Basic Spectroscopy

Why do some atoms burn with distinct colors?



Electron Orbital – part of atomic shell, home for electrons, increase in energy going away from nucleus



Burning element            →             adding energy           →       electrons into higher orbitals





To release energy gained (from heat) emit a photon of light with wavelength specific to the amount of energy required to be released.

Heat → electrons in upper orbitals (unstable) → electrons emit photon → electrons can return to original orbital

The color produced by burning an atom is created by energy released from that atom’s electrons. Every atom will release slightly different amounts of energy which changes the wave length of the light.