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Astro*Dictionary by Michael Erlewine





1 article for "Kirchhoff"

Kirchhoff, Gustav Robert [Astro*Index]


(1824-1887) German physicist. Born at Konigsberg, Prussia (Kaliningrad, USSR); died at Berlin.

He was first to show that the electrical impulse moved at the velocity of light. With Bunsen, he developed the first spectroscope, allowing light to pass through a narrow slit before entering a prism. Kirchhoff showed that each chemical element produced its own unique set of colored spectral lines, and that these could be used to identify the chemical composition of unknown substances. This discovery quickly led to the discovery of new chemical elements (Cesium and Rubidium). He extended his analysis to the solar spectrum, demonstrating the existence of sodium on the Sun.


See also:
♦ Light Spectrum






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