A spectrohelioscope is a telescope designed to show the Sun in a particular wavelength of light. The name comes form three Latin-based words: Spectro, referring to the optical spectrum, Helio, referring to the Sun and Scope, as in telescope. The basic spectrohelioscope is a complex machine that uses a spectroscope to scan the surface of the sun. The image from the objective lens is focused on a narrow slit revealing only a thin portion of the suns surface. The light is then passed through a prism or diffraction grating to spread the light into a spectrum. The spectrum is then focused on another slit that allows only a narrow part of the spectrum (the desired wavelength of light for viewing) to pass. The light is finally focused on an eyepiece so the surface of the Sun can be seen. The view, however, would be only a narrow strip of the Sun's surface. The slits are moved in unison to scan across the whole surface of the sun giving a full image. Independently nodding mirrors can be used instead of moving slits to produce the same scan: the first mirror selects a slice of the sun, the second selects the desired wavelength.

The Spectroheliograph is a similar device, but images the sun at a particular wavelength photographically, and a telescope with a narrow band-pass filter, such as the H-alpha filter, can also image the sun the same way but at a fixed wavelength.

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