As a result of research carried out with rocket-borne grating spectrographs, the nature of the extreme ultraviolet spectrum of the Sun is now known to a short wavelength limit of 33.7 Å, the Lyman-alpha line of C VI. Most of the emission lines of wavelengths greater than 400 Å have been identified, as have those from 80 Å to 33.7 Å. Between 149 Å and 400 Å, however there are many intense emission lines whose identity has not as yet been established. Twenty or more have been proved to be from iron, since they appear in spectra obtained from high temperature plasmas into which iron has been introduced, but the stages of ionization have not yet been established. Lines from the elements most abundant in the Sun, H, He, O, N, O, Ne, Mg, Al, Si, S and Fe, in most of the stages of ionization requiring 500 eV or less for production have been found. The outstanding exceptions are the lines in the fluorine and neon sequences.
Spectroheliograms, photographed with normal incidence spectrographs, show that the emission lines Fe XV 284 Å, Fe XVI 335, 361 Å, originate principally from active regions, in contrast to He II 304 Å, which is emitted with great intensity from the disc also. Continuum emission, in the wavelength range 170–300 Å, has been recorded from intense centers of activity.