Colorful Starry Pencil – Stellar Color Class Written in the Stars and Revealed in the Earth Motion

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When we first look at the night sky, we can barely distinguish the color of each star with our own naked eyes. Although, if we record them on very a long exposure sequence – due to the motion of rotating Earth and consequently the rotation of celestial sphere – a trailed path can reveal much information about our colorful sky. The wide angle scene is comprising 8h of consecutive long exposures captured from the Visual Observatory at Dark Sky® Alqueva, Portugal, and is revealing the light polar paths around northern star Polaris. Different color trails and shinning in blue, white, yellow or even orange. Each color is directly related to the type and temperature of each star. The hottest stars, are showing a blue color, but in opposition the coldest ones, can reveal an orange-reddish hues.

In astronomy, stellar classification is the classification of stars based on their spectral characteristics. Electromagnetic radiation from the star is analysed by splitting it with a prism or diffraction grating into a spectrum exhibiting the rainbow of colors interspersed with absorption lines. Each line indicates an ion of a certain chemical element, with the line strength indicating the abundance of that ion. The relative abundance of the different ions varies with the temperature of the photosphere. The spectral class of a star is a short code summarising the ionisation state, giving an objective measure of the photosphere’s temperature and density.

Quando olhamos pela primeira vez para o céu nocturno, mal conseguimos distinguir a cor de cada estrela quando vistas a olho nu. No entanto, se registrarmos uma longa sequência de exposições – devido ao movimento de rotação da Terra e consequentemente, à rotação da esfera celeste – as trilhas dessa luz celeste  podem revelar muitas informações sobre o nosso céu colorido. A imagem grande angular é composta por 8h de exposições consecutivas captadas ao longo de uma noite a partir do Observatório Visual do Dark Sky® Alqueva, Portugal, e revela os rastos de luz em torno da estrela Polar. Trilhas brilham em diferentes cores como o azul, branco, amarelo ou até laranja. Cada cor está directamente relacionada com o tipo e temperatura de cada estrela. As estrelas mais quentes apresentam uma cor azulada, mas em oposição, as mais frias podem revelar tonalidades de laranja-avermelhado.

Na astronomia, a classificação estelar é a classificação das estrelas com base nas suas características espectrais. A radiação eletromagnética da estrela é analisada dividindo-a com um prisma ou rede de difração, em um espectro que exibe o arco-íris de cores intercaladas com linhas de absorção. Cada linha indica um ião de um determinado elemento químico, com a intensidade da linha indicando a abundância desse ião. A abundância relativa dos diferentes iões varia com a temperatura da fotosfera. A classe espectral de uma estrela é um código curto que resume o estado de ionização, fornecendo uma medida objetiva da temperatura e densidade da fotosfera.


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