AFL Finals 2014 Spectroscope


I have been thinking about visualising sport performance.

Earlier this week I came across a post by Jonathan Powles about Nova Centauri 2013. He noted that:

A few of us have rudimentary spectroscopes – devices that can spread the white light of the star into its constituent spectrum. It’s a simple filter which screws into the front of the camera.  With this one can measure the intensity of each wavelength of light, from deep violet into the red and infra-red.  You can see this at the bottom of the photo below:


This graph plots the intensity of each wavelength of light. Jonathan notes that “The red line in the graph shows the nova’s spectrum when it was at its brightest, on 6 December.  The red line is the spectrum a day later.  An awful lot has changed; as you’d expect given that the star is in the process of exploding”.

I thought I would adapt this to the limited colour spectrum I use for performance against (previous season) ranking.

  • Green – a win by a higher ranked team over a lower ranked team
  • Blue – a loss by a lower ranked team to a higher ranked team
  • Gold – a win by a lower ranked team against a higher ranked team
  • Red – a defeat of a higher ranked team by a lower ranked team

Hawthorn were the minor premiers in the 2013 AFL season. This means they can have no gold or blue in their spectrum for 2014.

This is my first attempt at a spectroscope of Hawthorn’s 2014 season:

Hawthorn DNA 14

Their opponent in the first preliminary final is Geelong. Their ranking in 2013 means they can have all four colours in their spectrum.

Their 2014 season is:

Geelong DNA 2014

I do like the spectroscope possibilities of visualising performance. Jonathan used software for his real-time astronomical spectroscopy (RSpec).

The RSpec website notes:

In the past, only professionals had the skill and equipment to study spectra. Recently, the cost and complexity of the necessary hardware and software has dropped enormously. Today, you can easily study the spectra of stars and planets with a minimum of expense. If you have a telescope and a CCD camera (even a webcam or DSLR), then all you need is an inexpensive Star Analyser grating and the RSpec software. It’s an exciting pursuit.

I think this applies to sport too … particularly the ‘exciting pursuit’ part. It is an invitation to see things differently.

Photo Credits

Frame grab (Jonathan Powles)

Image from page 761 (Internet Book Archive Image, no known copyright restrictions)

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