Spectral Catalog

Note: To see actual color jpeg spectral line data of common elements used in astronomy go to:

1. Oxygen (O2)

oxygen (O2) spectrum

Oxygen is a byproduct of photosynthesis, a metabolic process performed by many organisms, including the type of bacteria called Cyanobacteria. It is also produced by the photodissociation of water.

2. Carbon Dioxide (CO2)

carbon dioxide spectrum

Carbon dioxide is a byproduct of respiration, a metabolic process performed by many complex and simple organisms (like humans or the type of bacteria called Escherichia coli. It is also released by volcanic outgassing. Carbon dioxide is found in the form of a gas or a solid.

3. Methane (CH4)

methane spectrum

Methane is a byproduct of metabolism for bacteria such as Methanobacteria. It is also formed in planeteary atmospheres as a result of photochemistry. Methane can be converted chemically into many other organic compounds.

4. Water (H2O)

water spectrum

Water can be found as a gas, solid, or liquid. It reacts readily with many minerals. It can be photodissociated into hydrogen and oxygen. In its liquid form, it is a solvent for all life as we know it.

5. Hematite (Fe2O3)

hematite spectrum

Hematite is a mineral formed when oxygen reacts with an iron-rich rock in the presence of liquid water.

6. Sulfur Dioxide (SO2)

sulfur dioxide spectrum

Sulfur dioxide is a gas at room temperatures here on Earth but also settles as a frost on the surface of a planet that undergoes sulfuric volcanism. It is formed by chemically combining sulfur and oxygen, a process that requires a temperature below 1000oC.

7. Calcium Carbonate (CaCO3)

calcium carbonate spectrum

Calcium carbonate is a mineral that can be formed geologically, by water and carbon dioxide dissolving calcium and re-depositing it as a sedimentary rock. It can also be formed biologically, as plankton and diatoms form corals and seashells.