Fraunhofer's Spectroscope

Fraunhofer's Spectroscope

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Credit: Omikron/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Fraunhofer demonstrating his 1814 invention, the spectroscope, a device used to examine properties of light. Photogravure from a painting by Richard Wimmer. Joseph von Fraunhofer (March 6, 1787 - June 7, 1826) was a apprenticed as a mirror-maker and lens polisher in Munich. In his experiments on lenses, he used a prism and slit to provide a monochromatic source of light. In doing so he noticed that the Sun's spectrum was crossed by many dark lines, and he proceeded to measure the wavelengths of almost six hundred of them. These Fraunhofer lines were later shown by Kirchhoff to be due to absorption in the Sun's outer atmosphere.

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