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The Night Sky Spectra Experiment

Spectra kits
• 1 nichrome wire with wooden handle
chemicals of different elements as compounds

  • CuSO4 (Copper sulphate)
  • SrNO3 (Strontium nitrate)
  • NaCI (Dilute sodium chloride)
    plus other metal compounds
    Bunsen burners
    Hydrochloric acid

  1. Dip the nichrome wire in a metal compound.
  2. Heat the compound in a blue bunsen flame and note the colour. Observe the compound’s
    flame through the spectroscope and note down what you observe.
  3. Clean the nichrome wire in the acid and then rinse in water.
  4. Repeat the procedure with other metal compounds.
  5. Research Overview
    Find out where we see the effect of hating sodium in our everyday lives. Describe and give explanations about the example(s) you find.


    Metal Compounds

    Colour in Flame

    Spectroscope observation

Teacher Note
Test the dilute sodium chloride compound last, as this compound is very persistent to burn off the nichrome wire and will affect the observation and colour of the other compounds flame if tested first.

Extension Activity
Explain how the colour forms from the metal compound. Your explanation should discuss
the emission in terms of electrons and orbitals

How do astronomers use the spectral information to determine what the composition
s in the stars in the night sky?