[PAST EVENT] Physics Colloquium

February 14, 2014
4pm - 5pm
Small Hall, Room 122
300 Ukrop Way
Williamsburg, VA 23185Map this location
In 1802 Wollaston first saw the solar spectral lines that Fraunhofer rediscovered in 1814. By the 1860s, strong spectral features, later found to be due to methane, were found to dominate the spectra of all of the atmospheres of the outer solar system. There has followed a century and a half of efforts to first identify, then quantify these spectral bands which are essential to the study of the energy transfer, structure and chemical composition of the atmospheres. The bands in the visible and near infrared regions are so complex and the outer solar system physical conditions so extreme that it was thought that proper laboratory study was still at least decades away. However, a combination of the intracavity laser spectrometer of the University of Missouri at St. Louis and the College of William and Mary multispectrum nonlinear least squares spectrum fitting technique have determined the basic measurements for the 890 nm band. It is now possible to properly model an outer solar system atmosphere in this band.