Precision Economy Spectrometer*, retail $39.95 (
Manufactured by Learning Technologies for Edmund Scientific (
Last updated 04-10-10

This product does not emit light of its own (much like this spectrometer), so the standard review format will not be used.

This is the "Project STAR Spectrometer", a handheld instrument that allows the user to instantly see the rainbow that makes up the visible light spectrum -- or individual colored lines if the light-emitter under test is a gas discharge tube (such as a geissler tube) or an LED and does not generate a continuous "white light" spectrum.

* Although this product is labelled as a "spectrometer", I think that the term "spectroscope" would be more appropriate. This is because devices called "spectrometers" are typically powered and have various kinds of computer interfaces; while "spectroscopes" are optical-only devices -- much like this product.

From the web page, comes this text:

This durable, hand-held plastic spectrometer can be used to study different kinds of light, both natural and man-made and to identify the various elements present in the different kinds of lights. It uses high-dispersion, high efficiency diffraction grating that produces a bright spectrum that is very easy to read. Additionally, the spectrometer is calibrated to have accuracy within 1 nanometer when measuring wavelength and includes a reference label for bright spectral lines.

 Size of product w/hand to show scale SIZE

To use this spectroscope, place the small end to your eye, and direct (aim) the larger end toward the light source under test (but ***NOT*** directly at the sun!!! ). You should now be able to see the spectrum (a rainbow-like band, or one or more colored lines) superimposed upon a scale in nm (nanometers) and ev (electron-volts).

It can be easily calibrated by aiming it at a fluorescent light bulb and then moving *SOMETHING* so that the green line of mercury at 546nm is visibly aligned with an "extra" shorter line on the scale expressly for this purpose -- but I can no longer figure out what you're supposed to move or how to move it.

This is a test instrument, not a flashlight meant to be bashed, thrashed, trashed, and abused; I won't throw it against the wall, stomp on it, try to drown it in the toliet bowl or the cistern, run over it, swing it against the concrete floor of a porch, use a medium claw hammer in order to smash it open to check it for candiosity, fire it from the cannoņata, drop it down the top of Mt. Erupto (I guess I've been watching the TV program "Viva Piņata" too much again - candiosity is usually checked with a laser-type device on a platform with a large readout (located at Piņata Central), with a handheld wand that Langston Lickatoad uses, or with a pack-of-cards-sized device that Fergy Fudgehog uses; the cannoņata (also located at Piņata Central) is only used to shoot piņatas to piņata parties away from picturesque Piņata Island, and Mt. Erupto is an active volcano on Piņata Island {In the episode "Les Saves the Day...Again", Paulie Preztail says "Hey, ever wonder why this park's called 'Mount Erupto' anyway?", then Franklin Fizzlybear says "I think its an old native term. Means 'very safe.'"}), send it to the Daystrom Institute for additional analysis, or inflict upon it punishments that flashlights may have inflicted upon them.

The following photograph is rather poor because the output
aperture (eyepiece) is too small in diameter for my camera's lens.

Attempted PHOTOGRAPH of the spectrum of a CFL bulb.
You can see the green spectral emission line of mercury at 546nm and orange from the phosphor at ~615nm.

The blue band at the extreme left is SHG (second harmonic generation)
from the spectroscope's grating and may safely be ignored.

Another attempted photograph of the spectrum from the same CFL light bub.
I think this is really what you're supposed to see instead of the image shown in the first photograph.

Test unit was purchased on the Edmund Scientific website sometime in 2000 or perhaps 2001.

Product was made in the United States.
A product's country of origin really does matter to some people, which is why I published it on this web page.

UPDATE: 00-00-00

    MANUFACTURER: Learning Technologies
    PRODUCT TYPE: Handheld optical spectroscope
    No. OF LAMPS: N/A
    CASE MATERIAL: Plastic
    BEZEL: N/A
    WARRANTY: Unknown/not stated


    Star Rating

Precision Economy Spectrometer* *

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