Now there’s a high-tech,
tool for teaching spectra
It’s time to throw away those frustrating rainbow glasses, hand-held foil, and yard sticks
Watch this short video to see why RSpec Explorer is so popular with educators
Click on the image above to watch a YouTube video that shows RSpec Explorer in action.
Finally, there’s an easier and more effective way to teach visible light spectra to your physics, chemistry and astronomy students — for only $395.
- Easily demonstrate gas-tube spectra on your overhead projector so everyone sees the same thing at the same time.
- Have your students do exciting and engaging hands-on labs. With the live video display, your students can make a change and see the results immediately.
- Identify the contents of a mystery gas tube.
- Measure flame emission lines of sodium chloride and other materials.
- Determine the temperature of stars by their spectrum (using the RSpec software and our Star Analyser grating to a DSLR or small telescope.)
Periodic Table of Specta
Above: This periodic table of spectra makes it clear to students that each element has its own spectral fingerprint.
Use our RSpec Explorer spectrometer for demonstrations and hands-on spectrum labs.
(For more information or to purchase a laminated 36″ x 24″ version of this table: link)
Teachers like you are using
the RSpec Explorer system
From a recent NSTA review (link): “Overall, RSpec Explorer is very easy to use—only minimal setup is required to begin displaying and analyzing spectra” — Edwin P. Christmann, Ph.D, Slippery Rock.
The RSpec software is easy to learn and easy to use. Start the program, point the camera at your gas tube, and you’ll immediately see the spectrum and graph. There’s no calibration, no steep learning curve.
What People Are Saying
I was using it ten minutes after I took it out of the box.
I give it five stars – a "must have!" STEM innovator, MacArthur “Genius Grant” recipient, Physicist
I had the students set up the system on their own and use the videos to familiarize themselves with the system. I then gave them a known (H) and an unknown (He) discharge tube and had them generate an annotated plot of each spectrum, identifying the lines.
It worked great — it was easy to set up and learn to use. South Carolina State University
The results produced by this camera are excellent. My classes are able to move from viewing spectra to using the spectra quickly and accurately. The built-in library is a great asset, and I use it during lectures introducing modern physics and stellar classification.
Incredibly easy to use by me and also my students. Very economical. One of the best buys I've made for my classroom ever. Eisenhower High School, New Berlin, WI
The support we've gotten from Field Tested Systems is absolutely first rate. Physics & Chemistry Teacher, Benton HIgh School, LA
We also use the Star Analyser grating from Field Tested Systems on our small telescopes so students can capture spectra of stars. Professor of Astronomy & Physics, College of San Mateo, CA
My astronomy students instantly began to understand spectra at a deeper level when using RSpec, and my future high school science teachers now want setups of their own to take into their own classrooms. Professor & Textbook Author, University of Wyoming
(See a case study of the UNT spectrum lab further down the page.) Astronomy Laboratory Director, University of North Texas
My students use the RSpec software to learn how to identify the main features of the star classifications OBAFGKM, and they took to it very naturally even though they've never had any astronomy experience before this semester. The tutorial videos are enormously helpful. Observatory Manager, Physics Department Bridgewater State University
RSpec Explorer Case Study: Classroom Demos and Student Labs
Ron Diiulio at the University of North Texas uses RSpec Explorer to introduce liberal arts students to light and color.
“Our lab with RSpec Explorer is the most popular lab we’ve done in 15 years! We think that’s because of what we call the “CSI Effect.” Ten years ago, high-tech was only for nerds. But, thanks to TV programs like CSI, these days most students love high tech. And RSpec Explorer is a perfect fit.
“Over the years, we tried everything: hand-held plastic spectrometers, rainbow glasses, and everything else you can imagine. Nothing ever really worked. We wasted a lot of classroom time as students struggled to find the spectrum. They didn’t understand what they were seeing. They couldn’t really work in teams because they each had their own private view of the data. And, they had no way to capture and record their data. The labs just weren’t worth the frustration and hassle because the kids weren’t learning.
“RSpec Explorer changed all that. This year we had 2,500 liberal arts majors go through our RSpec Explorer lab. It’s our students’, TAs’, and instructors’ favorite lab. I think it’s because RSpec Explorer is live, engaging video and that it’s hands-on and easy to learn.
“We introduce the lab with live gas tube spectra, projecting the RSpec Explorer view onto the overhead screen in the front of the room. By familiarizing the students with spectra and the science they’re seeing, we prepare them to do it themselves.
“Next, the students break into teams [photo above] and capture the spectra of several gas tubes. The teams observe the emission lines of different elements, and identify them using the RSpec Explorer reference library. This is a complete lab at this point. And the students come away with a far, far better understanding than they got in the past using other instruments.
“Because we have small telescopes available, we go a step further. Outside, the students capture the spectra of several bright stars using the Star Analyser grating, thumb drive, and video camera. Then, back in the classroom, they compare the star spectra to the gas tube spectra they captured earlier. In this step, they “discover” Hydrogen on the star by noting the similarities between the Hydrogen gas tube spectra and the star spectra. Wow!
“This is totally a blockbuster lab! Your students can be astrophysicists for a day.”
How to Get Started
You can purchase the RSpec Explorer system for just $395 at our on-line store: link or send us a PO. Order today and you’ll have your system in three days. Use it in class next week!
For an additional $79, you can add the colorful LED Tower shown in our YouTube video. The Tower makes a perfect companion to RSpec Explorer. Use the two together to capture your students’ attention. Challenge them to explain what they’re seeing and then measure it.
Have a DSLR and tripod? Capture the spectra of stars. It’s surprisingly easy. You can use the RSpec software that comes with the RSpec Explorer spectrometer.
Just add our Star Analyser grating ($199) and a thread adapter ($38) to a DSLR or small telescope/CCD. For details, see our star spectra page: link.
Questions? We’re here to help. Use our contact form (link) or call our Help Hotline at 206.453.4851 to get your questions answered by an expert in the field.