Abstract

A variety of astronomical objects (e.g., Of stars, Be stars, optical counterparts of X-ray sources, etc.) exhibit emission line spectra. For some of these objects the emission line strengths are suspected as being variable (and possibly periodic) over time scales as short as minutes or less. A spectrophotometer has been built whose output signal is a measure of the line strength only. The spectrophotometer is used to look at the emission feature and the adjacent continuum in rapid succession by means of magnetic modulation of the electron image of the optical spectrum in an image tube, thus generating a modulated signal which is detected with a lockin amplifier. This detection technique essentially subtracts off an instrumental dark current signal due to sky background and the signal due to the continuum of the star giving a real time measure of the line strength only. The design of the instrument, its laboratory calibration, and some preliminary observational data are presented.

© 1978 Optical Society of America

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