AAS 201st Meeting, January, 2003
Session 88. Undergraduate Astronomy Instruction, Labs and Research
Poster, Wednesday, January 8, 2003, 9:20am-6:30pm, Exhibit Hall AB

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[88.16] An Interactive Gallery of Planetary Nebula Spectra

K. B. Kwitter (Williams Coll.), R. B. C. Henry (U. Oklahoma)

We have created a website containing high-quality moderate-resolution spectra of 88 planetary nebulae (PNe) from 3600 to 9600 Å, obtained at KPNO and CTIO. Spectra are displayed in a zoomable window, and there are templates available that show wavelength and ion identifications. In addition to the spectra themselves, the website also contains a brief discussion of PNe as astronomical objects and as contributors to our understanding of stellar evolution, and a table with atlas information for each object along with a link to an image. This table can be re-ordered by object name, galactic or equatorial coordinates, distance from the sun, the galactic center, or the galactic plane.

We envision that this website, which concentrates a large amount of data in one place, will be of interest to a variety of users. PN researchers might need to check the spectrum of a particular object of interest; the non-specialist astronomer might simply be interested in perusing such a collection of spectra; and finally, teachers of introductory astronomy can use this database to illustrate basic principles of atomic physics and radiation. To encourage such use, we have written two simple exercises at a basic level to introduce beginning astronomy students to the wealth of information that PN spectra contain.

We are grateful to Adam Wang of the Williams College OIT and to his summer student teams who worked on various apects of the implementation of this website. This work has been supported by NSF grant AST-9819123 and by Williams College and the University of Oklahoma.

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