This paper considers how the cooperation of physicists and astrophysicists in the field of spectroscopy may be usefully extended. Assuming that an important part of the work is the provision of laboratory data, a review is presented on the present position with regard to the spectra of diatomic and simple polyatomic molecules.
In recent years, owing largely to improvements in the equipment available at observatories, there has been a growing interest in molecular spectra among astrophysicists. In particular, band systems have been studied in spectra of cooler stars, spectra of the planets, spectra of comets, absorption and emission spectra of the earth’s atmosphere, and absorption in interstellar space.
Since in many cases the conditions existing in the astrophysical source differ greatly from those existing in laboratory sources, some of the features of these spectra have proved difficult to identify, and this fact has given considerable stimulus to further laboratory research.
As progress is made, however, and the conditions obtaining in these sources are better understood, it appears likely that valuable information regarding physical and chemical processes may be gleaned from behavior under these conditions which cannot be duplicated in the laboratory. Here is the beginning of astrochemistry or even of astrophysics applied to combustion.
R. W. B. PEARSE, "Fundamental Research in Molecular Spectra," J. Opt. Soc. Am. 41, 148-151 (1951)