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Joseph Ritter von Fraunhofer is known for discovering the dark absorption lines known as Fraunhofer lines in the Sun's spectrum, and for making excellent optical glass and achromatic telescope objectives.

In 1814 Fraunhofer invented the spectroscope. In the course of his experiments he discovered the bright fixed line which appears in the orange color of the spectrum when it is produced by the light of fire. This line enabled him afterward to determine the absolute power of refraction in different substances. Experiments to ascertain whether the solar spectrum contained the same bright line in the orange as that produced by the light of fire led him to the discovery of 574 dark fixed lines in the solar spectrum; millions of such fixed absorption lines are now known.

These dark fixed lines were later shown to be atomic absorption lines, as explained by Kirchhoff and Bunsen in 1859. These lines are still called Fraunhofer lines in his honor; his discovery had gone far beyond the half-dozen apparent divisions in the solar spectrum that had previously been noted by Wollaston in 1802.

Fraunhofer also developed a diffraction grating in 1821, which occurred after James Gregory discovered the principles of diffraction grating and after American astronomer David Rittenhouse invented the first man-made diffraction grating in 1785. Fraunhofer found out that the spectra of Sirius and other first-magnitude stars differed from the sun and from each other, thus founding stellar spectroscopy.

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Joseph Ritter von Fraunhofer is known for discovering the dark absorption lines known as Fraunhofer lines in the Sun's spectrum, and for making excellent optical glass and achromatic telescope objectives.

In 1814 Fraunhofer invented the spectroscope. In the course of his experiments he discovered the bright fixed line which appears in the orange color of the spectrum when it is produced by the light of fire. This line enabled him afterward to determine the absolute power of refraction in different substances. Experiments to ascertain whether the solar spectrum contained the same bright line in the orange as that produced by the light of fire led him to the discovery of 574 dark fixed lines in the solar spectrum; millions of such fixed absorption lines are now known.

These dark fixed lines were later shown to be atomic absorption lines, as explained by Kirchhoff and Bunsen in 1859. These lines are still called Fraunhofer lines in his honor; his discovery had gone far beyond the half-dozen apparent divisions in the solar spectrum that had previously been noted by Wollaston in 1802.

Fraunhofer also developed a diffraction grating in 1821, which occurred after James Gregory discovered the principles of diffraction grating and after American astronomer David Rittenhouse invented the first man-made diffraction grating in 1785. Fraunhofer found out that the spectra of Sirius and other first-magnitude stars differed from the sun and from each other, thus founding stellar spectroscopy. More...

 
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