Also found in: Dictionary, Wikipedia.


device for photographing the surface of the sunsun,
intensely hot, self-luminous body of gases at the center of the solar system. Its gravitational attraction maintains the planets, comets, and other bodies of the solar system in their orbits.
..... Click the link for more information.
 in a single wavelength of light, usually one corresponding to a chief element contained in the sun, e.g., hydrogen or calcium; the resulting photograph is called a spectroheliogram. The spectroheliograph was invented in 1890 independently by G. Hale and by H. Deslandres and modernized (1932) by R. R. McMath to take motion pictures. In operation, the instrument is preset by means of a prism or grating and a narrow slit that passes only one wavelength of light to a photographic plate or digital detector; the image of the sun is then moved slowly or stepwise across the entrance slit until the entire disk of the sun has been photographed. See spectrumspectrum,
arrangement or display of light or other form of radiation separated according to wavelength, frequency, energy, or some other property. Beams of charged particles can be separated into a spectrum according to mass in a mass spectrometer (see mass spectrograph).
..... Click the link for more information.


(spek-troh-hee -lee-ŏ-graf, -grahf) A high-dispersion spectrograph designed to be used, usually with a solar telescope, for studying the Sun's spectrum and for obtaining photographs of the Sun at particular wavelengths, such as that of the hydrogen-alpha (Hα) line at 656.3 nm. In addition to an entrance slit, the instrument has a second narrow slit situated directly in front of the photographic plate so that only one spectral line falls on the plate. When the first slit is at the prime focus of the telescope a narrow strip of the Sun's image will enter the instrument and a photograph of that narrow strip, at the wavelength of the spectral line, will be formed. If the first slit is moved across the Sun's image, and the second slit is moved in step with it across the photographic plate, a photograph – a spectroheliogram – of the whole Sun, at the particular wavelength, will be obtained. This photograph will be composed of tiny line elements maybe 0.03 nm wide.



an astronomical spectroscopic instrument for photographing the solar disk in monochromatic light. The optical scheme of the spectroheliograph is the same as that of the spectrohelioscope except that a photographic plate is placed behind the second, exit slit. The exit slit isolates the desired spectral line or the desired narrow portion of the continuous spectrum. The movement of the two slits is coordinated so that different parts of the photographic plate correspond to the different parts of the solar disk that are successively projected on the first slit.

A photograph made with a spectroheliograph is known as a spectroheliogram. Such a photograph permits the observation of various formations on the solar disk or beyond its edge that emit or absorb light in the given spectral line and that are not visible in photographs made with white light, owing to the superposition of radiation of other wavelengths.

Spectroheliographs have two advantages over birefringent filters, which also can be used to obtain monochromatic photographs of the sun. These advantages are (1) the broad limits within which spectral lines can be selected for observation and (2) the possibility of choosing the degree of monochromatization, which is determined by the width of the exit slit.

For the most part, the H and K lines of ionized calcium and the Ha line of hydrogen are used to obtain spectroheliograms. Spectroheliograms taken at any wavelength of the continuous spectrum show all the details–such as granulation and spots–visible in photographs of the sun made in white light.

The first spectroheliograph designs were developed and implemented in the 1890’s by H. Deslandres of France, G. E. Hale of the USA, and J. Evershed of India. The construction of such an instrument, however, had been suggested somewhat earlier. The first spectroheliograms of prominences were made in 1891, and the first spectroheliograms of the entire solar disk were produced in 1892. In 1908 photographic plates sensitive to red light were developed, and the first spectroheliograms in Hα light were obtained.

Like spectrographs, spectroheliographs use prisms, diffraction gratings, and, sometimes, combinations of prisms and gratings as dispersing systems. Double spectroheliographs have been mounted on some telescopes to permit the simultaneous taking of two photographs of the sun in different spectral lines. With the development of research in space, spectroheliographs carried by rockets and artificial earth satellites have been used to obtain spectroheliograms in ultraviolet light and X-radiation.


An instrument used to photograph the sun in one spectral band.
References in periodicals archive ?
Hale used a modified spectroheliograph to show that sunspots were magnetic, the first time that magnetic fields were identified on an extraterrestrial body.
In 1891 George Ellery Hale used the calcium-H and -K bands of a spectroheliograph to produce the first photographs of solar prominences taken when the Sun was not in eclipse.
Half a century later, George Ellery Hale used a spectroheliograph to correctly infer that sunspots have strong magnetic fields, linking the 11-year sunspot cycle to a magnetic cycle.
The main event of that summer [1889] for Hale was his invention of the spectroheliograph, one of his most important contributions to astrophysics.
From his childhood fascination with spectra, to his invention of the spectroheliograph for photographing solar eruptions, to his cofounding of the Astrophysical Journal, Hale's scientific ascension had all the markings of a crusade.
Its members took on challenging telescope designs including Schmidt and Wright cameras, Dall-Kirkham and Ritchey-Chretien Cassegrains, and even a spectroheliograph. Sikoruk's 1982 book Telescopes for Amateur Astronomers remains popular to this day, and his documentary "Telescopes" was broadcast on television throughout the Soviet Union.
Only a few years earlier he had invented the spectroheliograph, an achievement that catapulted him into the headlines.
But the real work of the laboratory took place in the basement, where his spectroheliograph sat.