Antiques of Science & Technology

W26-14: Small German Prism Spectroscope on StandMost recently spectroscopes around the world and in space were pointed at comet Shoemaker-Levy 9's plunge into the Jovian atmosphere. They were analyzing the light emitted from the spectacular impact to gather data on the chemical composition of both celestial bodies. For better than 180 years (since Fraunhofer pointed his spectroscope at the sun and saw the elemental spectral lines that bear his name) scientists and engineers have been using spectroscopes to discover new elements, to develop the quantum mechanical model of atoms and molecules, to measure the chemical makeup and dimensions of the universe, and to control the manufacture of materials on earth so that they can be produced less expensively and with greater precision. This fine little instrument operates on the same principles as its big brothers and sisters. It is German made , "Heele Berlin" is stamped on the prism table . The optics are mounted on a 6" high black cast iron stand and can be raised to accommodate a light source height of eleven inches. The telescope and collimator tube are each approximately 6" long. The telescope swings around for selecting the viewing wavelength. It uses a 60 degree glass prism with 1" square faces. The instrument is small enough to be a display or demonstration piece on a desk yet has sufficient dispersion to resolve the spectra of the sun showing the Fraunhofer lines (viewing the sun should not be done with with the naked eye of course!). It's suitable for viewing light emitted from atoms in fluorescent lamps and Mercury or Sodium street lights. The knurling and general manufacturing style date the piece in the late 1800's. Overall good condition and fully functional.
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