spectral line

noun

Definition of spectral line 

: one of a series of linear images formed by a spectrograph or similar instrument and corresponding to a narrow portion of the spectrum of the radiation emitted or absorbed by a particular source

Examples of spectral line in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The enormous clouds emit large amounts of ultraviolet light with a spectral line produced by hydrogen ions, known as a Lyman-alpha line. Jay Bennett, Popular Mechanics, "Giant Glowing Space Blob's Power Source Discovered," 21 Sep. 2016 The investigators were hoping to analyze the spectral lines—essentially the chemical fingerprints—of the gasses in Uranus’s atmosphere. Jeffrey Kluger, Time, "Uranus Smells Terrible. There, We Said it," 24 Apr. 2018 He and his colleagues looked for Doppler shifts in the spectral lines of the stars' light that would be caused if a planet tugged them back and forth. Daniel Clery, Science | AAAS, "What is Alpha Centauri hiding? Searches for Earth-like planets ramp up around our nearest stellar neighbor," 11 Apr. 2018 Such light encodes deep insights in the form of spectral lines, which betray the compositions, temperatures and motions of cosmic denizens. Ray Jayawardhana, WSJ, "When Worlds Collide, Astronomers Watch," 16 Oct. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'spectral line.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of spectral line

1849, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

22 Nov 2018

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The first known use of spectral line was in 1849

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More Definitions for spectral line

spectral line

noun

Medical Definition of spectral line 

: one of a series of linear images of the narrow slit of a spectrograph or similar instrument corresponding to a component of the spectrum of the radiation emitted by a particular source

More from Merriam-Webster on spectral line

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about spectral line

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