars. In addition, however, you'll find discussions on data reduction, interpretation, instrumental design, opto-mechanical theory, and physics.

Samples of stellar spectra
Here are samples of stellar spectra acquired using a spectrograph attached to a backyard telescope.
Sebastian Hess

We want to promote a critical and profitable dialogue that benefits everyone. An article published in Spektrum meets basic standards for quality and content. All articles are brought to a uniform two-column format and then are sent to their respective authors for final examination before publication. Thus, our journal is not only an important information source (besides our discussion forum) but also acts as an inspiration for other work.

Spectrograph by Berthold Stober
Here's a a prototype of a wooden Echelle spectrograph.
Berthold Stober

Our spectroscopy group is particularly active in supporting newbies and young talent. We always offer help in getting articles published. Everybody who wants to carry out relevant work, publish new ideas on the subject and would like to start an international discussion is in good hands with Spektrum.

Almost all editions of this oldest journal of amateur spectroscopy can be found at the web portal of the VdS's Spectrscopy Section (click on "Our Journal" along the left edge). Current and back issues are available as PDF documents and can be downloaded for free.


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