Astrophysics (Index)About

Balmer series

(hydrogen lines for electrons settling from n > 2 to n = 2)

The Balmer series is the set of emission lines from atomic hydrogen gas, due to electrons descending from an electron shell number n greater than 2 down to n = 2, or the analogous absorption lines when absorbed electromagnetic radiation makes electrons do the opposite. It is one of the hydrogen line series, such as the Lyman series and is named after Johann Balmer. Lines:

Formula for the wavelengths:

wavelength = Balmer's constant × n² / ( n²-4 )


The Balmer series, especially H-α is often used to determine the redshift of quasars and distant galaxies because it is often prominent.

(Balmer,hydrogen,line series,lines,spectrum)
Further reading:
364nm824THz3.5eVbeginBalmer series
656nm457THz1.9eVendBalmer series

Referenced by pages:
Balmer jump (BJ)
Balmer-break galaxy (BBG)
Be star
Bohr model
Brackett series
emission line galaxy (ELG)
emission nebula
H-alpha (Ha)
Herbig AeBe star (HAeBe)
HII region (HII)
hydrogen (H)
hyperfine structure
Lyman series (L)
Paschen series
quasar (QSO)
star formation rate (SFR)
shell star (sh)
spectral line energy distribution (SLED)
spectral line
spectral line designation