anthony morris


  • Analyzing light
  • Allows us to identify elements in the Universe
    • Composition of stars


  • Isaac Newton used prisms and lenses
    • Saw rainbows coming from sunlight
  • Fraunhofer in 1814 magnified rainbows to look closer
    • Saw rainbows were not solid
  • Bunsen burners in 1857
    • Different chemicals into flame --> different colours
  • Gustav Kirchhoff --> prism
    • Tied together the gaps and the different colours
    • Found colours were made up of emission lines
    • Number of lines and colours were unique to each element

Kirchhoff's Laws of Spectroscopy

Visual representation of Kirchhoff's laws

Another visual representation of Kirchhoff's laws

  • Every element has a finger print
    • They interact with light in their own way
  • Either in absorption or emission, finger print or spectral lines are in the same place
    • Have the same wavelengths
  1. Solid, liquid, or dense gas will produce a continuous spectrum
  2. Low-density gas will produce an emission spectrum
    • Looks all black, except for light being emitted
  3. Light composing a continuous spectrum passes through a cool, low-density gas, result will be an absorption spectrum
    • Full rainbow but stuff is being absorbed (certain wavelengths --> black)

Space Astronomy