London, South Kensington
23 April 2008
KIRCHHOFF, Gustav Robert (1824-1887). Untersuchungen über das Sonnenspectrum und die Spectren der chemischen Elemente, in: Abhandlungen der königlichen Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Berlin, 1861, pp.63-95. Berlin: F. Dümmler, 1862. 4° (284 x 224 mm). 3 lithographed plates, one folding (plates slightly foxed). Modern black morocco by Johanna Rojgard, with white, green, red and yellow onlaid lines on spine and sides to resemble spectral lines, in a folding green quarter morocco box.
FIRST EDITION, RARE. 'Kirchhoff found that by exposing in the flame of a Bunsen burner a platinum wire dipped in salt he obtained in the spectrum the characteristic bright yellow lines of sodium superimposed on the spectrum of platinum. By repeating the process and introducing vaporized sodium between the incandescent wire and the screen, the yellow lines were replaced by dark lines. With great ingenuity he repeated the experiment with sunlight and got the same result. The fact that the dark lines were produced when a beam of light from an incandescent element passed through the same substance at a lower temperature suggested that this was due to absorption. In the solar spectrum, for example, the dark lines were caused by absorption in the gases of the sun's atmosphere...', PMM 278b; Gedeon pp.258-59; Grolier/Horblit 59; Norman 1219.
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