(1787–1826), German optician and pioneer in spectroscopy. He observed and mapped the dark lines in the solar spectrum ( Fraunhofer lines) which result from the absorption of particular frequencies of light by elements present in the outer layers; these are now used to determine the chemical composition of the sun and stars.
- In 1854 Stokes theorised an explanation of the Fraunhofer lines in the solar spectrum.
- The roots of absorption spectroscopy can be traced to 1802, when the English chemist William Hyde Wollaston observed what later became known as the Fraunhofer lines - the many dark lines seen in the spectrum of sunlight.
- We are shown clearly the bands of colors, but Rowland's more exacting analysis would spread this spectrum over sixty feet, revealing also the Fraunhofer lines: hundreds of dark lines interspersed throughout the spectrum.
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