The Bohr Atom (51.0K)The Bohr Atom Interactive illustrates the concept of emission and absorption
spectra as well as Kirchoffs Laws by having students "Build an Atom."
Students can construct an atom with energy levels corresponding to different
colors of light. By heating a gas of these atoms or shining a continuum light
through them students will construct different spectra.
At the turn of the century, a far sighted Danish physicst first related the spectral lines seen in the stars for almost a century with the electron levels and chemical properties of the elements, showing that the spectra could be used as a chemical fingerprint for the composition of stars.
Once you become familar with the pattern of orbitals in the Bohr atom, predictions of spectral features can be made.
Notable as the Balmer lines are visually, many more electrons are involved in the transitions to and from n = 1, the ground state. But these Lyman series changes are too energetic for us to see visually.
The Spitzer Space Telescope is the infrared version of the Hubble, and made to map the warm regions giving off heat less energetic than the visible Balmer lines.