Tom Field

What's the next cool project to try with your telescope and/or camera?

How about some amateur spectroscopy! It's now cheaper and easier than you probably think.

This Thursday I'll be hosting Sky & Telescope's next online webinar, Capturing Star Spectra with Your Small Telescope or DSLR with amateur-spectroscopy guru Tom Field, an S&T contributing editor. Tom says he will "will show you how easy it is to capture the spectra of stars and interpret your results."

Most astronomical research uses spectroscopy, the science of splitting starlight into a rainbow and then studying the results. Until recently, capturing a star’s spectrum was only possible with advanced equipment and skills. But new, inexpensive, and easy-to-use tools are making the field accessible to the rest of us. Join us in this webinar to learn how you can get started. It’s time to unleash your inner scientist!

That's Thursday, August 18th, at 6:30 p.m. EDT (22:30 UTC). Price: $29.99

Buy the webinar here to register. Each registration comes with access to the archived version of the program and materials for one year. You don’t have to attend the live event to get a recording of the presentation. But if you do, you can chat with Tom and ask questions, and any questions that the live presentation doesn't get to will be included in the follow-up email.

What You'll Learn

• A brief history of spectroscopy and how it’s done today
• What a spectrum is and where it comes from
• How to capture a stellar spectrum with a FITS camera, video camera, or DSLR
• How to use simple software commands to extract a spectrum from your camera image
• How to calibrate your image’s wavelengths
• How to detect ionized hydrogen on a distant star
• How to determine the temperature of a star from your spectrum
• How to use just a DSLR to see into the core of a dying (Wolf-Rayet) star
• How to easily detect the enormous stellar winds on the surface of a star
• How to classify a supernova’s type
• How to capture the spectrum of a distant quasar in just 15 minutes with your 8-inch SCT
• How to detect methane and ammonia on Neptune and Uranus
• How to be part of pro-am collaboration teams that include professional researchers

Our Guest

Tom Field is also the author of the real-time spectroscopy program RSpec. Tom has been a spectroscopy evangelist for almost a decade and has conducted hundreds of webinars to astronomy clubs, star parties, and conferences.

Tom told us, “I feel very privileged to have the opportunity to help others by de-mystifying this field for them. And I love seeing the excitement in their faces the first time people capture a spectrum and discover that, yes, they too can do some awesome science without a lot of new equipment and without the pain of a steep learning curve. This stuff is far easier than any other imaging they’ve tried before.”

Tom is a well-known speaker who will present the topic in interesting and easy-to-understand pieces. He has coached numerous amateurs who were getting started in the field and has given webinars to hundreds of clubs and star parties. And he guarantees that you’ll laugh at least once during his presentation.

How Does the Webinar Work?

The webinar is broadcasted via the Internet, using GoToWebinar, with live audio delivered through your computer speakers or over your telephone. The live webinar’s visual presentation is displayed directly from the presenter's computer to your computer screen. The Q&A is managed through a chat-style submission system with questions being read and answered by the Presenter for the entire class to hear. In the event that some questions are not answered during the live session, an e-mail with questions and answers will be sent to all webinar attendees. By attending the live webinar and asking questions, your full name may be stated during the live event and captured in the recording.

You can check your system’s compatibility automatically before the live webinar by visiting

Important: After you complete your purchase of this live webinar, you will be prompted to confirm your registration via a link on the order confirmation page/email.


Tom Field


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