DETLEV VAN RAVENSWAAY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DETLEV VAN RAVENSWAAY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Space spectra. Sun and other astronomical bodies, showing a set of dark absorption lines known as Fraunhofer lines. These are named after the German physicist Joseph von Fraunhofer (1787-1826), who discovered them in 1814. The spectrum is shown ranging from blue (right) to red (left). The absorption lines indicate the presence of certain elements in the atmosphere. Marked across top are the alpha, beta, gamma and delta lines of the Balmer series of emission lines for hydrogen.
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