Glossary | Telescope accessories | General | Type of build | Line filter
Line filters selectively allow only light from a specific spectral line to pass through. OIII, SII and H-alpha filters are especially popular.
The Roman numerals III and II indicate the degree of ionisation of the chemical element that produces the spectral line. So OIII (pronounce oh three) stands for doubly ionised oxygen, and SII for singly ionised sulphur. OI and SI indicate the electrically neutral atoms.
Line filters are ideal for the visual observation and photography of emission nebulae, supernova remnants and planetary nebulae, since these objects produce defined spectral lines. Star clusters and galaxies on the other hand have a continuous spectrum. For these, filters that generally suppress the sky’s brightness (CLS or UHC filters) are more suitable.