Kirchoff's solar spectrum, 1861

Kirchoff's solar spectrum, 1861

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Credit: ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Kirchoff's solar spectrum. This solar spectrum was published in a Berlin academic journal in 1861 by the German physicist Gustav Kirchhoff (1824-1887). The spectrum is split into two, running from bottom left to right, and then top left to right. Below the spectrum, chemical symbols mark the presence of spectral absorption lines due the presence of that element. The elements marked here include zinc, gold, cadmium, iron, barium, calcium, lead, silicon, copper and magnesium. In 1862, Kirchoff was awarded the Rumford Medal for his research on the absorption lines of the solar spectrum.

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