To look upon a star
The horizontal aqua streak contains the unstable chemical iron hydride that is found in many cooler stars. The vertical beam is a green laser. At the intersection of the streak and the beam there is a deep red color which is caused by the laser exciting iron hydride to a previously unobserved energy level. The purple reflections you see are from an excited argon tube out of frame which helps create the iron hydride. For my PhD at UNB’s Fredericton Laser Lab we study this and similar excitations of iron hydride. Our data will give astronomers additional tools to measure a star’s magnetic field, how quickly a star is travelling away or towards us, and whether a star has exoplanets. They can find all of this by simply looking at the light a star emits.