Livingston, William C. National Solar Observatory, National Optical Astronomy Observatory, Tuscon, Arizona.
- Additional Reading
Dark absorption features in the solar spectrum. They are named in honor of J. Fraunhofer, who first studied them in 1814 (see illustration). They are found from the ultraviolet at approximately 180 nanometers (nm) to the infrared at 20 micrometers (μm). Each line represents the net absorption of light by a particular atom or molecule. Most form in the Sun's atmosphere, although the Earth's telluric spectrum contributes lines of molecular oxygen (O2), carbon monoxide (CO), and other molecules. Some lines such as Fraunhofer's C line in the red (hydrogen-alpha) can be seen with a pocket spectroscope. Powerful research instruments reveal millions of lines, most of which are weak and blended together in an almost inextricable tangle. The table lists some interesting Fraunhofer lines.
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